Kentucky – Kentucky Mule

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we stop in Kentucky for some bourbon and bluegrass music. The Bluegrass State, named for the blue flowers from the species of grass found in the area, is known for so much more, so let’s get to it:

Motto: “United we stand, divided we fall” – Sounds like something you’d see on a movie poster.

Food: Kentucky Fried Chicken, with its secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices was first introduced in the state, but that seems too easy for this category. Instead, let’s go with the Hot Brown Sandwich, invented at Louisville’s Brown Hotel. The sandwich features chicken or turkey breast, with bacon and Mornay sauce, which is baked or broiled until the bread is crispy. It is very popular throughout Kentucky.

Drink: 95 per cent of all Bourbon is produced in Kentucky, with more barrels aging across the state than its population. Bardstown is known as the Bourbon Capital of the World and hosts an annual Bourbon Festival. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail includes distilleries such as Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Bulleit, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Evan Williams, and Maker’s Mark.

Bourbon

Site to See: Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the longest cave system in the world and it’s still being explored today. It is the second oldest tourist attraction in the U.S., after Niagara Falls. Mammoth Cave was named a World Heritage Site in 1981.

Street: Along Main Street in Louisville, a number of attractions can be found, including the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Kentucky Science Center and Frazier History Museum. Restaurants and bars also line this entertainment district.

TV Show: Daniel Boone aired for six season and 165 episodes, following the adventures of the real-life frontiersman. Set in Boonesborough (founded by Boone), the series starred Fess Parker, who was previously known for playing Davy Crockett. When Disney refused to sell the rights to Davy Crockett to NBC, Daniel Boone became the subject matter.

Movie: Coal Miner’s Daughter is a biographical film about Kentucky singer, Loretta Lynn. Starring Sissy Spacek, the movie documents Lynn’s rise from humble beginnings to being a top country music star. Spacek won an Oscar for her role, including singing all of Lynn’s most popular songs.

Loretta Lynn

Book/Author: The father of gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson, was born in Louisville. His most famous works include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Rum Diary, both of which starred Johnny Depp, when adapted into films. Thompson and Depp were friends and the actor made sure to carry out the writer’s last wishes to have his ashes shot out of a cannon.

Fictional Character: Rick Grimes, leader of the focal group of survivors in The Walking Dead, is Kentucky born and bred. A police officer, prior to the zombie apocalypse, Rick is highly-skilled in fighting the “walkers” and also with survival tactics.

Fictional City: There wasn’t much to choose from for this category, but I did find that the movie In Country was set in Hopewell. The box office flop stars Bruce Willis, just after he became Die Hard famous, but is about a high school graduate (played by Emily Lloyd) trying to learn about her father who she never met after he died in the Vietnam War.

Actor/Actress: Three Hollywood A-listers hail from Kentucky: Johnny Depp, George Clooney and Jennifer Lawrence. They were born in Owensboro, Lexington and Indian Hills, respectively. The trio have been responsible for some of the most memorable movies and characters of recent times, but have never worked together in any combination.

Hunter S. Thompson

Song: Bluegrass music is the State Music of Kentucky and a fine example of the style (which the Sip Advisor is a fan of) is Blue Moon of Kentucky, by Bill Monroe. The song has also been recorded by Elvis Presley, rearranged to be a rock and roll tune, and released as the B-side of The King’s first single in 1954.

Band/Musician: More on Monroe, who was born in Rosine, and has been called the father of the Bluegrass genre. After all, his band The Blue Grass Boys, inspired the name of the style. Monroe was made an honorary Kentucky Colonel in 1966 and inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

People: The fact opposing leaders of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, were born in the same state, one year and less than 100 miles apart, is fascinating. Both were said to be politically moderate, so maybe that can be traced back to their Kentucky roots.

Animal: Of course, a state filled with so much horse racing history, would also be home to a couple iconic thoroughbreds. Man o’War had an almost unblemished record, losing only one race over his career. He sired War Admiral, who won the Triple Crown in 1937, and grandfathered Seabiscuit, who continued the family tradition of winning.

Invention: Nathan Stubblefield, from Murray, invented wireless telephones, which some debate were radio transmissions, making Stubblefield’s exhibitions the first ever radio broadcasts. Either way, his work led to further developments of the medium.

Crime: The infamous Hatfield vs. McCoy feud took place between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky. The murder of Asa Harmon McCoy, in January 1865, is said to have ignited the feud, which would go on to claim the lives of 13 members of the two families. In 1979, descendants from each family waged a different kind of war on the TV game show, Family Feud.

Law: In Kentucky, it is illegal to hunt game from the window of a moving vehicle. This applies to all animals, except whales. Whales after all, are the most dangerous game on land, so the use of vehicles are a necessity.

Sports Team: The Kentucky Derby is a highlight of the annual sporting calendar. The first leg of the American Triple Crown, it is the oldest continuously run horse race in the U.S. and although the sprint lasts only two minutes, the duration is called ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports’. The University of Kentucky Wildcats vs. University of Louisville Cardinals NCAA basketball rivalry is also huge across the state.

Kentucky Derby

Athlete: The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, was born Cassius Clay, in Louisville. Ali was a three-time Heavyweight Champion and also won a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics. However, Ali’s fame extended outside the boxing world, as an activist and philanthropist, following his in-ring career. Ali was picked to light the torch at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, but that appearance highlighted the Parkinson’s disease he was suffering from. Ali passed away in June 2016, at the age of 74.

Famous Home: The Muhammad Ali Childhood Home, can be found in Louisville. Here, the future sports icon grew up and first began to box. Today, the unmistakeable pink home is filled with memorabilia from Ali’s life and career and guided tours are available.

Urban Legend: Waverly Hills Sanatorium, in Louisville, is considered one of the most haunted places in America. Some of the legends surrounding the former hospital for tuberculosis patients, include the ghost of a nurse haunting the first floor, room 502 being the site of a suicide/murder and the tunnel used to discretely remove bodies from the facility being rife with paranormal activity. Today, the facility hosts ghost tours and can be stayed in overnight.

Museum: Louisville Slugger baseball bats are synonymous with the sport, having been used by professionals since the late 1800’s. The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is home to the storied history of the company. Visitors can’t miss the place, as the world’s largest baseball bat is found at its entrance. You can even enter a batting cage and try bat models from the past and present.

muhammad-ali

Firsts: The first commercial winery in the U.S., was opened in Nicholasville, in 1799. Over 200 years later, the winery still stands, restored to depict what it would have looked like in its earliest years. The site seems like a perfect place to celebrate Mother’s Day, which was first observed in Kentucky on April 20, 1887, as a project started by teacher Mary Towles Sasseen, to honour her mother.

Company: A trio of popular restaurant chains are headquartered in Kentucky. This includes KFC, A&W and Papa John’s Pizza. It should be noted, KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders may not have been a Kentucky native, but his famous creation led to him being recommissioned a Kentucky Colonel, an image he maintained for the rest of his life.

Events: The War of 1812 was catastrophic for Kentucky, as half of the American soldiers killed were from the state, despite battles not taking place there. Kentucky also greatly supplied the war effort, including mining of the Mammoth Cave.

Miscellaneous: Kentucky’s Fort Knox, is home to the United States Bullion Depository, which stores a majority of the country’s gold reserves (estimated in July 2019 to be worth $210.8 billion). In the past, it has also safely held the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • Top with Ginger Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Although the obvious choice for Kentucky is the Mint Julep, the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, I’ve already made that drink for this site and I never do repeats. I had to choose something using Bourbon, given its association with the state, so I went with the delicious Kentucky Mule, to sort of keep with the horse theme.

Mixer Mania #26 – Cocktail Leaders

The Caesar – featuring Clamato Juice – is a very popular drink in Canada and that got me thinking about beverages named after historical rulers. Here are some of those concoctions and the men (and one woman) who inspired them:

Winston Churchill

The Churchill combines Scotch, lime juice, sweet vermouth, and Cointreau, and was created for the man himself, by bartender Joe Gilmore of the American Bar in London’s Savoy Hotel. Apparently, Churchill preferred Johnnie Walker in his servings. There are other drinks named after and inspired by the British Bulldog (highlighted by this slide show article), but this is the definitive entry.

Richard Nixon

Another creation to come from Joe Gilmore and the Savoy Hotel’s American Bar, the Nixon was actually compiled at the bar and then sent over to Claridge’s Hotel, where president Nixon was staying during a 1969 visit to the UK. Made using bourbon, sloe gin and peach bitters, this is a cocktail I have yet to try, but sounds pretty good.

Nixon Not a Crook

Queen Mary I

While the Bloody Mary beverage has been attributed to a few different people, the general consensus is that it belongs to this queen, who earned her ominous nickname through countless executions of Protestants during a five-year reign over England and Ireland. I’ve never much cared for the tomato juice-based Bloody Mary, greatly preferring a Caesar, instead.

Abraham Lincoln

Although the tragic American president was assassinated in 1865, it wasn’t until 1900 that the man was immortalized in cocktail form with the President Lincoln. The recipe, which first appeared in San Francisco’s Pacific Wine and Spirit Review, mixes bourbon, simple syrup, orange curacao, orange bitters, absinthe and club soda.

Abraham Lincoln Quote.jpg

Napoleon Bonaparte

When you have a liquor created in your honour, as the French Emperor did with Mandarin Cognac, why not have a cocktail bear your name as well. Ironically, the Napoleon doesn’t contain cognac and is instead built with gin, orange liqueur and vermouth. I wonder if that would add to the little man’s complex!?

Theodore Roosevelt

The rugged adventurer, who would come to have stuffed bears everywhere named after him, can also lay claim to having his very own cocktail. Returning to New York after a 15-month hunting trip in East Africa, Roosevelt was greeted with a drink. While the original ingredients are forgotten, a beverage of dark rum, dry vermouth, orange juice and simple syrup has taken its place.

Mixer Mania #26: A Curious Feeling

A Curious Feeling.JPG

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Splash of Clamato Juice
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Pinch Brown Sugar
  • Garnish with a Cucumber Slice

Apparently, the fast track to having a cocktail named after you is to become president of the United States… seems easy enough!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Given the cocktail’s name and ingredients, I was a little leery of what to expect. It ended up being pretty good, with the Clamato Juice (a Bacon-flavoured variety I recently discovered) playing a MVP role.

October 31 – Hellraiser

Cursed Accounts

We wrap up our month of spooky goodness with another curious subject: curses. I mean, life can be tough enough without having a curse hanging over your head. Let’s take a look at some of the nastiest jinxes out there

#5: Men of Steel?

Who would have thought that portraying a super hero would be detrimental to your health and wellbeing? Catastrophe has followed a number of the actors who suited up as Superman over the years, from George Reeves’s suicide/murder to Christopher Reeve’s paralysation and eventual death. The story goes that the original creators of the character, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, placed the curse on Superman when they were denied the rights to the character and all the financial benefits that come with it. To be honest, I’ve never been much of a Superman fan… I’ll audition for the role of Batman, thank you very much!

Superman Collateral Damage

#4: Chairman of the Board

As Thomas Busby was en route to his execution, he swore that anyone who sat in his favourite chair would die. The chair’s legend began when Busby came home one day to find his father-in-law sitting in it and demanding his daughter back. Ever the negotiator, Busby killed his father-in-law with a hammer. Since Busby’s death march threat, many are said to have died after sitting in the chair, particularly two air force members, who dared each other to sit in the chair and died later that day in a car crash. The chair now sits in the Thirsk Museum, hanging on a wall so it can’t be sat in, despite numerous requests to do so from visitors looking to tempt fate.

#3: When Painting Kills

The Sip Advisor has never been much of an art connoisseur and this tale isn’t going to change my mind. Many homes that displayed the Crying Boy painting, ended up being the site of fires or explosions. Despite the damage to the dwelling, the painting always survived intact. The Madrid-based artist who created the work, should have known something was up when he asked the boy (who was orphaned after his parents perished in a house fire) to pose for him and his studio caught fire. Apparently, each home the youngster was taken into would eventually go up in flames. There are a few museums I kind of wish this piece would end up at!

painting-funny

#2: Diamonds Aren’t Forever

Diamonds are supposed to be a girl’s best friend, but perhaps not in this case. The infamous Hope Diamond has caused many of those who possessed it to meet an unfortunate end. Stolen from the head of an idol in a temple in India, the 112-carat gem can be traced back to King Louis XVI of France, as well as Princess de Lamballie and Marie Antoinette. All of which were beheaded during the French Revolution. Similarly, the Kohinoor Diamond is said to bring great fortune to the women who own it, but tragedy to the men who possess it. Thankfully, the Sip Advisor isn’t really a jewellery guy and prefers to see diamonds on Mrs. Sip.

#1: Presidential Pallor

When future president William Henry Harrison broke a treaty with Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee tribe in 1811, war broke out and many lives were lost. Tecumseh cursed Harrison as he was inaugurated in 1840 and from then on, the president elect every 20 years was doomed to die while in office: Harrison, Lincoln (1860), Garfield (1880), McKinley (1900), Harding (1920), Roosevelt (1940), and Kennedy (1960). Ronald Reagan beat the curse after his appointment in 1980 – although there was an assassination attempt on his life – as did George W. Bush in 2000. Who knows what 2020 will have in store, but that’s one year I would avoid if I were the political type.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Hellraiser

There are also a number of sports-related curses – perhaps to be examined in another article. I wish I could blame my Vancouver Canucks championship drought on a long-running curse, rather than poor drafting, trades, and play! Here’s to wishing all you little sippers a happy and safe Halloween!

March 15 – Shamrocked

Kiss Me, I’m Irish

Around this time of year, we all want to be a little bit Irish… at least for the kisses! Therefore, I’ve taken it upon myself to name the top five greatest Irish citizens, invoking the 1/8th Irish within me. This is a hard list to breakdown, so I decided to take one member from each of the following worlds: literary, music, sports, business, and acting. I could have probably done an entire article about the greatest Irish drinkers, but that seems an even more difficult topic to tackle. Let’s get started, shall we!?:

#5: Bram Stoker

For turning Vlad the Impaler into the blood-sucking, eternal living, ghoul that has come to be the inspiration for countless movies, TV shows, plays, comics, and so much more media, Bram Stoker may be Ireland’s most famed writer, among a sea of other talented scribes. Including fictionalized diary entries, letters, and newspaper clippings, Stoker added an aura of realism to the story of Dracula, as the bloodthirsty count battled Professor Abraham Van Helsing and others. Sadly, Stoker could also be blamed for such vampire awfulness as Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

Bram-Stoker

#4: Padraig Harrington

One of golf’s most successful players, Harrington has won two British Opens, as well as one PGA Championship. His 2008 season was exemplary, as the Dubliner won both of the aforementioned tournaments that season and was named European Tour and PGA Tour Player of the Year. Of the two golf majors he hasn’t won, his best performances were in the top five. Harrington is also heavily involved in charity work and is a global ambassador for the Special Olympics, hosting clinics for both players and coaches. Golfer John Daly may better exemplify the true Irish spirit with his personal trials, but we’ll take Harrington here.

#3: Bono

While I’d rather write about Enya and her moody, spiritual tracks, or Van Morrison and his classic rock, even I’d have to admit that Bono is a larger than life superstar. U2 (including fellow Irishman and buddy The Edge) are one of the most successful music acts of all-time. Their discography is full of hits, including Sunday Bloody Sunday, Vertigo, and With or Without You. The front man has received mixed reviews for his various causes with many critiquing him for being too preachy. If Bono doesn’t stop, I’ll reveal to the world that his real name is Paul Hewson… oops, too late! What’s so great about the name Bono anyway?

bono-looking

#2: Daniel Day-Lewis

This fine actor has wowed audiences with his portrayal of characters like Bill the Butcher (Gangs of New York), Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood), and even Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln). Day-Lewis is extremely devoted to his craft, researching his roles vigorously. For The Last of the Mohicans, he learned to live off the forest land, much like his character did. Later, for the period piece The Age of Innocence, he wore 1870’s aristocratic clothing (cane, cape, and top hat) out and about New York for two months. For Gangs of New York, he even apprenticed as a butcher. And here I refuse to even learn how to be a proper writer!

#1: Arthur Guinness

Ever notice that if you rearrange the letters in Guinness and tell a couple of them to screw off Irish style, you can spell genius!? Well, that’s what Arthur Guinness was. Sure, a Guinness stout is like a full meal and isn’t the easiest of beers to enjoy, but those who truly love a good pint will tell you until their blue in the face that Guinness should be held on its own pedestal. As far as Irish entrepreneurs go, I also have to toss some credit to Tony Ryan, the creator of Ryanair, which has helped Mrs. Sip and I cheaply traverse parts of Europe. Here’s a Guinness in honour of both gentlemen!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Shamrocked

Shamrocked Shooter

  • 0.5 Irish Whiskey
  • 0.5 Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Midori
  • Garnish with a Shamrock

For more Ireland coverage, check back later this week, as the Emerald Isle is out next stop for Around the World. It just so happens to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, which I hope all my little sippers out there are able to celebrate safely and happily!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This shot was pretty decent with the ingredients mixing together pretty well and creating a creamy melon taste. Luckily, I had bought Mrs. Sip a Shamrock necklace when I was in Ireland all those years ago and it was the perfect accent to the shooter.

November 22 – Churchill

Tennessee Whiskey vs. Kentucky Bourbon

A battle of the ages has long been brewing (literally!) between the states of Tennessee and Kentucky. In one corner, you have the maker of the finest American whiskeys, while in the other, you have the home of bourbon creations. Let’s take a look at each state’s role in the world around us and see which place should get the nod in this never-ending conflict.

Famous Citizens

Tennessee: Davy Crockett, Morgan Freeman, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, Al Gore, Miley Cyrus – can you imagine Davy Crockett, Morgan Freeman and Al Gore twerking!?

twerking

Kentucky: Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone, Muhammad Ali, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, The Judds, Colonel Sanders – that’s a murderer’s row of famous folks who call Kentucky home!

Sports

Tennessee: Tennessee Titans (NFL), Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), Nashville Predators – Memphis stole Vancouver’s basketball franchise… you better believe that’s a paddlin’.

Kentucky: Kentucky Derby – I love watching the horsies race and apparently Kentuckians do too, as they don’t have any professional sports franchises within the state.

Food

Tennessee: I love southern barbecue foods (your pulled pork, brisket, chicken) and all the sides those meats come with (I gotta stop writing on an empty stomach!). In particular, we have a chain in western Canada called Memphis Blues that provides all these delicacies and there’s one wonderfully located a block up the street from Mrs. Sip and my chateau!

Kentucky: KFC, yo! Gotta give some points to the Colonel here, even if the company has rebranded itself to drop the Kentucky moniker! The state is also known for a dish called Hot Brown, which involves (layered in order) toasted bread, turkey, bacon, tomatoes, and mornay sauce.

KFC S&M

Arts (TV, Movies, Music, etc.)

Tennessee: Music City, USA; Memphis Wrestling – I’m a fan of one and not so much of the other… which is which!?

Kentucky: Recognizable Stars – Ah, hello, look no further than they provided the world with George Clooney and Johnny Depp, as well as vampire hunter Abraham Lincoln!

Landmarks

Tennessee: Graceland, Dollywood, Country Music Hall of Fame, Opryland USA – Did you know that Dollywood even has a water park!? For some reason, among all these great landmarks, that’s what sticks out to me the most!

Kentucky: Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, KFC Yum! Center, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace, Creation Museum, Fort Knox – The Creation Museum could, in fact, be the nation’s finest comedy club!

Slogans

Tennessee: “America at its Best” – I like the confidence of that statement!

Tennessee Slogan

This seems like a pretty good slogan, too!

Kentucky: “It’s That Friendly”, “Unbridled Spirit” – Sorry, but I’m not a fan of either of these attempts.

Nickname

Tennessee: Volunteer State – I hate volunteering for things, so Tennessee is going to lose some points in this category.

Kentucky: Bluegrass State – Mmm, mmm, I love me some bluegrass music… not the actual type of grass, of course.

State Symbols (last chance to get in the good graces of the Sip Advisor)

Tennessee: Their state wild animal (seriously, why do they have these things) is the raccoon… total props for that pick!

Kentucky: Their state dance is clogging… I’m not entirely sure what this is (no need for research here), but my mind tells me it’s like crunking, but more dangerous!

Drink #326: Churchill

Churchill Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Scotch Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

So, in the end, who was the big winner between the two states? Tennessee takes Landmarks, Slogan, and State Symbols, while Famous Citizens, Arts, and Nickname go to Kentucky. Sports and Food are a toss-up, so I’m afraid we’re right where we started at the beginning of this whole debacle!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I’m not sure whether this cocktail is named for Winston Churchill or Churchill Downs, but I figured it was a fitting recipe either way. And it tastes pretty darn good to boot! It’s not too strong, which is always a risk when the recipe is so booze heavy and mixers are largely absent, but this one works, likely helped along by the Cointreau and Lime Juice, in particular.