Illinois – Chicago Fizz

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Being nicknamed the Prairie State may make Illinois sound quiet, tame even. In fact, it is a bustling hub of activity for the country. Let’s dive right in and get our hands dirty:

Motto: “State sovereignty, national union” – If that doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies, nothing will!

Food: Chicago Deep Dish is a very popular pizza style, which has spread to other locales. Known for its higher crust, which allows for ample toppings, the pizza is often compared to a pie. Two Chicago pizzerias – and three chefs – have been credited with the invention of deep dish, but it’s hard to discern which claim is legit.

Drink: Malört is a bask liquor – a wormwood-flavoured Swedish spiced spirit – that has been available since the 1930’s. Hard to find outside Chicago, the bitter-tasting libation was once described in the movie Drinking Buddies as: “like swallowing a burnt condom filled with gasoline”. Sounds delicious!

Deep Dish Pizza

Site to See: A top attraction in the state is the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), in Chicago. Once the tallest building in the world, today, the site features the Skydeck, located on the 103rd floor, with views as far as Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, on clear days. The skyscraper has appeared in countless films and TV series.

Street: Michigan Avenue, in Chicago, is home to the Magnificent Mile shopping district, among other attractions. In 1924, the street was the first in the city to have traffic lights installed.

TV Show: Some of the greatest comedies ever created have been set in Illinois. These sitcoms include Married with Children, Roseanne, The Bob Newhart Show, Good Times, Family Matters, and many more.

Movie: A favourite of the Sip Advisor to this day, Wayne’s World, starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, is about the rise of public access TV hosts in Aurora, to becoming nationally syndicated. Of course, the man responsible for Wayne and Garth’s rise to stardom is exploiting them for his own gains and our heroes need to realize that before it’s too late.

Wayne's World

Book/Author: Some of America’s most notable writers were born in Illinois, including Ernest Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea), Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451) and Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan).

Fictional Character: This was a tough one to narrow down, but I had to go with Al Bundy. The controversial patriarch of the Bundy clan is stuck in a personal rut he will never dig himself out of, married to an unemployable wife and with two delinquent kids, who spend the family savings before they are even earned from Al’s lowly job as a women’s shoe salesman.

Fictional City: Shermer has been used as the setting for all of filmmaker John Hughes’ movies. This list of classics includes The Breakfast Club; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Home Alone; and the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise.

Actor/Actress: Some of the funniest people in movies and TV come to our screens from Illinois. This includes Robin Williams, Bill Murray, Richard Pryor, Bob Newhart, John Belushi, Melissa McCarthy, Nick Offerman, John C. Reilly, and Betty White. That’s one impressive troupe of performers.

Al Bundy

Song: Illinois by The Everly Brothers, sounds like a jingle composed by the state tourism department. It was actually written by Randy Newman, famous for his Disney-Pixar animated film scores.

Band/Musician: The Smashing Pumpkins, fronted by Billy Corgan, were formed in Chicago, in 1988. The band went on to become one of the most popular of the 1990’s with hits such as 1979; Bullet with Butterfly Wings; Zero; and Tonight, Tonight; all from the double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, in October 1995.

People: Walt Disney, father of the vast Disney empire, was born in Chicago. After growing up in Missouri, Disney would return to Chicago as a teenager, where he would become a cartoonist for his high school newspaper and take courses at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

Animal: Terry, a Cairn Terrier from Chicago, remains one of the most famous animal actors of all-time, after playing the role of Toto, in The Wizard of Oz. Despite other appearances, this was Terry’s only credited role, for which she was paid more than most of the human actors. Judy Garland, star of the film, wanted to adopt Terry after the movie finished, but trainer Carl Spitz turned down the offer.

Walt Disney

Invention: Permanently attached to most people’s hands, if not their hips, the cell phone is integral to life. Chicago’s own Martin Cooper, called the ‘father of the handheld cell phone’, developed the first of its type, in 1973, while working for Motorola. When brought to market a decade later, the phone – dubbed The Brick – weighed 2.5 pounds, measured 10 inches long and cost $3,995.

Crime: John Wayne Gacy, the Killer Clown, terrorized Chicago in the 1970’s, murdering at least 30 people. Nearly a century before, also in the Windy City, H.H. Holmes used his Murder Castle to end the lives of an unknown number of people, with some estimates going into the hundreds. Both serial killers were executed for their crimes, Gacy by lethal injection and Holmes by hanging.

Law: In Illinois, it is illegal to hang things from your rear-view mirror. So long, air fresheners, fuzzy dice, rosaries, good luck charms, etc.

Sports Team: Chicago represents the state in each of the Big 4 sports leagues, including two teams in MLB, the Cubs and White Sox. Their other franchises, include the Bears (NFL), Bulls (NBA) and Blackhawks (NHL). Each team has existed for close to a century or more, winning multiple championships along the way. It should also be noted, the Harlem Globetrotters were actually formed in Chicago, in 1926, and didn’t play in Harlem until 42 years later.

Cell Phones

Athlete: Dick Butkus was born in Chicago, playing linebacker for his hometown Chicago Bears (NFL) over a nine-year career. During that time, he was selected to eight Pro Bowls, while winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice. Also, track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee, from East St. Louis, was named the greatest female athlete of all-time by Sports Illustrated for Women.

Famous Home: Illinois is known as the Land of Lincoln, in reference to Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site, located in Springfield, is where Lincoln lived from 1844 to 1861, before becoming president. The four-block area around the home has been turned into a historic district, with all homes returned to how they would have appeared during Lincoln’s time living there.

Urban Legend: Resurrection Mary is one of Illinois’ most famous ghosts. She is of the ‘vanishing hitchhiker’ variety, with numerous reports of people encountering the specter on Archer Avenue between the Oh Henry/Willowbrook Ballroom and Resurrection Cemetery. The victim of a hit-and-run after leaving a dance, Mary often appears looking for a ride, only to disappear.

Museum: McDonald’s is headquartered in Illinois, so it’s no surprise the McDonald’s #1 Store Museum could also be found in the state. Opened in 1955, by Illinoisan Ray Kroc, known as the founder of McDonald’s as we know it today, the restaurant was demolished in 1984, with a replica built on the site. The museum was demolished in 2018 after repeated flooding, with exhibits moved across the street to a newer McDonald’s restaurant.

Dick Butkus

Firsts: If you like city skylines, you can thank Illinois for that. Chicago was home to the world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, which opened in 1885. A mere 10 stories high, it was demolished in 1931, replaced by another building reaching 45 floors.

Company: Kraft Heinz has headquarters in Chicago (as well as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and is one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world. Popular products include Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Heinz Ketchup, Oscar Mayer meats, Kool-Aid, Jell-O, and many others. Kraft Dinner and Heinz Ketchup alone is a beautiful marriage.

Events: Prohibition across the U.S. led to the rise of gang activity, with crews battling for territory and control. One major incident was the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, which occurred on February 14, 1929, in Chicago. The attack resulted in the deaths of seven North Side Gang members and associates and was never conclusively solved. Many suspects were considered, including members of Al Capone’s South Side Gang and even those within the Chicago Police Department, as two of the four shooters were in police uniforms.

Miscellaneous: The State Snack Food of Illinois is popcorn and why not, Chicago-Style Popcorn – the mix of cheese and caramel flavours – is a very popular offering. The movement to have popcorn given this designation was started by second and third grade students, as part of a class project.

Chicago Fizz

Chicago Fizz

  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • 1 oz Ruby Port
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Egg Whites
  • Pinch of Sugar​
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wheel

This beverage intrigued me, thanks to its blend of ingredients. The drink’s background has been lost to history, with not much known about its origins. This won’t be the last time, though, the Fizz family of cocktails appears as part of this project.

September 13 – A-Sample

The Gun Show

Over the last two years, the Sip Advisor has become a bit of a gym rat (and not the type that wants to sleep with weightlifters!). As a result, I’ve been witness to some mind blowing behaviour that drives me crazy. Here are the Top 5 exercise room pet peeves:

#5: Letting Weights Smash Together

My theory is, if you can’t let the weight come down slowly, you’re lifting too much. This may not be a completely correct line of thinking, as some people prefer a maxed out lifting regime, but no one in the gym wants to be startled by the loud sound of weights clashing against one another just cause some prick wants to be a big shot and overexert his lifting. I think a perfect punishment for this exercise foul would be a guillotine-style decapitation at the hands of someone lifting too much to let the weight down easily.

gym-cat

#4: Unneccesary Devices

The only device a person should be bringing to the gym with them is something to play music. I can’t count the number of times I see someone sitting on a piece of equipment, staring at their phone and either texting away or holding a long conversation with someone. If you want to do that, get out of the gym and let me have access to the equipment and a work out free of listening to your latest drama. I also despise the folks that bring a laptop to the gym, thinking everyone wants to hear their tunes, you master of human audial enjoyment. Worse is the person who watches a movie and has to awkwardly balance the machine as they exercise.

#3: Using Multiple Machines at Same Time

I know that some people like to work out by rapidly rotating through a few machines, but in a small gym like the Sip Advisor’s apartment has, that means that you’re using up a majority of the possible stations all for yourself and it’s hard for someone else to get in and do their own reps when you’re not sure when this person will be done and how long you might have to wait for your next set. What’s worse is if two people are swapping in and out of the same machine and are taking it up for long periods of time, largely because they’re spending more time chit chatting than pumping iron.

gym-treadmill

#2: Using Machines to Hold Possessions

I really don’t understand how people can be this rude. Do they not realize that others might want to use that bike or bench that they have their jacket laid out on… and on that note, why the hell did you bring a jacket to the weight room in the first place!? It’s not like you had to travel far to get there when it’s within the same building that you live. Did you have a need to look fashionable amongst people wearing kits stained with sweat? Oh, you want to rest your precious iPhone on a bike seat like it’s the freakin’ holy grail?… well, then don’t mind if I “accidentally” destroy it with my rockin’ gluteus maximus!

#1: Not Putting Equipment Away

This one really draws the Sip Advisor’s ire. How hard is it to return whatever equipment you used back to the place you found it? So many times, weights are strewn across the gym floor and mats and those stupid massive rubber balls are left to roam the room. What pisses me off the most is when I’m trying to put heavy weights away, but I’m blocked from getting as close as possible to the rack by a wall of discs and dumbbells, making me have to lurch in awkward ways to return what I was using. These folks are the worst of society and should be barred from the gym until they can prove their rehabilitation and good behaviour.

Super Saturday Shot Day: A-Sample

A-Sample Shot

  • 0.75 Zubrowka Vodka
  • 0.75 Gatorade
  • Garnish with Pills

I would never criticize how anyone chooses to work out (to each their own), but I do want to share one of the funnier exercise routines I’ve ever witnessed: Some dude came in and grabbed one of those big rubber balls before doing two whole sit-ups on it. He then went over to the bike and pedaled for about a minute, before hopping off and returning to the ball again for another pair of sit-ups. He finished with a handful of push-ups and left the gym… and the jerk never put that stupid ball away!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Given the subject of today’s post, A-Sample (what athletes provide for drug testing) was the perfect shooter to pick for the article. Better yet, I wanted to make sure Gatorade was an ingredient and everything really came together. I used Zubrowka Vodka, because it’s made with Bison Grass and to the Sip Advisor, nothing says bulking up like Bison Grass. One problem is that the Gatorade is too light to cover the booze, but this is otherwise a decent shooter.