Virginia – Lover’s Cocktail

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. This week, we enter federal government territory with our exploration of Virginia. The Old Dominion is home to the Pentagon, the CIA and other agencies, so we’ll have to keep things to a dull roar:

Motto: “Thus always to tyrants” – Apparently, this was said by John Wilkes Booth after shooting President Abraham Lincoln. You’d think that would necessitate a change in slogan.

Food: Smithfield Ham (aka Virginia Ham) has protected designation status, meaning only hams that come from Smithfield and are processed, treated, smoked and cured a specific way can be called Smithfield Hams. It was among the first exports of the U.S. There’s also Brunswick Stew and Peanut Soup to round out Virginia-based delicacies.

Drink: The State Spirit of Virginia is George Washington’s Rye Whiskey, which is produced at the first president’s reconstructed distillery at his Mount Vernon home (more on that later). The whiskey’s recipe was previously used by Washington in the late 1700’s and production made the distillery the largest in the country. The whiskey now sells in limited edition batches.

Smithfield Ham

Site to See: A somber, but popular attraction in Virginia is the Arlington National Cemetery, containing the remains of soldiers from wars America has been involved with, beginning with the Civil War. It’s here that visitors can find the graves of President John F. Kennedy, astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Street: Skyline Drive, which runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains for the entire length of Shenandoah National Park, is a 105-mile route offering spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont. It also allows access to hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. The road is a National Scenic Byway and National Historic Landmark.

TV Show: Two Seth McFarlane shows are set in Virginia, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. Anyone who truly gets the Sip Advisor knows both these series are among my all-time favourites, thanks to characters such as Roger Smith, Klaus Heisler, Cleveland Brown and his drinking buddies, Rallo Tubbs, and many others. Sadly, The Cleveland Show only lasted four seasons, but American Dad is still going strong with over 300 episodes.

Movie: So many movies have scenes that take place in Virginia, thanks to the federal government agencies located there. Two Disney movies completely set in the state are the animated Pocahontas, led by the voice work of Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson and David Ogden Stiers, and live action Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington.

Pocahontas

Book/Author: Ellen Glasgow was born in Richmond. She published 20 books over her lifetime, five of which ranked on best-seller lists. Her most notable work was In This Our Life, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1942. The same year, the book was adapted into a film, starring Hollywood leads Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland as the story’s sisters.

Fictional Character: I’ve always enjoyed Cleveland Brown, dating back to his early days on Family Guy. With his own show, Cleveland was expanded even further and came into his own, with his own zany adventures. Not even the cancellation of The Cleveland Show and a voice actor change can keep the man down, as he and the rest of the Brown-Tubbs family have relocated back to Family Guy.

Fictional City: For this category, we go back to American Dad and The Cleveland Show, which are set in Langley Falls and Stoolbend, respectively. Both places have their pros and cons, making it a tough choice if I had to pick one to live in. Langley Falls combines the communities of Langley and Great Falls, while Stoolbend was inspired by Richmond, where co-creator Mike Henry was raised.

Actor/Actress: ‘America’s Sweetheart’ Sandra Bullock was born in Arlington. She won a Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side and has also starred in movies such as Speed, Gravity and Ocean’s 8. Bullock is one of the most bankable stars in the industry, with films grossing over $5.3 billion worldwide. As a result, she is also one of the most powerful women in entertainment.

Cleveland Brown

Song: Virginia Moon by the Foo Fighters is an ode to the state where frontman Dave Grohl was raised and still lives, his basement converted to a recording studio. Singer and pianist Norah Jones joined the band for the track, thanks to her background in jazz and ability to mesh with Grohl. The song was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

Band/Musician: A tough category to narrow down, with options such as Ella Fitzgerald, Missy Elliott, Pharrell Williams, June Carter Cash, the Dave Matthews Band, Jason Mraz, and Wayne Newton. Fitzgerald gets the edge as a result of the walls she had to breakdown during her career, earning her nicknames such as the First Lady of Song and Queen of Jazz.

People: Political allies and friends George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were born in Popes Creek and Shadwell, respectively. Both were instrumental in separating from the British, with Washington would become the first President of the United States and Jefferson not far behind as the third President. Both men are carved into the Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Animal: Secretariat, one of the most popular and successful thoroughbred racehorses of all-time, was born in Virginia in 1970. Secretariat would go on to win the 1973 Triple Crown, setting speed records in each of the three races. Secretariat’s days as a stud produced daughters who would sire many notable champions. A 2010 Disney live action film about the horse was critically and financially successful.

George Washington

Invention: The Foil Electret Microphone, which is used in 90 percent of products, including telephones, video cameras, baby monitors, hearing aids and other devices, was invented by James Edward Maceo West. West, who was born in Farmville, holds many other patents related to microphones and is still going strong at age 89, developing a gadget to diagnose pneumonia in infants.

Crime: Virginia has been home to a number of mass murders, including the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the Virginia Tech massacre and the Virginia Beach shooting. The Pentagon attack killed 184 people (including 59 aboard the plane), while the shootings at Virginia Tech (the deadliest school shooting in the U.S.) and Virginia Beach resulted in 32 and 12 deaths, respectively.

Law: In Virginia, it is illegal to hunt wild animals on a Sunday, except for raccoons. I have no clue why they are so against the beloved trash panda.

Sports Team: Virginia has no professional teams, but the state has made a number of attempts to gain one, including a failed bid for an NHL expansion team and the unsuccessful relocation of MLB squads. For now, they settle for supporting nearby franchises, such as the Washington Football Team (NFL) and Washington Capitals (NHL), who have headquarters and practice facilities in the state, but play elsewhere.

Microphone

Athlete: Tennis player Arthur Ashe won three of the four Grand Slam tournaments over his career, the only black man to win each. Ashe’s career was marred with medical issues, including a heart attack at age 36 and later contracting HIV through blood transfusions. He died in 1993 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as having the US Open stadium named in his honour.

Famous Home: George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello can be found in Virginia and are among the nation’s most famous homes. Both are National Historic Landmarks, while Monticello is a United Nations World Heritage site. I’ve personally been to Monticello and can understand why the estate appeared on a 1956 postage stamp.

Urban Legend: The Bunny Man legend is about a man wearing a bunny costume and attacking people with an axe in Fairfax County. The tale is based on two reports, occurring 10 days apart, in October 1970, regarding a man threatening people for trespassing. Other sightings have occurred since and as the legend has grown, people now flock to the area, particularly near Halloween.

Museum: Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest living history museum, transporting visitors back in time to the period of the American Revolution. Williamsburg was once the capital of Virginia and is where much activity in gaining independence from the British took place, involving patriotic icons such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others.

Williamsburg

Firsts: Jamestown Settlement was the first permanent English settlement in North America, founded in 1607. 20 miles from Jamestown, the settlement of Berkeley Hundred is where the first Thanksgiving meal occurred in 1619 (two years before the Pilgrims held their own in Plymouth, Massachusetts). The first U.S. whiskey distillery was also established in Berkeley Hundred in 1621.

Company: Virginia is home to many federal government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). It is also the headquarters for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Five Guys, a favourite restaurant of the Sip Family.

Events: The surrenders ending both the American Revolution and Civil War each took place in Virginia. The Civil War, in particular, was largely fought in the state, with more than 2,000 military events and many major battles, as Richmond was the Confederate capital. A number of those battlefields have been preserved, although there have been efforts to remove Confederate monuments.

Miscellaneous: Another nickname for Virginia is Mother of Presidents. This is because eight U.S. Presidents were born in the state, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson. Also, six U.S. First Lady’s hail from Virginia.

Lover’s Cocktail

Lover's Cocktail

  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Limoncello
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Bubbly
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This drink is a reference to Virginia’s tourism slogan ‘Virginia is for lovers’, which has been in use since 1969. The campaign was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009 and listed by Forbes as one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all-time.

Massachusetts – Ward 8

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 travel to Massachusetts, a state that has more nicknames – Bay State, Pilgrim State, Old Colony State, Puritan State, Baked Bean State – than seems necessary, but it’s a place the Sip Advisor has always wanted to actually visit, so I’m looking forward to this foray:

Motto: “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty” – What results do you get with a gun?

Food: Massachusetts folks must have quite the sweet tooth. Boston Cream Pie, cake stuffed with custard or cream and finished with a chocolate glaze, is the State Dessert. The state is also famous for Fluffernutter sandwiches, which combine peanut butter and marshmallow fluff (invented in Massachusetts). Even Boston Baked Beans have a sweetness to them, thanks to the molasses used in their production.

Drink: The Boston Beer Company is known for three popular brands, Samuel Adams Beer, Angry Orchard Cider and Twisted Tea malt beverages. Founded in 1984, the company is the second largest craft brewery in the U.S. In 2018, Samuel Adams became the official beer of the Boston Red Sox.

Fluffernutter

Site to See: Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, the popular summer resort areas, connected by a ferry, draw countless tourists each year. A number of celebrities, from actors and musicians to politicians and other luminaries have homes on the affluent Martha’s Vineyard or are regular visitors to the area.

Street: Another top attraction for the state is the Freedom Trail, which stretches for 2.5 miles through Downtown Boston. Along the route, 16 attractions relating to the founding of the country can be found, including the site of the Boston Massacre, the Paul Revere House and the Bunker Hill Monument.

TV Show: Dawson’s Creek… just kidding, the pick here has to be Cheers, the bar-set sitcom, which entertained audiences for 11 seasons and 275 episodes and won 28 Emmy Awards out of a record 117 nominations. Fans of the series can visit the Boston bar, which provided the exterior shots for the show. Formerly known as Bull & Finch, in 2002, the pub officially changed its name to Cheers.

Movie: The Departed is among the Sip Advisor’s all-time favourite films. Starting with an all-star cast, including the likes of Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon, this tale of police and gang infiltration on the streets of Boston, takes many twists and turns with viewers never knowing what to expect next. The Departed won the 2007 Oscar for Best Picture.

Cheers

Book/Author: A number of celebrated authors hail from Massachusetts, but none are more beloved than Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Born in Springfield, Seuss would go on to write children’s classics Horton Hears a Who!, The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Green Eggs and Ham, and many others over a long and successful career.

Fictional Character: Ted, the teddy bear come to life in a pair of comedy films, may have started out sweet and cuddly, but as he grew older, he became a sex-crazed, foul-mouthed stuffed being. Voiced by Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane (who also wrote and directed the movie), Ted still manages to be loveable, despite his crude behaviour.

Fictional City: After using Dawson’s Creek for a joke earlier, I will give the teen drama a little love here. The setting was originally supposed to be North Carolina, based on creator Kevin Williamson’s experiences, but was changed by the studio to Massachusetts and the fictional town of Capeside. North Carolina was used still used for primary filming, though.

Actor/Actress: Hollywood A-listers, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, grew up together in Cambridge and are synonymous with Boston film. They have appeared together in films, most notably the Boston-set Good Will Hunting, which they co-wrote and won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for. Other top stars from Massachusetts, include Mark Wahlberg, Uma Thurman, John Krasinski, Kurt Russell, Steve Carell, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Chris Evans, and countless others.

Dr. Seuss

Song: I’m Shipping Up To Boston by the Dropkick Murphys (formed in Quincy) is an amazing track, best remembered as the opening theme to The Departed. Written by folk singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie, it is also used as an anthem for Boston-area sports teams.

Band/Musician: Rock legends, Aerosmith, were formed in Boston, in 1970. The group has released numerous albums and are best known for hits such as Sweet Emotion, Dream On, Walk This Way, and I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing. Aerosmith was most recently doing a concert residency in Las Vegas and had planned to celebrate their 50th anniversary on September 18, 2020, with a concert at Boston’s Fenway Park.

People: So many Massachusetts-born people have played large roles in America history, ranging from revolutionaries (Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock) to presidents (John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush). Benjamin Franklin even had the nickname ‘The First American,’ thanks to his efforts in gaining independence for the U.S.

Animal: The State Dog of Massachusetts is the Boston Terrier, which was voted the Boston University (BU) mascot, in 1922. The real-life dog was named Rhett, after the Gone with the Wind character, for his love of Scarlett, as BU’s primary colour is scarlet. Rhett attends BU Terrier’s games and other school events and has a rivalry going with Boston College’s eagle mascot, Baldwin.

Invention: Massachusetts is the birthplace of sports like basketball and volleyball, as well as being where the telephone and birth control pill were successfully conceived. However, one creation tops them all, the chocolate chip cookie, which was introduced to the world in 1938, by chef Ruth Graves Wakefield, while she owned the Toll House Inn, in Whitman.

Crime: The Boston Strangler was credited with the deaths of 13 women in Boston, in the early 1960’s. The case is also known as the Silk Stocking Murders, as many of the victims were strangled with their own nylons. Albert DeSalvo confessed to the crimes (later recanted), although some dispute the number he was involved with. DeSalvo, who was killed in prison, while serving a life sentence, had his DNA linked to the last Boston Strangler victim, in 2013.

Law: It is illegal to use tomatoes when making clam chowder, as that turns it into the red Manhattan variation of the dish, while the New England version, which is very popular in Massachusetts, is white. There’s also a clear style, served mostly in Rhode Island.

Sports Team: Boston is home to the Red Sox (MLB), Bruins (NHL), and Celtics (NBA), while the New England Patriots (NFL) play in nearby Foxborough. The state is also well known for the annual Boston Marathon, which sadly was the site of a bombing during the 2013 edition of the race.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Athlete: Born in Brockton, boxer Rocky Marciano remained undefeated (49-0, with 43 knockouts) throughout his entire career, highlighted by a reign as heavyweight champion from 1952-1956. Marciano is largely credited as the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa character. Sadly, Marciano died at the age of 45, in an August 31, 1969 plane crash.

Famous Home: The Lizzie Borden House, located in Fall River, is now a bed and breakfast, but it was once the site of a grizzly double axe murder, with Lizzie as the prime suspect and her father and stepmother as the victims. Lizzie was acquitted at trial and lived the rest of her life in Fall River, but in a different home.

Urban Legend: The Bridgewater Triangle is a 200 square mile area in southeast Massachusetts that has been referenced for sightings of everything from UFOs to ghosts to Bigfoot-like creatures. Landmarks include, Hockomock Swamp, Dighton Rock, Freetown-Fall River State Forest, Profile Rock, and Solitude/Suicide Stone.

Museum: The Museum of Bad Art has four locations throughout Massachusetts, home to “art too bad to be ignored.” The museum’s mission statement is: “to celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum.” Two pieces have actually been stolen from the museum, leading to humourous responses, such as a reward offer of $6.50 for one piece to be returned and the installation of a fake security camera.

Lizzie Borden

Firsts: On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Within the first week of legalization, 2,468 couples obtained licences to be married, including some from outside the state. Same-sex marriage was finally legalized across the country in 2015.

Company: Dunkin’ Brands, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, is headquartered in Canton. The first Dunkin’ Donuts was opened in Quincy, under the name Open Kettle, in 1948. That location is still in operation today (rebranded Dunkin’ Donuts, in 1950), outfitted in a retro style that makes patrons feel like they’re stepping back in time.

Events: The American Revolution was largely born in Massachusetts and propelled by the 1773 Boston Tea Party, which saw protesters board British ships and dump the cargo of tea aboard them into Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party Museum features replica ships from the incident, as well as an authentic tea chest.

Miscellaneous: Massachusetts is known for some other very notable events in history. These include the Salem Witch Trials, where 20 women and men were executed for being suspected witches, as well as the First Thanksgiving, at Plymouth, where a successful harvest was celebrated, in 1621, with a three-day feast.

Ward 8

Ward 8

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This cocktail has quite the story attached to it, said to be created in celebration of the election of politician Martin M. Lomasney to the Massachusetts legislature, honouring the area which helped him win, Ward 8. When originally created in 1898, at the Locke-Ober restaurant in Boston, the drink was garnished with a mini Massachusetts State Flag.