Connecticut – Yale 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. Connecticut is known by many nicknames – Constitution State, Nutmeg State, Arsenal of the Nation – so let’s dig deep and learn what these Nutmeggers are really all about:

Motto: “He who is transplanted still sustains” – Well, that’s a relief!

Food: Connecticut has laid claim to creating some of the Sip Advisor’s favourite all-time foods, including Lobster Rolls, Hamburgers and Hotdogs. For folks with a sweet tooth, the state is also the birthplace of lollipops and PEZ.

Drink: Foxon Park Beverage Company, based in East Haven, are famous for their White Birch Soda, among other flavours. They are the commonly paired with New Haven-Style Pizza, for a complete, balanced Connecticut meal.

Pez

Site to See: Yale University, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious schools, is home to museums and picturesque grounds. Visitors can also try to locate the hideaways of Yale’s infamous secret societies, such as Skull and Bones and Scroll and Key.

Street: Described as “the most beautiful street in America” by both Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven is lined with 19th century mansions, including Yale Univeristy’s president’s house.

TV Show: Who’s the Boss, starring Tony Danza, was set in Fairfield. Danza played a widowed former baseball player, who becomes the live-in housekeeper for a divorced ad exec. The series lasted eight seasons and 196 episodes and is best known for introducing the world to Alyssa Milano.

Movie: The Tim Burton classic Beetlejuice, is set in the fictional Connecticut town of Winter River. Here, young couple Adam and Barbara Maitland tragically die and experience life after death, including the zany Beetlejuice. Just don’t say his name three times.

Tony Danza

Book/Author: In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe (from Litchfield) published Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which highlighted the suffering of African-American slaves. Later, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln is said to have said to the author: “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war”.

Fictional Character: Professional wrestler Hunter Hearst Helmsley (later shortened to Triple H), was originally billed from Greenwich, using a Connecticut Blueblood gimmick. After some ups and downs to start his WWE career, Helmsley has gone on to be one of the most successful wrestlers of all-time and the real-life Paul Levesque is now an executive with the company that made him famous.

Fictional City: Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls is a small town home to many unique characters. As a teenage mother, Lorelei Gilmore escapes here, leaving behind her parents and the privileged life she’s known in Hartford.

Actors/Actresses: Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show, was born in Kent. Aside from providing his voice talents to many projects, McFarlane has also appeared in live action fare, including The Orville and A Million Ways to Die in the West.

Triple H

Song: For whatever reason, Yankee Doodle is the State Song of Connecticut, but Connecticut by Judy Garland and Bing Crosby really should be. The tune is extremely complimentary song about the state, with lines like “No matter where I’d chance to be, Connecticut is the place for me.”

Band/Musician: I have to go with crooner Michael Bolton here, best known for the hits “When A Man Loves a Woman” and “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”, both of which he won a Grammys for. It’s hard to believe Bolton got his start in hard rock and heavy metal bands in the 70’s and 80’s.

People: P.T. Barnum, a founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, was born in Bethel. He would later become the Mayor of Bridgeport and a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, serving Fairfield. Barnum has been featured in a number of film and TV projects, most notably portrayed by Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman.

Animal: Sergeant Stubby became the mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment, serving with the unit in World War I. The mixed-breed mutt saved troops from mustard gas attacks and helped medics locate wounded soldiers. His story was documented in the 2018 animated movie, Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.

Michael Bolton

Invention: Of the many products created in Connecticut, I have to choose the vacuum cleaner, invented by Ira Hobart Spencer, of Hartford. However, if you want to avoid doing chores, you could get caught up playing outside with another invention from the state, the Frisbee.

Crime: The murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley, in Greenwich, may not have garnered as much attention as it did, if it hadn’t been for one of the potential suspects being Michael Skakel, a relation of the famous Kennedy clan. Skakel was convicted in 2002 of the 1975 murder, although the conviction was vacated in 2018.

Law: It is illegal to keep town records where alcohol is sold. There goes my dream of a city hall/liquor store combo!

Sports Team: The only professional team to exist in Connecticut was the now defunct Hartford Whalers of the NHL. The team relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina following the 1996-97 season, renamed the Carolina Hurricanes. The Whalers may be best remembered for their official theme song, Brass Bonanza.

Athlete: Chris Drury (born in Trumbull) and Brian Leetch (raised in Cheshire) have a lot in common. Both were multi-sport athletes growing up – with Drury being the winning pitcher at the 1989 Little League World Series – choosing careers in hockey. Each would win the NHL’s rookie of the year award, as well as a Stanley Cup championship for Leetch in 1994 (also named MVP of the playoffs) and for Drury in 2001.

Famous Home: Legendary author Mark Twain moved his family to Hartford in 1873. There, he wrote his most popular works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The home has been restored, with National Geographic calling it one of the ten best historic homes in the world.

Urban Legends: Lake Compounce, the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the U.S., is said to be haunted and cursed. The land where the park now sits was sold by Chief John Compound to white settlers. Legend has it, Chief Compound died soon after and other deaths have occurred on the grounds since, including drownings and construction accidents. Lake Compounce was also where the band Milli Vanilli were first exposed as lip-synchers.

Museum: Connecticut’s Trash Museum has been permanently closed, so I’ll have to settle on the Lock Museum of America, in Terryville. Here, you can check out a massive collection of locks and keys, as well as try on hand cuffs and leg irons, for kinkier visitors.

Mark Twain

Firsts: Some important American versions of books were first published in Connecticut, including the telephone book (containing only 50 names and numbers) and dictionary. Noah Webster, you know, of Webster’s Dictionary fame, published A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language in 1806. His next edition, An American Dictionary of the English Language, took two decades to complete, containing 70,000 words.

Company: TV production is a big industry in Connecticut, with companies such as ESPN (in Bristol) and WWE (in Stamford) setting up their headquarters in the state. It should also be noted, Subway is based in Milford, with the first restaurant, dubbed Pete’s Super Submarines, opened in 1965, in Bridgeport.

Events: With slavery outlawed in 1848 and the Underground Railroad travelling through the state, Connecticut participated on the Union side of the Civil War. Although no fighting took place in the state, what would become the Yale-New Haven Hospital treated thousands of injured soldiers, while the New Haven Arms Company and Colt’s Manufacturing Company provided fighters with weaponry.

Miscellaneous: Connecticut is unique in having a State Hero (Nathan Hale) and State Heroine (Prudence Crandall). Hale was a soldier and spy during the American Revolutionary War, hanged by the English for treason, at the age of 21. Crandall was a teacher and activist, who taught the first racially integrated class in the U.S.

Yale Cocktail

Yale Cocktail

  • 2 oz of Gin
  • 0.75 oz Crème de Violette
  • 0.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Dry Vermouth
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with a Lemon Twist

This cocktail is named after Yale University, thanks to the drink’s bluish hue, which matches the school’s colour. There are many variations to this drink recipe, including using Blue Curacao instead of Crème de Violette. I used the recipe straight from Yale’s Alumni Magazine… go straight to the source, is what I always say!

May 31 – False Start

Legendary Leagues

Most leagues fail within their first year of operation. If they survive long enough to hand out their inaugural championship, then they usually face other elements of strife, such as low attendance, trouble landing a TV broadcasting deal, and teams folding or relocating. The waters are rough, but if a leagues treads long enough, it just may endure. Here are the top 5 defunct sports leagues and their intriguing stories:

#5: X Football League

Because the NFL just wasn’t fun enough, along came the XFL from World Wrestling Entertainment mogul Vince McMahon. Ironically, while most believe the ‘X’ stood for eXtreme, this is not actually the case and the ‘X’ was never defined. In partnership with NBC, the league only lasted one season. With a few rule changes that were meant to spice up pro football, the eight-team league was dogged by the stigma attached to professional wrestling and what many thought was an inferior quality of play. Ratings were initially strong, but dropped in half from week one to week two and continued to decline over the course of the year. The XFL fizzled out following the season-ending Million Dollar Game and closed up shop on May 10, 2001. Both McMahon and NBC reportedly lost $35 million each in the joint venture.

XFL

#4: SlamBall

A sport with trampolines and full body contact… sounds like a recipe for success to the Sip Advisor and the one time in my life I was mildly interested in the sport of basketball. When TNN (now Spike TV) was making strides to change its image from a country music station to a network geared towards male viewers, one of their early experiments was SlamBall. Unfortunately, the league only ran seasons in 2002, 2003 and 2008, but did hold an international tournament in 2012, in China. Created by Mason Gordon, SlamBall grew from six to eight teams for the 2003 season, but a disagreement between Gordon and Warner Bros. ended with the league being dissolved. The 2008 season returned to a six-team format and the winning coach was Samuel L. Jackson… er, I mean Coach (Ken) Carter.

#3: Roller Hockey International

The early 90’s were a wonderful time and part of that amazing period was the advent and popularity of rollerblades. So, along comes the RHI, hoping to capitalize on that fad. Games were even broadcast on ESPN2 during the early years, showing the potential popularity the sport could have harnessed. The high-scoring (RHI averaged 16.7 goals per game, compared to the NHL’s seven at the time) league played from 1993-97 and also in 1999. Played 4-on-4, a number of NHL alum also strapped on the blades, including Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier. Unfortunately, a planned Super Nintendo video game never materialized, although that fact probably saved me hours in front of the TV and instead, I was outside playing roller hockey! RHI folded operations for good in 2001, despite some of the best team names ever seen in sport.

RHI SNES

Sadly, it never came to be!

#2: United States Football League

Looking to compete with the NFL and offer fans an alternative to fill their growing football needs, the USFL may not have succeeded, but many of the innovations they brought to the game, as well as markets they used for franchises, would eventually be adopted by the NFL juggernaut. Backed by Donald Trump and others with deep pockets, the league produced a number of stars who also enjoyed success in the NFL, as well as two future wrestling World Champions in Lex Luger and Ron Simmons. The crushing blow to the USFL came when they filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, claiming it had established a monopoly. Despite expecting a substantial windfall, the USFL was awarded $1 (that’s not a typo). Heavily in debt, the league ceased operations. The ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary Who Killed the USFL? examines the league’s brief existence.

#1: World Hockey Association

Launching in 1972 with 12 teams, the WHA made an immediate big splash with the signing of NHL star Bobby Hull to a 10-year, $2.7 million contract. In all, 67 players jumped ship from the NHL to the WHA for the inaugural season. Sadly, the league was plagued with difficulties, including financial struggles, arena issues, teams relocating, and franchises folding. Four WHA franchises still exist in today’s NHL: the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets (moved to Phoenix), Quebec Nordiques (moved to Colorado), and Hartford Whalers (moved to Carolina). The league’s legacy also lives on via European stars coming to North America, higher salaries, and a lower draft age. For an in-depth look at the WHA’s seven tumultuous seasons, check out Ed Willes book, The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association.

Super Saturday Shot Day: False Start

False Start Shot

  • 0.4 oz Cider
  • 0.4 oz Bourbon
  • 0.4 oz Brandy
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with an Apple Slice

Honourable mentions include the American Basketball Association, which was loosely spoofed in the Will Ferrell film Semi-Pro, and the Arena Football League, which cancelled their 2009 season, but has since been resurrected under new ownership. Which defunct sports league do you miss?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shooter went down very easy and was fun thanks to the bubbles of the Cider. The Bourbon and Brandy flavours do play a role, but not too aggressively. That makes for a couple good Cider recipes for me in the last little while and I might be experiencing a change of heart as far as the beverage goes!