Iowa – Iowa Sunrise

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Iowa is known by two nicknames in particular, the Hawkeye State and the Corn State. Surely, a place that devotes most of its land to agriculture can’t be that interesting. Well, prepare to be amazed:

Motto: “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” – I wouldn’t want to mess with an Iowan.

Food: The Maid-Rite Sandwich is comprised of ground beef on a steamed bun and topped with whatever the eater desires. First served in 1926 by Fred Angell, this Iowa institution has more than 30 franchised locations across the state and beyond. Some folks may remember loose meat sandwiches being served on the TV show Roseanne, when Roseanne buys a restaurant called the Lanford Lunch Box (based on real-life Iowa diner Canteen Lunch in the Alley).

Drink: Templeton Rye was made in Templeton during prohibition times and became gangster Al Capone’s favourite libation. A modern version of the product, advertised to be using the traditional recipe, has returned to Templeton, with products set to be released in 2022.

Maid-Rite Sandwich

Site to See: The Field of Dreams Movie Site has become one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions. The baseball diamond was constructed on the Lansing Family Farm, in Dyersville, after a site for filming was scouted. The field remains there to this day and this summer, will host a MLB contest between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.

Street: Located in Burlington, Snake Alley was called the Crookedest Street in the World by Robert Ripley of Ripley’s Believe It, Or Not! The winding one-way road can only be used in the downhill direction by vehicles, but an annual bike race challenges riders to tackle the street going uphill.

TV Show: The most recognizable Iowa-set series is not a sitcom or drama, but the reality show American Pickers. Premiering on January 18, 2010, 301 episodes have been broadcast, featuring antique collectors, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, travelling the country in search of items. Spinoffs of the series, in Canada and Australia, have since also aired.

Movie: Based on the novel Shoeless Joe, by W.P. Kinsella, Field of Dreams stars Kevin Costner as a baseball fan, who builds a baseball diamond for legends of the game, who have passed on, to be able to play again. The film was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture.

American Pickers

Book/Author: The Bridges of Madison County by Iowan Robert James Waller, is about an affair between a lonely housewife and a National Geographic photographer, who is on assignment to document the covered bridges of the area. The novel has sold more than 60 million copies worldwide and been adapted into the movie (starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood) and musical.

Fictional Character: According to puppeteer Frank Oz, Miss Piggy of The Muppets, was born in Iowa (possibly Keystone), gaining her diva-like attitude from a mother who was mean to her and toughened her up. It has served her fairly well over a 40-plus year career. So as not to attract the ire of Trekkies, I should also note that James T. Kirk of Star Trek lore was born in Riverside, in the year 2233.

Fictional City: River City from The Music Man, is based on Mason City, hometown to writer and composer of the musical, Meredith Willson. The story of the Broadway hit-turned-film involves a con man selling band instruments and uniforms to the people of River City, with the promise of music lessons for those that buy. His plans to skip town are disrupted when he falls for a local librarian and piano teacher.

Actor/Actress: Legendary western actor, John Wayne, was born in Winterset. Nicknamed The Duke, Wayne appeared in 142 films over his long career, winning a Best Actor Oscar for True Grit. Wayne died on June 11, 1979 from stomach cancer and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom a year later. The John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California is named in his honour.

John Wayne

Song: The Song of Iowa has to be mentioned here, as writer S.H.M. Byers took the Christmas tune O Tannenbaum and put new lyrics to it. Written in 1867, the song was adopted as Iowa’s State Song in 1911.

Band/Musician: Known for their disturbing masks and wild live shows, heavy metal band Slipknot, was formed in Des Moines. Known for songs such as Wait and Bleed and Duality, the band is still performing and releasing music, albeit with an altered lineup from the original ensemble.

People: Iconic talk show host, Johnny Carson, was born in Corning. Known as the King of Late Night, Carson hosted The Tonight Show for 30 years, receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom and being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Upon retiring in 1992 and up until his death in 2005, Carson largely disappeared from the entertainment world.

Animal: Capone, a rescued stray dog, from Des Moines, became a hero when he woke up his owner late one night, alerting her to a fire that had started in the kitchen. Although their home was destroyed, Capone’s action saved the family, including nine children, from further tragedy.


Invention: As much as the Sip Advisor loves trampolines (designed and first sold commercially by George Nissen and Larry Griswold, gymnastics teammates at the University of Iowa), sliced bread is the invention that all other inventions are compared to. The world’s first Automatic Bread Slicer was created by Otto Rohwedder, in Davenport. His original machine is part of the Smithsonian Institution collection.

Crime: The Villisca Axe Murders happened in June 1912. The Moore family (two parents and four children), along with two houseguests were all bludgeoned with axe wounds to the head. One suspect, Rev. George Kelly, was tried two separate times, resulting in a hung jury and later an acquittal. Although Kelly confessed to committing the crime, he later recanted and was also known to suffer from mental illness. Today, you book an overnight stay at the home of the unsolved massacre.

Law: It is illegal to kiss for longer than five minutes. Makes you wonder what precipitated this law. Also, is there a similar length requirement to be acknowledged for sex?

Sports Team: Devoid of professional teams, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes are the top game in town, with popular football and basketball programs. Given the baseball lineage of the state, thanks to a film like Field of Dreams, it’s a little surprising that a MLB team has never called Iowa home.

Sliced Bread

Athlete: Amateur wrestling is huge in Iowa, with noted grappler Dan Gable being born in Waterloo and having wrestled for Iowa State University. His collegiate record was 117-1, losing only his final match. The two-time NCAA National Champion was also a gold medalist at the 1971 World Championships and 1972 Olympics. Following his career, Gable coached his alma mater for more than 20 years, bringing much success to the program.

Famous Home: Since we haven’t mentioned one of Iowa’s most famous citizens yet, we’ll make Herbert Hoover’s birth home our choice for this category. The 31st President of the U.S. was born here, in West Branch, in 1874. Today, the historic site includes a museum, Hoover’s presidential library and even the graves of Hoover and his wife.

Urban Legend: Iowa is home to two Black Angel statues, one at Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City and another at Fairview Cemetery in Council Bluffs. The eerie statues were originally bronze in colour, having turned black since being erected in 1913 and 1920, respectively. Folklore says anyone who touches or kisses the Iowa City statue, unless a virgin, will die and pregnant women who walk under the outstretched angel wing will miscarry. The Council Bluffs statue is said to follow people with its eyes and if you return the glance, doom is on the horizon.

Museum: The Hobo Museum, located in Britt, is the only museum in the world that documents and celebrates the hobo (defined as a travelling worker) way of life. There’s even a National Hobo Convention, hosted by the museum, highlighted by contests, meals and a parade.

Dan Gable

Firsts: Iowa can be credited with two major moments in the Women’s Rights Movement, both occurring in 1869. Arabella Mansfield became the first female lawyer in the U.S., while Julia Addington was the first woman elected to a public office, serving as the Superintendent of Schools for Mitchell County.

Company: Winnebago, makers of motorhomes, is headquartered in Forest City. The company recently expanded into motorboat manufacturing. Also of note for professional wrestling fans, the celebrated National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) was founded, in Waterloo, in 1948. After many lean years, the NWA is still surviving today, owned by Smashing Pumpkins singer and diehard wrestling fan, Billy Corgan.

Events: The Iowa Caucuses have been integral to each presidential race, since the 1970s, when both the Democrats and Republicans moved their gatherings to January, becoming the first major event on the election campaign. The results of these caucuses can cause some hopefuls to drop out and others to receive a boost in the race. As a result, many candidates spend a fair bit of time campaigning in Iowa.

Miscellaneous: The airplane crash that killed musicians the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, occurred near Clear Lake. The artists were part of the Winter Dance Party tour and had performed there that night. So, Iowa can indirectly be credited with causing The Day the Music Died.

Iowa Sunrise

Iowa Sunrise

  • 2 oz Spiced Rum
  • 0.5 oz Strawberry Liqueur
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with an Orange Wheel

This drink called for Strawberry Simple Syrup, so I just subbed in Strawberry Liqueur instead (the more booze, the better!). The strawberry in this cocktail is likely a nod to Iowa being home to the world’s largest strawberry at Strawberry Point.

China – Flying Tiger

Zodiac Zenith

The Sip Advisor’s Chinese Zodiac animal is the pig and I’d like to think I’m more Babe: Pig in the City (you know, an inspiration) than anything else. Putting on my astrological reading glasses, here’s what your Chinese Zodiac sign says about you, according to some of the celebrities and historical figures who fall under them:

Rat – Antonio Banderas, Cameron Diaz

Regardless of gender, you have been seen as a sex symbol at some point in your career and life. Remember, every person has a type. It should also be noted that your voice talents may lend themselves to the adventures of an animated ogre and you may find yourself immersed in a world of fairy tales… of the fractured variety, of course.

Shrek Kitty

Ox – Adolf Hitler, Napoleon

You have serious issues with people of certain creeds and your militaristic side always shines through. Your thirst for land and power cannot be quenched and it seems like you have a chip on your shoulder for whatever reason. Some serious counselling should be pursued before you are added to the list of worst people EVER!

Tiger – Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood

You’re natural in front of a camera, but have your vices. You are pursued by numerous gentlemen callers and your beauty is undeniable. Sadly, you’re a starlet who will leave this world too soon and your death will be surrounded by mystique and intrigue. Conspiracy theories, debate and investigations abound, but the truth may never be known.

Rabbit – John Cleese, Robin Williams

You’re a comedian, sometimes manic, but always hilarious. You will go to extreme lengths to get a chuckle and while some of your humour may be hard to absorb, the effort with which you try to draw in an audience is always appreciated. In later years, you may calm a little and accept a different type of role, but the comedy always finds a way to shine through.

Dragon – John Lennon, Ringo Starr

Going out on a bit of a limb here, but are you possibly a Beatle? You will go on to revolutionize your industry and leave a lasting mark on the world. You work best with a group of like-minded talents, but even on your own, there is a catalogue of decent offerings. Your hard work will serve you well later as fans continue to thirst for anything to do with the group.

Real Music

Snake – John F. Kennedy, Dick Cheney

You thrive in a position of power and are not afraid to stick to your guns to get your way. You are cool under pressure and use your many contacts to ensure success in all your endeavours. Tread lightly though, as accidents seem to happen when you’re near firearms and one thing is for sure: You should avoid riding in convertibles at all costs.

Horse – Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant

You are a top athlete in your sport, but bad decisions can come back to haunt you. Perhaps you were given too much, too soon. It’s an awful lot of pressure to still be a teenager and have worldwide success and the fame that goes with that. Despite the negative hype, fans still love you and championships seem like a natural fit.

Goat – John Wayne, Robert De Niro

Your style is so infamous and distinguishable that you’ve become a parody of yourself as your career has entered its twilight. While many wish to remember you at your finest, you keep trucking along, piling up the credits and cash. Nothing wrong with that. Anyone in a similar position would do the same, riding into the sunset with a boatload of money.

Monkey – Leonardo Da Vinci, Julius Caesar

You appear in many history textbooks and have played a great role in shaping the world, although your impact may not be fully appreciated until later. Movies and TV series’ will be made in your honour, posthumously of course. That’s not to say you didn’t have a decent existence while you were living. Beware of turncoats… that will allow you to prosper longer.


Rooster – Beyonce, Britney Spears, P Diddy

All you want to do is sing and the term diva could apply. Diddy, I’m looking at you! Your talents may range and you enjoy dabbling in a number of different business ventures from record labels to fragrances to clothing lines. Yuck, I just found out that Yoko Ono is also a Rooster and that makes me disgusted with the whole lot of roosters… bunch of cocks!

Dog – Harry Houdini, Michael Jackson

You have a fascination with the mysteries of the universe and are considered… well, quirky, to put it nicely. You are worshipped by some, but trashed and disregarded by others. Either way, you will be remembered for your showmanship and talent. Who let the dogs out? You did… you did.

Pig – Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King

You prefer to explore the dark side of the human psyche. You are capable of causing people to fear everything from birds to clowns and may have even been offered the title ‘Master of Horror’. Apparently, you like to cameo in your own works when they are adapted for film and television… if that’s the case, I can’t wait for The Sip Advisor film to be shopped!

China: Flying Tiger

Apr 3

  • 1.5 oz Chu Yeh Ching Chiew
  • 0.5 oz Gin
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Although many of us believe we fall under one animal only, Chinese astrology assigns animals not only based of birth year, but also by month (inner animals), by day (true animals) and by hour (secret animals). This makes the Sip Advisor some sort of pig, rooster, rat/pig (Thursdays have two animals), dog hybrid. And here I was hoping to be the elusive man-bear-pig from South Park!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Thanks to this drink, I finally placed what Chiew reminds me of… Absinthe. It has those medicinal/herbal flavours and that can cause issues for some. Luckily, I like Absinthe and therefore had no problem with this cocktail. The one complaint I could throw its way is that it wasn’t fizzy and lacked a citrus taste that could have helped.

March 12 – Sepultura

Grave Diggin’

In Portuguese, Sepultura means grave. And while this drink may eventually send you there, you still have time to figure out what will be written on your headstone. Here’s some things to consider:

Do you want to be remembered for your legacy?

“That’s All Folks!”
The Man of a Thousand Voices

Mel Blanc (voice of numerous Looney Tunes characters)


“The Entertainer”
He Did It All

Sammy Davis, Jr. (triple threat: actor, singer, comedian)

Do you want to tell your story?

Truth and History.
21 Men.
The Boy Bandit King–
He Died As He Lived

William H. Bonney “Billy the Kid” (legendary outlaw)

Are you hoping to deliver a lasting message?

…that nothing’s so sacred as honor and nothing’s so loyal as love

Wyatt Earp (old west lawman)

Workers of all lands unite.
The philosophers have only
interpreted the world in various ways;
the point is to change it.

Karl Marx (Communist manifestonian)

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life.
Comes into us at midnight very clean.
It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands
It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday”

John Wayne (cowboy)

Why not crack a joke on your way out?

There goes the neighborhood

 Rodney Dangerfield (comedian)


Jack Lemmon

Jack Lemmon (actor)

“I will not be right back after this message.”

Merv Griffin (talk show host/game show creator)

“I’m a writer, but then nobody’s perfect.”

Billy Wilder (movie icon)

Or, do you just want to get in the last word?

Quoth the Raven,

Edgar Allan Poe (writer)

After careful consideration, I’ve decided that my tombstone should read:

The Sip Advisor
He provided the world with endless joy
So we drink to him, eating Chips Ahoy
He was a legend, a stud, never rude
To sum up: he was one good dude!

Of course, if you have to pay per letter, I’m cool with it simply saying “C U”. Ah hell, I want to be cremated anyway, with my ashes to be sprinkled in a distillery, so I can be with my loved ones forever. Or at least until they sweep up around the place.

Drink #71: Sepultura

Sepultura Cocktail

  • 0.75 oz Absinthe
  • 0.75 oz Fireball Whiskey (or Cinnamon Schnapps)
  • 1 Beer (I used Rickard’s Red)

Take the two liquors and put them into a shot glass, drop the shooter into the beer and voila, you have a liquid grave to drown your sorrows in. Only happiness is allowed around here!

Sepultura Absinthe Beer Drink Recipe


Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I used a frozen shot glass for this dropped shot cocktail, which eliminated much of the mess and clean up when the drink was done. I would like to try this recipe with other beers and see which one works best.

January 25 – Sarsaparilla Assassin

The Man with No Name

When I was a young warthog…

When he was a young warthooooooggggg!

As a younger lad, I loved sarsaparillas. I discovered it when my family was on a road trip through the southwestern United States, when I was only seven. In the same vein as ordering a root beer, a kid kind of felt like they were drinking with the big boys… all grown up. Especially on this road trip, it was fun to saddle up to a ghost town bar and ask the tender for a sarsaparilla. Take a big swig of it to show everyone in the joint that you’re a badass and then take your seat at a table for a round of poker.

ghost town bar

In reality, my parents probably ordered me the sarsaparilla, in a family establishment, and I likely had chicken fingers for dinner, while colouring one of those kid’s menus. Clint Eastwood I was not, but the imagination can run wild when you’re a little one.

Now, I am that legendary cowboy… well, more of a cow-tender: A slinger of libations sure to knock out my opponents better than any gunshot could. I’m three parts Rango, two parts John Wayne, with a dash of Woody from Toy Story. Damn, that would be one weird looking hombre.

rango John Wayne  Toy_Story_Woody

Speaking of root beer, though, I do have a funny story of a family member from Germany – the land of beer and chocolate – coming to visit Canada and when my dad and uncle took him to a local restaurant, he ordered a Root BEER, completely expecting to be on the receiving end of a brew. That must have been one dark looking beer. Still, the relative slammed back the pop and nearly choked on it. I’m pretty sure that’s the last time he ever came to holiday here!

Drink #25: Sarsaparilla Assassin

Sarsaparilla Assassin Drink

  • 1 oz Tequila (I used 1800 Reposado)
  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Top with Root Beer
  • Garnish with lemon wheel

I was very curious to see how this mix would come together. I have to admit that it did quite nicely. The peppermint schnapps and root beer tag-team together for a different, but enjoyable taste. I can’t wait for my next trip to the saloon!

Sip Adviosr Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Root Beer offers such a great flavour and I like how it worked with the Peppermint Schnapps and both kind of have a similar aftertaste bite. It’s a strong drink (nothing wrong with that!), so it may have to be enjoyed in moderation.