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 find ourselves in Georgia, not to be confused with the European country, which cause many-a-problem while researching this article. Let’s delve into the Peach State to see just how sweet it is:
Motto: “Wisdom, justice, and moderation” – I’m okay with those first two ideals, but I’ve never been one for moderation!
Food: Vidalia Onions are Georgia’s State Vegetable, grown in Vidalia. Uncharacteristically sweet, the onions may work well in Brunswick Stew, which both Georgia and Virginia have made claims to having created.
Drink: Coca-Cola, arguably the world’s most popular soda, was born and bred in Georgia. Originating as Pemberton’s French Wine Coca nerve tonic, in 1885, the beverage was de-alcoholised the following year and renamed Coca-Cola. Today, the Coca-Cola Company is based in Atlanta, where you can also find the World of Coca-Cola attraction (more on that below).
Site to See: Georgia has seven natural wonders for visitors to choose from, including Amicalola Falls, Okefenokee Swamp, Providence Canyon, Radium Springs, Stone Mountain, Tallulah Gorge, and Warm Springs. Stone Mountain is the state’s most popular attraction, featuring a carving on the mountain of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
Street: Peachtree Street in Atlanta is used for annual parades, for holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas, as well as for special event parades, including the 100th anniversary of Coca-Cola and the 1995 Wold Series celebration for the Atlanta Braves. This main route should not be confused with the 71 other streets in Atlanta with Peachtree in its name. Frank Sinatra and John Mayer have sung about the street, while Elton John owns a home on it, inspiring his album Peachtree Road.
TV Show: As I write this, an episode of Matlock is playing in the background, so you know I’m a fan. Grandpa Simpson’s favourite show ran for nine seasons and 193 episodes of legal drama. Starring Andy Griffith as the titular southern lawyer, many believe the character was based on real-life litigator, Bobby Lee Cook, called the “dean of Georgia criminal defense attorneys”.
Movie: Gone with the Wind, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, is a historical romance epic, set on a Georgia plantation during the American Civil War. Based on the book by Margaret Mitchell, the 1939 film set records for Oscar nominations and wins, taking eight of the 13 trophies it was up for.
Book/Author: The Color Purple by Alice Walker, documents the lives of African-American women in the southern U.S. during the 1930’s. Taking place largely in Georgia, the book won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was adapted into a 1985 movie and nominated for 11 Oscars.
Fictional Character: A number of characters from The Walking Dead universe are from Georgia. This includes Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon, leaders of the group of survivors the graphic comic and TV show follows.
Fictional City: Hazzard County from The Dukes of Hazzard is where the Duke boys and cousin Daisy have their many run-ins with Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, while trying to keep their moonshine business running.
Actor/Actress: ‘America’s Sweetheart’, Julia Roberts, was born in Smyrna. The star of films such as Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Erin Brockovich – for which she won a Best Actress Oscar in 2000 – continues to be busy with roles. Roberts has been named People magazine’s most beautiful woman a record five times.
Song: There are a number of great songs which reference the state, including Georgia on My Mind (with versions by Ray Charles and James Brown), The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band, Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight & the Pips and The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia by Vicki Lawrence.
Band/Musician: Georgia has a long history of music, home to legendary artists like Ray Charles, James Brown, Little Richard, Gladys Knight and others. The next wave of stars includes Kanye West, Usher, T.I., Ludacris, and Lil Jon.
People: Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, later becoming the leader of the American Civil Rights Movement. He is best remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial, prior to the 1963 March on Washington. Sadly, King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, dying at the age of 39.
Animal: Noah’s Ark Sanctuary in Locust Grove was home to not one famous animal, but three. Dubbed the BLT trio – for bear Baloo, lion Leo and tiger Shere Khan – the animals were rescued from an Atlanta drug kingpin’s home and happily lived together for years at Noah’s Ark. Sadly, Baloo is the last remaining of the threesome.
Invention: Sure, the invention of anesthesia has helped countless people, but so has Girl Scout Cookies. The U.S. does things so much better than Canada in this regard, with many more flavours available. These include Tagalongs, Samoas and Do-Si-Dos, among others.
Crime: Hosting the 1996 Olympics was a boon for Atlanta, but it turned tragic due to a pipe bomb explosion at Centennial Olympic Park. Two people died (one from the blast, another from a heart attack) and 111 were injured, but it could have been so much worse, had it not been for security guard Richard Jewell, who evacuated the area. Jewell became a suspect afterwards, but the attack was perpetrated by Eric Rudolph. Jewell’s hero-to-villain story was the subject of the 2019 film Richard Jewell.
Law: In Georgia, it is illegal to live on a boat for more than 30 days in one calendar year. What about a van down by the river?
Sports Team: Atlanta has been home to teams from all Big 4 leagues, although both the Flames and Thrashers (NHL) were relocated to other cities. The Braves (MLB), Falcons (NFL) and Hawks (NBA) remain. Also, the PGA Masters Tournament is hosted annually at Augusta National Golf Club.
Athlete: Amongst other sports stars, I have to choose Jackie Robinson, who broke the colour barrier in baseball, for this category. Robinson was born in Cairo, growing up in Pasadena, California. He battled through racism for years as he pursued his baseball career, opening the door for so many athletes to come after him. In 1997, Major League Baseball retired his jersey number (#42) league-wide. The 2013 movie 42 was based on Robinson’s life and accomplishments.
Famous Home: Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home is one of many sites that comprise the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park, in Atlanta. Other attractions include the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where both King Sr. and King Jr. were pastors and King Jr. was baptized, and the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
Urban Legend: The deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history occurred at the Winecoff Hotel, in Atlanta, on December 7, 1946. 119 people died, including some who jumped from higher floors, trying to escape the flames and smoke. The Ellis Hotel now sits on the site, with employees reporting ghost sightings and fire alarms going off at 2:48 am, the time the blaze started.
Museum: The World of Coca-Cola is part history museum, with exhibits on the soda’s secret formula and polar bear mascot, and part entertainment attraction, offering visitors the opportunity to taste over 100 different Coca-Cola products from around the world.
Firsts: Georgia definitely helped with the Women’s Rights Movement, being the first state to allow women full property rights, as well as establishing the first college in the world to award women degrees at Wesleyan College, in Macon.
Company: Ted Turner’s extensive media empire, including channels like CNN, TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies, is headquartered in Atlanta. Turner also dabbled in the sports world, formerly owning both the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks, as well as World Championship Wrestling.
Events: Georgia was a hub of Civil War activity, highlighted by the 1864 Battle of Atlanta, which resulted in much of the city being burned to the ground, as Union troops hoped to cut off Confederate access to supplies. Atlanta suffered another major fire in 1917, destroying a large chunk of the capital.
Miscellaneous: The Varsity, in Atlanta, is the world’s largest drive-in fast food restaurant. The eatery, established in 1928, takes up two city blocks and offers seating for 800-plus patrons inside, with space for 600 cars outside. The Varsity even has their own lingo for menu ordering.
- 2 oz Southern Comfort
- Top with Cranberry Juice
- Splash of Lime Juice
- Garnish with a Lime Wedge
- 2 oz Southern Comfort
- 0.5 oz Triple Sec
- Splash of Lime Juice
- Splash of Lemon Juice
- Garnish with a Lemon Twist
This is the Sip Advisor’s first double drink of this project, as I had to include the cocktails made in honour of both of the main characters from Gone with the Wind. Apparently, the Scarlett O’Hara made Southern Comfort popular, subbing in for vodka in a recipe similar to a Cosmopolitan. The Rhett Butler is a little stiffer, just like the character. Both were enjoyable beverages.