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 journey to New Mexico, to check out the Land of Enchantment, which sounds like something Disney should have copyrighted for their theme parks. Will this trip be just as magical? Let’s find out:
Motto: “It grows as it goes” – Perhaps the state’s mascot should be the Hungry Caterpillar.
Food: New Mexicans use chiles on and in everything from pizza and burgers to apple pie and ice cream. They even have a State Question: “Red or green?”, referring to either Red or Green Chile Sauce. When mixed together, this creates Christmas Sauce, which can be used on a variety of New Mexico favourites. Finish with a Biscochito Cookie and you’re feeling pretty good.
Drink: The Blue Sky Beverage Company was founded in Santa Fe, in 1971. Makers of all-natural soft drinks, Blue Sky is now owned by Coca-Cola. As a possible nod to the company, Blue Sky was the name of the crystal meth produced in TV show Breaking Bad (much more on that subject later). Also, Santa Fe Brewing Company was the state’s first craft brewery and is now its largest beer producer.
Site to See: Carlsbad Caverns National Park is home to more than a hundred caves, although only three are open to the public. The main event of the trio, Carlsbad Caverns, was actually first explored by a teenager, in 1898, who named many of the rooms visitors see today. Over 400,000 people, on average, visit the park annually.
Street: Central Avenue, in Albuquerque, is one of the most important streets in the state. It was once part of the famous Route 66, during that highway’s lifespan. Today, notable attractions on the route include the KiMo Theatre, First National Bank Building, University of New Mexico main campus and Expo New Mexico, which hosts the New Mexico State Fair.
TV Show: The Breaking Bad universe, which also includes prequel Better Call Saul, is set in Albuquerque. Starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad has been called one of the greatest TV shows of all-time with Better Call Saul continuing that mantle. Combined, the shows will have run for 11 seasons, with Breaking Bad earning 16 Emmy Awards.
Movie: The Dollars Trilogy includes A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Starring Clint Eastwood as the Man with No Name, the Spaghetti Westerns (a style which was popularized by these films) are ranked among the best Western movies of all-time. They were not intended to be a trilogy, but the unnamed Eastwood character connected the dots.
Book/Author: Written by Melinda Metz, the Roswell High series of young adult books follows three alien teenagers as they live amongst the human world. The series of 10 books were adapted into the TV show Roswell, which aired for three seasons (1999-2002) and was recently rebooted for another run, beginning in 2019.
Fictional Character: The characters of the Breaking Bad universe, most notably Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and Saul Goodman, have remained favourites of TV viewers, earning Saul his own prequel series and Jesse a sequel movie. Walter is generally regarded as one of the greatest TV characters ever, helped by the performance by Bryan Cranston.
Fictional City: With nothing particularly notable for this category, I wanted to share the story of Truth or Consequences, perhaps the greatest name for a city ever. Previously known as Hot Springs, the city changed its moniker as part of a contest run by the Truth or Consequences radio show, earning the right for the show to be aired from there on its 10th anniversary.
Actor/Actress: For a time, Demi Moore (born in Roswell) was the highest-paid actress ever, earning $12.5 million for the movie Striptease. That role capped a successful run of films, which included Ghost, A Few Good Men and Indecent Proposal. Also, Neil Patrick Harris, best known as womanizer Barney Stinson on the TV show How I Met Your Mother, was born in Albuquerque.
Song: O Fair New Mexico by Elizabeth Garrett (daughter of Sheriff Pat Garrett… more on him later), has been the State Song of New Mexico since 1917. There’s also a State Cowboy Song, Under the New Mexico Skies by Syd Masters, as well as a State Bilingual Song, New Mexico – Mi Lindo Nuevo Mexico by Pablo Mares. Combined, there’s a lot of options.
Band/Musician: John Denver was born in Roswell. He is best remembered for songs such as Take Me Home, Country Roads; Rocky Mountain High and Thank God I’m a Country Boy. Sadly, Denver died in a plane crash in 1997, at the age of 53. For the younger folks out there, Demi Lovato was born in Albuquerque, getting her break with the Disney franchise Camp Rock.
People: Amazon founder, President and CEO, Jeff Bezos, was born in Albuquerque. What began as an online bookstore, run out of Bezos’ garage, with a large investment from his parents, has turned into the biggest online retailer, making Bezos the richest man in the world and its first centi-billionaire. Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million… cash!
Animal: Smokey Bear was created by the U.S. Forest Service to warn people of the danger of forest fires. In 1950, a living symbol of the mascot was found in New Mexico’s Capitan Mountains, when a black bear cub was rescued from a tree as he avoided a blaze. Smokey Bear lived the rest of his life at Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo, with his remains returned to Capitan and buried at Smokey Bear Historical Park.
Invention: New Mexico has been credited, or at least claimed, to be the inventors of two culinary items, the Breakfast Burrito and Frito Pie. The breakfast burrito first appeared on a menu in 1975, at Tia Sophia’s, in Santa Fe. The Frito Pie (corn chips, topped with chili and cheese inside the Frito bag) also comes from Santa Fe, where it was served at the Woolworth’s diner, in the 1960’s.
Crime: David Parker Ray (aka the Toy-Box Killer) is thought to have murdered as many as 60 women. His “toy-box” was a sound-proofed truck trailer, which he used to kidnap, torture, rape and presumably murder his victims. No bodies were ever discovered, but Ray was convicted of kidnapping and torture in 2001. He died a year later of a heart attack.
Law: The infamous McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit was filed in New Mexico after 79-year-old Stella Liebeck suffered third-degree burns to her groin area when she spilled coffee. Obviously, coffee is hot, but the case arose from McDonald’s being warned repeatedly about the temperature of their drink. Liebeck was awarded $2.86 million, which was lowered to $640,000. She spent eight days in hospital, followed by further treatment for two years.
Sports Team: With no professional teams, college sports are the top game in the state. The University of New Mexico Lobos and New Mexico State University Aggies compete in a variety of sports, most notably their football programs, known as the Rio Grande Rivalry. There’s also the Albuquerque Isotopes Triple-A baseball team, which is named for The Simpsons episodes involving a similar squad.
Athlete: The Unser racing family, consisting of Al Sr., Bobby and Al Jr., are based in Albuquerque. Combined, those three won nine Indy 500 races and have each been inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. A series of successful racing video games were developed in the early to mid 1990’s, featuring Al Jr.
Famous Home: One of the oldest buildings in the country, the De Vargas Street House (aka the Oldest House), can be found in Santa Fe. Researchers believe the structure dates back to the 1600’s. Another impressive site, thought to be among the oldest continuously inhabited communities, is the Taos Pueblo settlement, built between 1000 and 1450.
Urban Legend: In 1947, a U.S. Army Air Forces balloon crashed near Roswell. Dubbed the Roswell UFO Incident, many people believe the object that had fallen out of the sky was actually an alien craft and a government conspiracy is covering up the truth. More recent interest in the event was sparked by an alien autopsy film, released in 1995 and revealed to be a hoax a decade later.
Museum: On July 14, 1881, legendary outlaw, William ‘Billy the Kid’ Bonney, was finally tracked down and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett, in Fort Sumner. The Billy the Kid Museum can now be found there, featuring artifacts from the young gunslinger’s assassination, as well as articles belonging to him. Billy the Kid was only 21 years old when he died.
Firsts: For better or worse, the Atomic Bomb was developed in New Mexico, as part of the Manhattan Project. Code named Trinity, the first detonation of such a bomb took place in Alamogordo, on July 16, 1945. Weeks later, similar bombs were dropped on Japan, leading to the end of World War II. The test site is now a National Historic Landmark.
Company: With no recognizable companies to me, it should be noted that Microsoft was founded in Albuquerque, in 1975. Founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen moved the company to Seattle in 1979, to better attract developers. For more New Mexico flavour, convenience store chain Allsup’s was founded in Roswell, in 1956, and now has over 300 stores across New Mexico and Texas.
Events: During the 1898 Spanish-American War, fighters from New Mexico impressed Teddy Roosevelt so much, he began campaigning to have the territory become a U.S. state. New Mexico impressed once again during World War II, when Navajo code talkers used their language to get messages past the enemy. It’s the only military code to never be deciphered.
Miscellaneous: New Mexico is host to the largest air balloon festival in the world, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The event runs for nine days each October and features 500 air balloons filling the sky. As a result of the festival’s success, New Mexico’s State Aircraft is the hot air balloon and the state is known as the Balloon Capital of the World.
- 1.5 oz Tequila
- 0.25 oz Crème de Cassis
- Top with Apple Cider
- Splash of Lemon Juice
- Garnish with Apple Slices
Created in 1965, by Arturo Jaramillo, owner of the Rancho de Chimayó restaurant, in Chimayó, the drink has become the eatery’s signature beverage. The story goes that Jaramillo was looking for a way to use apple crops, which are bountiful in his part of the state, and this was the happy result.