Maine – Remember the Maine

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 Maine, known as the Pine Tree State because it is largely covered in forest. It has also been dubbed the Vacation State, but there’s no rest for the wicked, so let’s start our exploration:

Motto: “I Lead” – But what do you lead!?

Food: Maine Lobster is known the world over for its taste and tenderness. The industry is so important to the state, the University of Maine opened a Lobster Institute, in 1987. For dessert, you could have an order of Donut Holes (invented in Maine) or a Whoopie Pie – two mounds of chocolate cake with filling or frosting in the middle – which is the State Treat.

Drink: The official soft drink of Maine is Moxie, created by Mainer, Augustin Thompson, in 1876. The soda was originally a medicinal tonic, with Thompson claiming it treated “paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia.” Purchased by the Coca-Cola Company in 2018, the drink is said to be sweet with a bitter aftertaste.

Lobster

Site to See: One of the most visited national parks across the country, Acadia National Park was established (under a different name) by President Woodrow Wilson, in 1916. The park’s Cadillac Mountain is the first spot in the country to be greeted by the sunrise from October to March.

Street: Commercial Street, in Portland, was named one of the 10 best streets in America, in 2008. A number of wharfs, each featuring seafood restaurants, can be accessed from Commerical Street. The Maine State Pier is located along the route as well, where an outdoor music site can be found.

TV Show: I don’t care what anyone says, Murder, She Wrote, is an amazing TV show. Sure, it’s hard to imagine someone would end up being so closely associated with as many murders as Jessica Fletcher was, but that’s part of its… um, charm. Had it been revealed Fletcher was, in fact, a serial killer, that would have made for an epic series finale.

Movie: The Shawshank Redemption stars Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, who is wrongfully accused of the murder of his wife and her lover, and sent to Shawshank State Penitentiary, in Maine. There, he befriends fellow inmate Red, played by Morgan Freeman. Dufresne ends up escaping the prison and makes sure Red is able to join him in freedom, once he’s released.

Murder She Wrote

Book/Author: Most of Stephen King’s books are set in Maine (Pet Sematary, It, Salem’s Lot, Carrie, Cujo, etc.), using fictional settings such as Castle Rock, Derry and Jerusalem’s Lot. King himself is from Maine, providing the familiarity he uses when plotting out his works.

Fictional Character: Among all the horror creations from the mind of Stephen King, an amiable specter also hails from Maine. Casper the Friendly Ghost is from the town Friendship (at least in the 1995 film), where he haunts Whipstaff Manor. But all Casper really wants is to find a friend to cure his loneliness.

Fictional City: Everyone in Cabot Cove (Murder, She Wrote) seems to end up dead or a murderer. Instead, I’ll live with the catalogue of Disney characters who inhabit Storybrook (Once Upon a Time). Perhaps I could snuggle up close to some of those princesses!

Actor/Actress: Anna Kendrick, star of the Pitch Perfect film trilogy, was born in Portland. Kendrick, who would make the Sip Advisor’s very short list of Hollywood stars he finds attractive, also lends her voice to the Trolls franchise of animated movies.

Stephen King

Song: I had to choose the Maine Stein Song by Rudy Vallée for this category because a drinking song will always top all others in my books. The fight song of the University of Maine actually topped the music charts in 1930, the only college tune to ever do so. The song peaked in popularity during prohibition, although its lyrics were written three decades earlier.

Band/Musician: Rudy Vallée was raised in Westbrook and would become one of the first teen idols/pop stars. Vallée would go on to inspire the likes of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, among other crooners. Apparently, Vallée was so popular among female fans, if he was singing in a venue lacking microphones, he had to use a megaphone.

People: During the tense Cold War times of the 1980’s, 10-year-old Samantha Smith (from Houlton) wrote to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and was invited to visit the republic as a Goodwill Ambassador. Her visit, heavily covered by the media, showed both sides they were more similar than previously thought. Tragically, Smith died in a place crash, at the age of 13. The Soviet Union honoured Smith with a stamp, while Maine celebrates Samantha Smith Day each June, among other remembrances from both countries.

Animal: The Official State Cat of Maine, is the Maine Coon Cat, the largest domesticated cat breed. The origins of the Maine Coon are rumoured to involve Marie Antoinette, who in trying to escape her fate in France, sent six prized cats to America, where they mixed with other breeds, resulting in the Maine Coon.

Maine Coon Cat

Invention: The Microwave Oven was invented by Mainer Percy Spencer, when he began experimenting with various foods, after noticing a candy bar melted in his pocket, while the physicist was working with magnetrons and radar. Thanks to him, people can get their TV dinners, instant noodles and popcorn in a matter of minutes.

Crime: In 1806, James Purrington, a farmer in Hallowell, murdered his wife and seven of their children (ranging in age from 18 months to 19 years) with an axe, before committing suicide using a straight razor to his own throat. Purrington’s 17-year-old son survived the ordeal and escaped to a neighbour’s home. Legend has it, Purrington was buried with the weapons he used.

Law: Maine has been called “The Birthplace of Prohibition,” as they were the first state to enact such a law, in 1885. This led to the Portland Rum Riot, which led to the law being repealed in 1856. If that wasn’t bad enough, folks can be fined for leaving Christmas lights up after January 14.

Sports Team: Maine is without any professional sports teams, with folks mostly choosing to support Boston area franchises. The University of Maine Black Bears teams have experienced various levels of success, with their men’s ice hockey program winning two National Championships.

Microwave

Athlete: Marathon runner, Joan Benoit Samuelson, was born in Cape Elizabeth. She was the first ever women’s Olympics marathon champion, winning gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics. She also held record times for an American racer at the Chicago and Boston Marathons, for 32 and 28 years, respectively.

Famous Home: The Harriet Beecher Stowe House, in Brunswick, is where the landmark anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was written. The place is now a museum, featuring Harriet’s Writing Room. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had previously lived at the residence, while a student.

Urban Legend: The University of Maine at Farmington is said to be the site of much paranormal activity. Founded in 1864, notable hauntings include Nordica Auditorium, where the piano is played, with no one seated at it, and Mallett Hall dormitory, where the sound of furniture being moved can be heard above the third floor, despite there being no fourth floor.

Museum: The International Cryptozoology Museum, in Portland, is the only museum in the world dedicated to the study of mysterious creatures such as Bigfoot, Sasquatches, Yetis, Lake Monsters, and others. Maine is apparently a hotbed of Sasquatch sightings, so the location makes sense.

Bigfoot

Firsts: Born in Skowhegan, the first female presidential candidate was Margaret Chase Smith, who sought the Republican nomination for the 1964 election. While her bid for the nomination, Smith is credited with being the first woman to serve in both houses of the U.S. Congress.

Company: Clothing and outdoor recreation equipment retailer, L.L.Bean, was founded in Freeport, where it is headquartered to this day. The company’s flagship store still exists there and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, having only closed on a handful of occasion throughout its history, including this current global pandemic.

Events: The 1866 Great Fire of Portland, started as the result of Independence Day celebrations, likely from fireworks or cigar ash. The blaze spread quickly, resulting in only two deaths, but 10,000 people left homeless, as 1,800 buildings were destroyed.

Miscellaneous: The town of Strong was once known as the Toothpick Capital of the World, producing 20 million toothpicks each day (75 billion each year), at the height of the industry. This accounted for 95 per cent of the world’s toothpick supply. However, toothpicks have been replaced by floss and other items, with the last toothpick produced in Strong, in 2003.

Remember the Maine

Remember the Maine

  • Rinse glass with Absinthe
  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Cherry Liqueur
  • Garnish with Drunken Cherries

This cocktail was made in recognition of the USS Maine, which was sunk off the coast of Havana, Cuba, in 1898. Spain was blamed for the incident, so the slogan “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain,” became popular and the 1898 Spanish-American War soon followed. The drink has some similarities to a Manhattan and that is just fine by me.

Mixer Mania #8 – Family First

Fruit Punch is like the United Nations of juices, bringing crops of all walks of life together and trying to co-exist in harmony. That also sounds like the description for a blended family… therefore, here are some of the best fictional merged units to ever come together:

The Brady Bunch

The original blended TV family saw a mother and her three daughters join a father and his three sons. Of course, there was also maid Alice to play peacekeeper between the factions, so long as she wasn’t out with boyfriend, Sam the butcher (an awesome wrestling name!). Cousin Oliver later came along, although he basically signaled the end of the series and his name is now used to describe when a show adds a young character to avoid cancellation.

Step Brothers

It’s one thing to find common ground with young children that are suddenly asked to act like kin, but when you’re trying to find peace between two middle-aged slackers still living at home, it can be a total nightmare. Such was the case for Brennan Huff and Dale Doback, as their mother and father, respectively, decide to marry and bring their families together. They do become close, in the end, but the early stages included attempted murder.

step-brothers

Step by Step

An updated 90’s version of The Brady Bunch saw TV darlings Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy combine their offspring to make one massive family. Add in cousin Cody – who lives in a van on the Lambert-Foster property, despite their massive house – and you have a pretty large household. This was TGIF programming at its finest, my little sippers, and they even tried to shoehorn a new baby into the show, prior to advance-aging her.

Blended

You’d figure after starring together previously in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates that Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore wouldn’t be strangers anymore, but here they were bringing their respective families together in Africa of all places. Sandler, a widower with three daughters is joined by Barrymore and her two sons from a previous marriage and hilarity ensues when they’re placed in a myriad of African mishaps, before falling in love.

X-Men

While not a typical blended family, the students of Charles Xavier’s School for the Gifted are like one big clan, with many of the mutants forced from their birth homes by parents who either can’t handle their child’s extraordinary powers or are too scared to. Sure, things get a little weird when you consider some of the romantic relationships sparked within the group and the jury is still out on whether Professor X is a good father or not.

wolverine-kid

Modern Family

When Jay Pritchett married Gloria Delgado, her son Manny was also part of the deal. Later on, Jay and Gloria have a child of their own to add to the mix. As the show’s name implies, the series includes a number of different family mixes, such as the Dunphy’s – your “typical” family of mom, dad, and three kids – and the Tucker-Pritchett clan, which is comprised of a gay couple and their adopted Vietnamese daughter.

The Cleveland Show

After reuniting with his high school crush, Cleveland Brown and son Cleveland Jr. end up shacking up with Donna Tubbs and her two children from her previous marriage, Roberta and Rallo. The move from Quahog, Rhode Island to Stoolbend, Virginia means a whole new set of family and friends for the Browns, who initially struggle to meld with the Tubbs unit. Eventually, they return to Quahog, as most blended families do when their spinoff is cancelled.

Once Upon A Time

A big theme in Disney animated movies (and the fairy tales that they’re based on) is that of the blended family. Therefore, it’s no surprise that these would be transferred over to the Once Upon A Time world, most notably with Evil Queen Regina becoming the stepmother of Snow White and later sharing mother duties of young Henry with Emma Swan, the boy’s biological mama. Regina also becomes a pseudo mother to Robin Hood’s son.

Mixer Mania #8: Alabama Riot

Alabama Riot.JPG

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Top with Fruit Punch
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Strawberry Slices

I must ask, if the world drank more Fruit Punch, would we be more accepting of each other’s differences? Yeah, probably not, but it would be neat if the solution was that simple…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
With this recipe, I was most curious with how the Peppermint Schnapps would work with the other ingredients. While it actually made a decent partnership with the Fruit Punch, it still remained a little too noticeable. I happy I tried the drink, though.

United States – The Revolver

Living Arrangements

It would be neat if we could find ourselves living in one of the fictional cities we read about or see in movies or on TV. Most of these fictional cities are located across the United States (our next stop on the worldwide liquor express) and here are the places I’d choose to reside if given the option:

South Park – South Park

There always seems to be crazy shit going down in South Park. It has been the epicenter for nearly all the world’s activity since 1997, including attacks by Mecha-Streisand (a mechanized Barbara Streisand), the initiation of same-sex marriage laws, and the battle ground for artists and consumers over illegal downloading, among so much else. Heck, both Jesus and Satan have resided in the small Colorado town, with Jesus even hosting a public access call-in TV show!

South_Park

Duckburg – DuckTales

Hopefully I’d be part of Scrooge McDuck’s inner circle and get to join him, Launchpad McQuack, and the gang on all their jet-setting adventures. If I wound up as one of the Beagle Boys, I don’t think I’d enjoy the experience nearly as much. Perhaps Scrooge and I could go for a dip in his vault and have a coin fight. We’d be the best of friends until I got greedy and stole his lucky dime. Then Flintheart Glomgold  and myself would go on the lam as filthy rich baddies.

Gotham City – Batman

The only thing to decide before settling in Gotham City is whether you’re going to be a hero or a villain. That’s actually a really difficult decision for me. I think I’ve spent too much of my life being a good guy and it might be time for a change… time to do something different and look after number one for a little while. Of course, that means I’ll have to battle Batman, rather than fight beside him, but I’m game. Hopefully I get some hot tail, too, like Harley Quinn, Catwoman, or Poison Ivy!

Springfield – The Simpsons

While there are actual Springfield’s across the United States, it still seems like this version is very much fictional. It probably helps that the state in which the Simpsons et al reside is never fully disclosed. It’s hinted at from time to time, but those hints often change and bury the mystery deeper and deeper. I think I’d be able to find a nice life in Springfield, hanging out at Moe’s Tavern and chowing down at Krusty Burger.

simpsons-springfield

Storybrooke – Once Upon a Time

I’ve actually been to Storybrooke… or at least the town (Steveston) where much of the show’s exterior shots are filmed. It’s only a half hour drive from Mrs. Sip’s and my home and we once upon a time went out that way for dinner and tracked down Mr. Gold’s pawn shop and other landmarks. Through Storybrooke, I could also visit places like Neverland, Wonderland, and the Enchanted Forest. That’s getting into a whole nother can of worms, dealing with fictional realms.

Pawnee – Parks and Recreation

The United States’ fourth most obese city, my svelte body may stick out like a sore thumb, but at least I could work with the Parks and Rec crew (perhaps the only time I’d ever be interested in government work). I’d make sure that Ron Swanson became my mentor and through his tutelage, I could amass a fortune of gold bars and an appreciation for outdoor life, woodwork, and simply being a man’s man.

Pawnee

Any Soap Opera Town – General Hospital, One Life to Live, Young and the Restless, etc.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a town where it seems nobody ever works and all they do is have romantic trysts and get into sticky situations!? Nobody is ever in need of money, unless you’re introduced as a homeless character and you don’t have to feel bad about committing evil acts because months later, you’ll likely redeem yourself and become a good guy, once again. Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and the like have all become fan favourites in the Soaps.

Toontown – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Living as a cartoon character would be pretty sweet. You can never die, no matter how many anvils or pianos are dropped on your head, and you spend most of your day scheming to catch a bird or mouse. If I had to pick the character that best matches my personality, it would probably be Wile E. Coyote, with a sprinkle of Taz. My plans – as elaborate as they may be – never really work out and that drives me to whirlwind fits of rage, despite my good heart!

United States: The Revolver

The Revolver Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

Honourable Mentions go to Mayberry (Andy Griffiths Show), Bedrock (The Flintstones), and Sunnydale (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The last one makes the list only so I can be the one to slay the slayer!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I really thought I’d like this cocktail more. Perhaps I went too light on the Orange Bitters. It was a touch too strong on the Bourbon side and I even used Black Cherry and not straight up Jim Beam. I do love what I did with the Orange Zest, so pat on the back for me!