Minnesota – The Bootleg

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, Minnesota welcomes the Sip Advisor. The Land of 10,000 Lakes actually has many more, so at least they’re humble folk. Let’s see what the North Star State has going on:

Motto: “The star of the North” – Canada may have some objections to that…

Food: Hotdish is a Minnesota classic. These casseroles come in a variety of forms, but typically combine a starch, a meat, and vegetables, mixed with canned soup. A popular version uses tater tots, ground beef and cream of mushroom soup. Hotdish can even come served on a stick, with the soup used as a side dipping sauce.

Drink: Craft beer is big in Minnesota, with brewing in general having a long and storied history in the state. Companies such as Surly, Summit, and Schell’s are among the best today, with Schell’s being the second oldest family-owned brewery in the U.S., founded in 1860.

Hotdish

Site to See: For those who love to shop, a mecca of mall madness can be found in Bloomington. The Mall of America is the largest mall in the U.S., home to such attractions as the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, Crayola Experience and FlyOver America. Opened in 1992, the mall contains 520 stores and restaurants.

Street: Summit Avenue, in St. Paul, is notable for being the longest street of Victorian homes in America. National Historic Landmarks along the route, include the James J. Hill House, F. Scott Fitzgerald House and Frank B. Kellogg House. However, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald both disliked the area.

TV Show: Coach, starring Craig T. Nelson as Minnesota State University football coach, Hayden Fox, ran for nine seasons and exactly 200 episodes. The final two seasons were set in Florida, with Fox becoming the coach of an expansion NFL team, but it was revealed in the series finale, Fox retired and returned to Minnesota.

Movie: I’m a huge Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon fan, so among some tough competition, I have to go with Grumpy/Grumpier Old Men for this category. Set in Wabasha, feuding neighbours, Max Goldman and John Gustafson Jr., trade insults and pranks, while their respective son and daughter enter into a relationship together. The sequel sees everyone happily ever after, so perhaps the movie titles don’t fit.

Grumpy Old Men

Book/Author: It is generally accepted the Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles M. Schulz, is set in Minnesota. After all, Schulz was born in Minneapolis and some mentions during the comics run place memorable characters, such as Charlie Brown and Snoopy, there. Schulz retired on January 3, 2000, dying a month later of colon cancer.

Fictional Character: Minnesota is a hockey mad state; therefore, hockey legends with fill this category. First, the rough and tumble Hanson Brothers, from the classic film Slap Shot, are Minnesota-bred. Next, we have the Mighty Ducks minor hockey team, led by coach Gordon Bombay. Can you just imagine if these great players all united to form an all-state squad!?

Fictional City: Frostbite Falls is the hometown of Rocky J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose. Based on the real-life International Falls (nicknamed the Icebox of the Nation due to its extremely cold temperatures), Frostbite Falls is where antagonists Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are often trying to capture “Moose and Squirrel,” perhaps to make a hotdish.

Actor/Actress: Funnymen Chris Pratt and Vince Vaugh were born in Virginia and Minneapolis, respectively. Coincidentally, both have had roles in Jurassic Park films. Other notable stars from the state, include Judy Garland, Jessica Biel, Jessica Lange, Winona Ryder (born in Winona), and Seann William Scott.

Hanson Brothers

Song: Skyway, by the Replacements, is an ode to the Minneapolis Skyway System, a network of pedestrian footbridges, which allow folks to remain inside and safe from the elements for 11 miles and 80 city blocks (the longest continuous system in the world). The Minnesotan band’s song is about two lovers, one on the street and one within the Skyway System, who are unable to connect.

Band/Musician: Two icons of the music industry were born in Minnesota. Bob Dylan has been recognized as one of the most influential artists of all-time, earning such accolades as a Nobel Prize in Literature, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and induction into various Hall of Fames. Fellow Minnesotan, Prince, also enjoyed a very successful career, sadly passing away of an accidental fentanyl overdose, in 2016.

People: The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, were born in St. Louis Park and are among some of the most successful filmmakers in the industry. Their most notable movies include Fargo (set and filmed in Minnesota), No Country for Old Men and True Grit, all of which were nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, with No Country for Old Men taking home the prize.

Animal: Not only was a dog (Duke) elected mayor of small town Cormorant Village, but the canine was re-elected three more times, serving for a total of four years, before retiring. Duke’s human deputy mayor, said the canine “hangs out at the local pub and makes sure everything is running.”

Duke the Mayor

Invention: Frank C. Mars founded Mars Inc., in 1911, in Minneapolis. His famous chocolate bar creations included the Milky Way, Snickers and Three Musketeers. His son, Forrest Mars Sr., later developed the Mars bar and M&M’s candies, while estranged from his father. He returned to the fold, when he inherited Mars Inc. and merged it with his own company.

Crime: I had this article all written up and ready to go… then the murder of George Floyd occurred and a rewrite was needed. Floyd’s death, at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his colleagues, has resulted in Black Lives Matter protests across the country and abroad, seeking reforms on policing and highlighting racial inequalities. Floyd was 46 and is survived by five children.

Law: In Minnesota, nursing homes and senior care facilities may only stage games of bingo twice per week. Yeah, that will keep the residents in line!

Sports Team: Minnesota has one team in each of the Big 4 sports leagues. Minneapolis is home to three of those clubs, the Vikings (NFL), Twins (MLB) and Timberwolves (NBA), while the Wild (NHL) play in St. Paul. The defunct North Stars (NHL), had played in Bloomington from 1967 to 1993, but were relocated to Dallas, Texas.

Bingo

Athlete: Minnesota has long been a breeding ground for professional wrestlers. Such notable stars from the past, include Verne Gagne (whose American Wrestling Association was based in Minneapolis), Bob Backlund, Bronko Nagurski, Curt Hennig (aka Mr. Perfect), the Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, Barry Darsow, Rick Rude, Jesse Ventura (former governor of Minnesota), and Sean Waltman (aka X-Pac).

Famous Home: The Glensheen Historic Estate, in Duluth, is an expansive property, operated by the University of Minnesota Duluth. Famous for its architectural design, the mansion was the site of a grizzly double murder of owner Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, at the hands of Congdon’s adopted daughter’s husband. Tours of the estate are available, but questions about the murders can only be asked afterwards.

Urban Legend: Although there’s a drunken prankster, Ola Värmlänning, among Minnesota folklore, I can’t find much info about the character, so we’ll go with the Kensington Runestone in this category. The Runestone, which details the experiences of 14th century Scandinavian explorers, has been the subject of much debate over its authenticity. Most scholars have debunked the artifact as a hoax, but it remains on display at the Runestone Museum, in Alexandria.

Museum: Spam, the canned pork product, was invented in Minnesota. Therefore, the state is home to the Spam Museum, located in Austin. Visitors are offered spamples from spambassadors, with a highlight of the museum documenting Spam’s importance during World War II. Austin also celebrated Spamarama annually, from 1978 to 2007, with the event returning in 2019. The festival featured a Spam cook-off competition.

Spam

Firsts: The University of Minnesota has been responsible for many major medical developments. These include the first open heart surgery, as well as the first bone marrow, kidney and pancreas transplants in the U.S. The world-renowned Mayo Clinic is also a Minnesota institution, known for its treatment of patients and research programs, leading to many medical innovations.

Company: General Mills, makers of popular cereals such as Cheerios, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Golden Grahams, is headquartered in Golden Valley. Other General Mills brands include Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Chex Mix, Hamburger Helper, and Old El Paso. Two more notable companies based in Minnesota are retailer giants Target and Best Buy.

Events: The Miracle on Ice, which saw the U.S. defeat the powerhouse Soviet Union (and later capture the hockey gold medal) at the 1980 Winter Olympics, was accomplished by a team loaded with University of Minnesota players and led by the program’s coach, Herb Brooks. The victory was iconic during the Cold War era and made all the more memorable by commentator Al Michaels call: “Do you believe in miracles?!”

Miscellaneous: Minnesotans must enjoy their leisure time, having invented a number of objects for fun on your own and with friends. These items include snowmobiles, water skis, rollerblades, the game Twister, Nerf balls, and Tonka Trucks.

The Bootleg

The Bootleg

  • 1.5 oz Vodka, Gin or Rum
  • 3 oz Bootleg Mix (recipe below)
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with Mint

The Bootleg Batch

  • Bootleg Mix (Combined in Blender)
  • 1 Can Frozen Lemonade
  • 1 Can Frozen Limeade
  • 1/2 Cup Mint Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Simple Syrup

The Bootleg is a country club favourite in Minnesota. Some say the recipe first appeared during prohibition, used to mask the taste of alcohol. This drink was very good, which I mixed up for friends and family to enjoy poolside on a warm day. Anything is better than the alternative Minnesota cocktail of choice, the Beertini/Midwest Martini, which combines lager beer with green olives and brine.

Flavour Revolution – Violet

Pleasing Purple

I’ve always wanted to get my hands on a violet liqueur because you don’t see too many purple cocktails. With that in mind, the Sip Advisor started to think about the most notable things out there that are purple. Here is that list:

Purple Haze

Jimi Hendrix sure knew how to rock a guitar and this is one of his most recognizable songs. In fact, it was the opening track on the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s debut album, so it was technically the first time most listeners heard the band’s work. Many believe the song describes a psychedelic experience, but Hendrix called it a love song. Perhaps it was both! Also in the realm of purple-themed music is Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ and D-12’s ‘Purple Pills/Hills’.

purple hays

Purple Heart Award

Given to soldiers who are wounded or killed in action, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award still handed out by the United States. The medal has been awarded since 1917 and was previously known as the Badge of Military Merit, dating all the way back to the time of George Washington. The estimates of how many times this medal has been awarded through the years is quite sobering. World War II alone accounts for 1,076,245, according to a 2009 National Geographic article.

Purple Nurple

These were the absolute worst growing up… perhaps the Indian burn was more painful in the short term, but purple nurples lasted longer in both throbbing ache and bruising. The bullying act has gone by other names, such as the titty twister and nipple cripple, but purple nurple is the name the Sip Advisor knew (and feared) it as. The purple nurple has been turned into a cocktail recipe, which sounds pretty good, combining Coconut Rum, Triple Sec, Blue Curacao, and Cranberry Juice.

purple nurple

The Color Purple

This book-turned-movie-turned-musical sees a poor, uneducated 14-year-old black girl, living in the southern U.S., deal with issues such as an abusive father, racial tension, sexism, women’s rights, and so much more. Written by Alice Walker, the book won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as the National Book Award for Fiction. The film, directed by Steven Spielberg, starred a young Whoopi Goldberg and also featured the debut of Oprah Winfrey.

Purple People Eater

The tone of this song sounds like we should embrace the purple people eater, but I advocate avoiding it at all costs. The tune became a Billboard pop chart topper for about a month in 1958, which blows my mind, especially when compared to number one songs nowadays. The “one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater” made its way to also being a 1988 sci-fi-comedy family film, starring one Neil Patrick Harris. The movie’s plot is one whole sentence on Wikipedia!

Flavour Revolution: Blue Moon

There are also a few character who are memorable for their purple hue, clothing, or accessories. This list includes Ronald McDonald’s diabetic buddy Grimace; Barney the Dinosaur; Donatello of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; and the ‘Clown Prince of Crime,’ the Joker.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (??? Sips out of 5):
This recipe is a variation of the classic Aviation cocktail. There’s also a similar adaptation called Moonlight, which adds Cointreau and subs Lime Juice for Lemon Juice.
I upped the dose of Violette Liqueur from 0.5 oz to 1 oz, because I wanted it to be featured more

September 1 – Kir Royale

Your Majesty

There have been many fictional monarchs over the course of history. Some rulers are worthy of mention, while others have had subpar reigns. Here are some of the most liked and most hated to take the throne:

Joffrey Baratheon

As I’ve written before, I can’t wait to see this little brat get his comeuppance. It will happen and the only question is who will deliver that sweet blow? Will it be Tyrion Lannister, who has struggled to rein in Joffrey’s psychopathic behavior? Will it be Daenerys Targaryen, who is building an army to reclaim her family’s rightful place of power? My money is on Arya Stark, who only has sweet revenge on her mind. It will probably be someone we never expected, however. And if you are one of those self righteous people who has some inside knowledge because you’ve “read the book” (cough, cough, Mrs. Sip), don’t tell me a damn thing!

Joffrey

Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler

Jerry Lawler earned his crown in the Memphis wrestling territory and went on to hold that region’s championship countless times… it probably helped that he was usually an owner of the promotion. World Wrestling Entertainment used to also host an annual King of the Ring tournament, which was won by such dignitaries as Randy Savage (with Queen Sherri Martel), Steve Austin, and Brock Lesnar.

Queen of Hearts

Off with their heads! Poor Alice, stuck in Wonderland and having the most bizarre time ever… she goes from a quiet game of croquet to running for her life, while some mad queen wants her head served up by the executioner. And they call croquet a gentleman’s game (I don’t know that for fact, if you haven’t already noticed by now I just make stuff up as I go along). Luckily, Alice escape with her skull still attached to her body, but will she ever be the same?

Kingdom of Eternia

Most people are probably asking: what the hell is this. Well friends, this kingdom would consist of King Randor, Queen Marlena, Prince Adam, and Princess Adora. The last two are otherwise known as He-Man and She-Ra. Together, they were part of one of the greatest marketing concepts ever: combining action figures with cartoons and comics. I only wish I had come up with this billion-dollar idea.

He-Man & She-Ra

Evil Queen

There are few queens that are as wicked as the Evil Queen. She actually enlisted a huntsman to track down Snow White, the fairest of them all, kill her and bring back her heart as proof of the assassination. Her maliciousness has only been heightened on Once Upon a Time where she continues her battles with Snow White, Prince Charming, and all the other characters of Disney fantasy.

Burger King

I wish that I was king of burgers… I’m sure this would come with an endless supply of the meals from all parts of the world. You could probably summon a burger whenever you wanted one. Then, all you’d have to do is become buddies with the Fry King and Milkshake King and you’d have the full meal deal! As long as I didn’t have to look as creepy as the Burger King mascot, I’d be fine with the challenges and responsibilities of such a title.

Simba

Of course I had to have a kitty entry into this category. King of the Pride Lands, Simba has a rough go of things when he is led to believe that his actions caused his father Mufasa’s death. Thankfully, he meets Timon and Pumbaa, who restore his confidence. He also bangs his childhood sweetie, Nala, and then returns home to battle his uncle Scar over his right to the throne. Upon victory, he literally becomes the Lion King, although I have a feeling other kitties would challenge his claims.

Drink #244: Kir Royale

Kir Royal Drink Recipe

I think I’d be a good king, similar to how I preside over all you little sippers. I would make sure that my constituents are provided for in all realms of the booze world, including liquor, mixers, garnishes, and even drunken snackies like chips and pulled pork. If we really want to make this happen, let’s start a revolution tomorrow. Are you in!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Mrs. Sip really liked this mix and she seemed to stumble upon the perfect fix for wines and champagnes that are a little too sweet. As for myself, I enjoyed the cocktail. The Blackcurrant Liqueur is a unique spirit and the Cherry garnish looked awesome!