Virginia – Lover’s Cocktail

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. This week, we enter federal government territory with our exploration of Virginia. The Old Dominion is home to the Pentagon, the CIA and other agencies, so we’ll have to keep things to a dull roar:

Motto: “Thus always to tyrants” – Apparently, this was said by John Wilkes Booth after shooting President Abraham Lincoln. You’d think that would necessitate a change in slogan.

Food: Smithfield Ham (aka Virginia Ham) has protected designation status, meaning only hams that come from Smithfield and are processed, treated, smoked and cured a specific way can be called Smithfield Hams. It was among the first exports of the U.S. There’s also Brunswick Stew and Peanut Soup to round out Virginia-based delicacies.

Drink: The State Spirit of Virginia is George Washington’s Rye Whiskey, which is produced at the first president’s reconstructed distillery at his Mount Vernon home (more on that later). The whiskey’s recipe was previously used by Washington in the late 1700’s and production made the distillery the largest in the country. The whiskey now sells in limited edition batches.

Smithfield Ham

Site to See: A somber, but popular attraction in Virginia is the Arlington National Cemetery, containing the remains of soldiers from wars America has been involved with, beginning with the Civil War. It’s here that visitors can find the graves of President John F. Kennedy, astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Street: Skyline Drive, which runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains for the entire length of Shenandoah National Park, is a 105-mile route offering spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont. It also allows access to hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. The road is a National Scenic Byway and National Historic Landmark.

TV Show: Two Seth McFarlane shows are set in Virginia, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. Anyone who truly gets the Sip Advisor knows both these series are among my all-time favourites, thanks to characters such as Roger Smith, Klaus Heisler, Cleveland Brown and his drinking buddies, Rallo Tubbs, and many others. Sadly, The Cleveland Show only lasted four seasons, but American Dad is still going strong with over 300 episodes.

Movie: So many movies have scenes that take place in Virginia, thanks to the federal government agencies located there. Two Disney movies completely set in the state are the animated Pocahontas, led by the voice work of Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson and David Ogden Stiers, and live action Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington.

Pocahontas

Book/Author: Ellen Glasgow was born in Richmond. She published 20 books over her lifetime, five of which ranked on best-seller lists. Her most notable work was In This Our Life, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1942. The same year, the book was adapted into a film, starring Hollywood leads Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland as the story’s sisters.

Fictional Character: I’ve always enjoyed Cleveland Brown, dating back to his early days on Family Guy. With his own show, Cleveland was expanded even further and came into his own, with his own zany adventures. Not even the cancellation of The Cleveland Show and a voice actor change can keep the man down, as he and the rest of the Brown-Tubbs family have relocated back to Family Guy.

Fictional City: For this category, we go back to American Dad and The Cleveland Show, which are set in Langley Falls and Stoolbend, respectively. Both places have their pros and cons, making it a tough choice if I had to pick one to live in. Langley Falls combines the communities of Langley and Great Falls, while Stoolbend was inspired by Richmond, where co-creator Mike Henry was raised.

Actor/Actress: ‘America’s Sweetheart’ Sandra Bullock was born in Arlington. She won a Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side and has also starred in movies such as Speed, Gravity and Ocean’s 8. Bullock is one of the most bankable stars in the industry, with films grossing over $5.3 billion worldwide. As a result, she is also one of the most powerful women in entertainment.

Cleveland Brown

Song: Virginia Moon by the Foo Fighters is an ode to the state where frontman Dave Grohl was raised and still lives, his basement converted to a recording studio. Singer and pianist Norah Jones joined the band for the track, thanks to her background in jazz and ability to mesh with Grohl. The song was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

Band/Musician: A tough category to narrow down, with options such as Ella Fitzgerald, Missy Elliott, Pharrell Williams, June Carter Cash, the Dave Matthews Band, Jason Mraz, and Wayne Newton. Fitzgerald gets the edge as a result of the walls she had to breakdown during her career, earning her nicknames such as the First Lady of Song and Queen of Jazz.

People: Political allies and friends George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were born in Popes Creek and Shadwell, respectively. Both were instrumental in separating from the British, with Washington would become the first President of the United States and Jefferson not far behind as the third President. Both men are carved into the Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Animal: Secretariat, one of the most popular and successful thoroughbred racehorses of all-time, was born in Virginia in 1970. Secretariat would go on to win the 1973 Triple Crown, setting speed records in each of the three races. Secretariat’s days as a stud produced daughters who would sire many notable champions. A 2010 Disney live action film about the horse was critically and financially successful.

George Washington

Invention: The Foil Electret Microphone, which is used in 90 percent of products, including telephones, video cameras, baby monitors, hearing aids and other devices, was invented by James Edward Maceo West. West, who was born in Farmville, holds many other patents related to microphones and is still going strong at age 89, developing a gadget to diagnose pneumonia in infants.

Crime: Virginia has been home to a number of mass murders, including the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the Virginia Tech massacre and the Virginia Beach shooting. The Pentagon attack killed 184 people (including 59 aboard the plane), while the shootings at Virginia Tech (the deadliest school shooting in the U.S.) and Virginia Beach resulted in 32 and 12 deaths, respectively.

Law: In Virginia, it is illegal to hunt wild animals on a Sunday, except for raccoons. I have no clue why they are so against the beloved trash panda.

Sports Team: Virginia has no professional teams, but the state has made a number of attempts to gain one, including a failed bid for an NHL expansion team and the unsuccessful relocation of MLB squads. For now, they settle for supporting nearby franchises, such as the Washington Football Team (NFL) and Washington Capitals (NHL), who have headquarters and practice facilities in the state, but play elsewhere.

Microphone

Athlete: Tennis player Arthur Ashe won three of the four Grand Slam tournaments over his career, the only black man to win each. Ashe’s career was marred with medical issues, including a heart attack at age 36 and later contracting HIV through blood transfusions. He died in 1993 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as having the US Open stadium named in his honour.

Famous Home: George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello can be found in Virginia and are among the nation’s most famous homes. Both are National Historic Landmarks, while Monticello is a United Nations World Heritage site. I’ve personally been to Monticello and can understand why the estate appeared on a 1956 postage stamp.

Urban Legend: The Bunny Man legend is about a man wearing a bunny costume and attacking people with an axe in Fairfax County. The tale is based on two reports, occurring 10 days apart, in October 1970, regarding a man threatening people for trespassing. Other sightings have occurred since and as the legend has grown, people now flock to the area, particularly near Halloween.

Museum: Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest living history museum, transporting visitors back in time to the period of the American Revolution. Williamsburg was once the capital of Virginia and is where much activity in gaining independence from the British took place, involving patriotic icons such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others.

Williamsburg

Firsts: Jamestown Settlement was the first permanent English settlement in North America, founded in 1607. 20 miles from Jamestown, the settlement of Berkeley Hundred is where the first Thanksgiving meal occurred in 1619 (two years before the Pilgrims held their own in Plymouth, Massachusetts). The first U.S. whiskey distillery was also established in Berkeley Hundred in 1621.

Company: Virginia is home to many federal government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). It is also the headquarters for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Five Guys, a favourite restaurant of the Sip Family.

Events: The surrenders ending both the American Revolution and Civil War each took place in Virginia. The Civil War, in particular, was largely fought in the state, with more than 2,000 military events and many major battles, as Richmond was the Confederate capital. A number of those battlefields have been preserved, although there have been efforts to remove Confederate monuments.

Miscellaneous: Another nickname for Virginia is Mother of Presidents. This is because eight U.S. Presidents were born in the state, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson. Also, six U.S. First Lady’s hail from Virginia.

Lover’s Cocktail

Lover's Cocktail

  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Limoncello
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Bubbly
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This drink is a reference to Virginia’s tourism slogan ‘Virginia is for lovers’, which has been in use since 1969. The campaign was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009 and listed by Forbes as one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all-time.

Flavour Revolution – Raspberry

Blowing a Raspberry

The Razzie Awards are like the anti-Oscars. They were invented by John J.B. Wilson in 1980, with the first ceremony being held in Wilson’s own living room. The trophy’s, which feature a golden raspberry on top of an 8mm film roll, have grown in popularity ever since. Here are some of the most-nominated Razzie Award contenders in Hollywood history:

Sylvester Stallone

It seems like everything Sly Stallone has ever done earned him some Razzie consideration, including his most famous characters in Rocky Balboa and John Rambo. Stallone even had the title “Worst Actor of the Decade” and later “Worst Actor of the Century” bestowed upon him, resulting from 32 nominations and 10 wins. “Yo Adrian, I did it!”

chiropractor-Stallone

Kevin Costner

Mr. Costner has survived a rollercoaster career, rife with many peaks and valleys. This has been highlighted by his two Oscars, three Golden Globes, and one Emmy, while contrasted by his many Razzie nominations and wins. We are talking about an actor who didn’t even bother trying to fake an English accent for his turn as the mythical Robin Hood.

Madonna

The Queen of Pop has earned the dubious distinction of being the Razzie’s All-Time Worst Actress, with 15 nominations and nine victories to her credit, thus far. At the top of that list, was the foundation’s “Worst Actress of the Century” prize. It should be noted however, that Madge has also picked up a Golden Globe for Evita. Maybe, for safety purposes, she should stick to music.

Eddie Murphy

The latter stages of Eddie Murphy’s career has not been nearly as kind to him, as the early triumphs he enjoyed. Films such as The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Norbit, Meet Dave, and A Thousand Words, cut into Murphy’s once immense popularity. At least he has a new Beverly Hills Cop sequel on the horizon. Perhaps that can put him back into the “Money in the Bank” classification.

eddie-murphy-prince

Sharon Stone

Clearly, sex doesn’t sell when it comes to the Razzie’s. For showing her most naughty bits in Basic Instinct, Stone received a nomination for “Worst New Star.” Most men appreciated her efforts, though. Perhaps worst of all, Stone was nominated, once again, a decade later for the same “Worst New Star” prize she had already won for the film Diabolique, as she tried to present a new side of her acting skills.

Adam Sandler

In one year alone (2011), Sandler accumulated 11 Razzie nominations, thanks to his work on Jack and Jill, Just Go With It, and Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star. Jack and Jill became the first movie to ever sweep the Razzie’s, winning 10 awards. Thanks to his dual role in the film, Sandler even picked up both the Worst Actor and Worst Actress honours, at the same time.

Flavour Revolution: Rose Royale

Rose Royale Martini

Some actors have even accepted their Razzie Award in person, beginning with Bill Cosby, for 1987’s Leonard, Part 6. Joining the controversial comedian in accepting this dubious honour are Tom Selleck, Tom Green, Ben Affleck, Halle Berry, and Sandra Bullock, among others.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I’ve never been the biggest fan of cream-based drinks, but this one wasn’t too bad. The tartness of the Raspberry Cream Liqueur was kind of nice and I made sure to use a finer Tequila, so as not to ruin the martini.

February 11 – Berried Treasure

Odd Couples

In today’s recipe, Crème de Cacao is combined with lemonade, which may seem like a strange pairing to some. It actually comes together deliciously like peanut butter and chocolate, wine and cheese, and Doritos and porn. The same can’t be said for these mismatched duos:

Flavor Flav & Brigitte Nielsen

What do you get when you throw two recovering addicts together, with the tease of their own reality show spinoff? True love, yo!!! And so we were treated to Strange Love, which chronicled the couple’s relationship, ending when Nielsen decided to return to her fiancé… wait, what!?! She was engaged during the entire charade.

Flav & Nielsen

Roger Ebert & Oprah Winfrey

Granted they only went on a couple of dates, before either one had become a household name, but their relationship just seems weird. Ebert did urge Oprah to take her local talk show into syndication, helping her become the high-power, influential brand she’s become since her early days with the movie critic. So now you know you have Ebert to thank for Oprah’s Book Club, among other things that at one time or another, have likely ruined every dude’s life.

Lance Armstrong & Ashley Olsen

One of them used performance enhancing drugs and the other likely should in order to beef up her gaunt, skeleton look. Fifteen-year age gap be damned. At least she’s not dating one of her former parental figures on Full House. Now that would be creepy.

Tom Green & Drew Barrymore

First, you have sweet, innocent Drew Barrymore (Playboy pictorial and history of addictions notwithstanding), member of the Barrymore Hollywood dynasty. Then, you have Canadian Tom Green, who somehow became a cult hit in the late 90’s/early 2000’s with his brand of off-the-wall prank humour. Somehow the crazy kids got together and it was even at a time in Barrymore’s life when she was sober.

Dennis Rodman & Madonna

Perhaps these two weren’t as mismatched as first thought. They’re both bizarre individuals with far-out personalities and they each like wearing coned bras and dresses while dyeing their hair a million different colours. They also have a knack for starring in movies, despite the fact they’re more famous for other professions (he of basketball and she of enormous sexual appetite).

Madonna & Rodman

Jesse James & Sandra Bullock

Why these two were ever together is an unexplainable mystery. The fact HE cheated on HER takes the absurdity level of the relationship to a whole ‘nutha level. When you look at the gremlin he cheated on her with, you’re left absolutely flummoxed (remember, I’m trying to bring this word back to the streets). What a scumbag! Plus, he’s not even related to legendary outlaw, Jesse James, as he’s always claimed.

Bert & Ernie

They’re just roommates… quit bugging them about the whole gay thing. Hell, Ernie’s closer to his rubber ducky than he is to Evil Bert.

Drink #42: Berried Treasure

Berried Treasure Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.5 oz Chambord
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with lemon wedge

Some say that Mr. and Mrs. Sip are an odd couple. What with her beauty, success and joie de vive. To those people I say, you’re right… but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
One disappointment with the drink was that the Lemonade mixer wasn’t fizzy, as I had expected it to be. The flavour was still okay, but a little zip would have helped score the cocktail higher.