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’re in the Show Me State, which sounds titillating, but doesn’t mean what most think. Missouri is also the Gateway to the West, so westward we go:
Motto: “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law” – This is one slogan I can get down with.
Food: Who doesn’t like an Ice Cream Cone? This ice cream delivery device was made famous when at the 1904 World’s Fair, in St. Louis, an ice cream vendor ran out of cups and bought some waffles from a neighbouring stall, rolling them up to act as a cone. In 2008, Ice Cream Cones were named Missouri’s State Dessert.
Drink: Another product popularized at the 1904 World’s Fair, was Iced Tea. Richard Blechynden, a tea plantation owner and merchant, served it up to fairgoers looking to beat the heat. Also, 7 Up was invented by Missourian, Charles Leiper Grigg, in 1929. Originally named Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda, the drink was rebranded 7 Up Lithiated Lemon Soda, before simply 7 Up.
Site to See: The Gateway Arch, in St. Louis, is the tallest man-made national monument in the country. Standing 630 feet tall, it is also the tallest arch in the world. It is named for being viewed as the “gateway to the west,” installed to mark America’s westward expansion.
Street: With western expansion, three famous routes all had their starts in western Missouri: the Pony Express mail service and both the Oregon Trail and Santa Fe Trail. All three can still be travelled today, for those wanting to get a glimpse of the past, while enjoying modern comforts.
TV Show: Crime drama Ozark, starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, is about a family forced to move to the city of Osage Beach, when a Mexican drug cartel money laundering scheme goes awry. There, they set up another operation and have to deal with Missouri crime families. The series has produced three seasons and 30 episodes, while receiving a number of Emmy Award nominations.
Movie: As much as I want to select Road House here, I will go with Gone Girl, thanks to being an overall good movie and for having a very good twist in its story. Based on a book by Missourian, Gillian Flynn, this psychological thriller keeps viewers guessing as to how things will play out. The film made numerous top 10 lists for 2014 and there is potential for a sequel.
Book/Author: Mark Twain was born in Missouri, with his most famous works set in the state and based on his life. This includes the adventures of characters such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Twain is recognized as one of the country’s most notable writers, even being called “the father of American literature.”
Fictional Character: Star-Lord (aka Peter Quill), leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, is originally from Missouri (at least in the movie universe)… until he is abducted by a space ship, becoming a intergalactic mercenary and scavenger. Star-Lord is an unlikely hero, along with the rest of the Guardians, but he gets the job done, to his own beat, thanks to mixed tapes left to him by his mom.
Fictional City: St. Petersburg is the setting for the stories of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. It was inspired by Hannibal, where Mark Twain was raised. Hannibal has taken advantage of this connection, marking many spots around the city, including the Mark Twain Cave and Huck Finn Freedom Center. They also celebrate Tom Sawyer Days, with contests and fireworks.
Actor/Actress: A few favourites of mine hail from Missouri, including Dick Van Dyke, John Goodman and Jon Hamm. Comedy legend, Van Dyke, from West Plains, is still going strong at the age of 94. Goodman, born in Affton, is best known from TV show Roseanne, but has also appeared in many movies. St. Louis’s own, Hamm, took a while to grow on me, as I wasn’t a fan of Mad Men; however, I now love him in most of his roles.
Song: Missouri Waltz was made the State Song of Missouri, in 1949. It has been performed by legends such as Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Perry Como, and Johnny Cash. Published in 1914, the tune gained popularity when Missourian, Harry Truman, served as president from 1945 to 1953, despite Truman greatly disliking the song.
Band/Musician: Rock and roll pioneer, Chuck Berry, was born in St. Louis. Nicknamed the ‘Father of Rock and Roll,’ Berry’s best known songs include Roll Over Beethoven and Johnny B. Goode. Fellow musician, Sheryl Crow, is also from the state. Tracks like If It Makes You Happy and Everyday Is a Winding Road, made Crow a household name in the late 1990’s.
People: Legendary outlaw, Jesse James, was born in Kearney. He became a Robin Hood-esque celebrity criminal following the Civil War, robbing banks, trains and stagecoaches, throughout the Midwest. James also died in Missouri, as the $10,000 bounty on his head was collected by a member of his own gang.
Animal: The world famous Budweiser Clydesdales, introduced in 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition, are born and bred in Boonville. The horses are trained at Grant’s Farm, near St. Louis, which was formerly the Busch family estate. The Clydesdales are best known for their appearances in company ads, particularly for the Super Bowl.
Invention: The term “the greatest thing since sliced bread” is used to describe landmark creations. Well, how about the original? Sliced bread was made possible by Otto Frederick Rohwedder and first used by Missouri’s Chillicothe Baking Company. A local newspaper described the advancement as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.”
Crime: Missouri has a number of “massacres” in its history books. These include the Haun’s Hill Massacre, where a Mormon settlement was attacked, resulting in the bloodiest event of the 1838 Mormon War, and the Civil War-era Palmyra Massacre and Centralia Massacre, which saw the execution of Confederate prisoners of war at the former and slaughter of unarmed Union soldiers at the latter.
Law: Missouri lawmakers seem particularly concerned with yard sales. In Jefferson County, these events can only happen between 7am and 8pm and can’t last more than three days. There goes the idea of a week-long garage sale rager. Also, in University City, yard sales can’t occur on front yards… but isn’t that safer than the alternative?
Sports Team: Missouri has four professional teams, split between the cities of Kansas City – Chiefs (NFL), Royals (MLB) – and St. Louis – Blues (NHL), Cardinals (MLB). The state has also lost a number of franchises from each of the Big 4 leagues: Kansas City Athletics and St. Louis Browns (MLB), Kansas City Scouts (NHL), Kansas City Kings and St. Louis Hawks (NBA), and St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Rams (NFL).
Athlete: Yogi Berra was a baseball legend, both on the field and in the dugout. An 18-time All-Star selection and 13-time World Series champion (10 as a player), Berra was one of the most decorated players in the sports history. His ‘Yogi-isms’ include verbal gems like: “90 percent of baseball is mental; the other half is physical.” and “You can observe a lot by watching.”
Famous Home: The Jesse James Home, in St. Joseph, is where the outlaw was assassinated by Robert Ford. Following the killing of James, people flocked to the home, trying to see the body and get their hands on memorabilia. The actual bullet hole from the round that killed James can be seen when visiting the site.
Urban Legend: Lemp Mansion, in St. Louis, is said to be haunted by members of the Lemp family, three of which committed suicide in the home. The family’s money came from the brewing industry, as Lemp Beer was the first to spread nationally; however, the company shut down due to Prohibition. Today, the mansion is a restaurant and inn, with tours available and even a murder mystery dinner theatre.
Museum: The Titanic Museum Attraction, in Branson, spared no expense with its presentation. Set within a Titanic replica, guests enter through a fabricated iceberg and are given a boarding ticket, complete with the name of an actual passenger (some who survived and others that didn’t). There is a similar museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with both complexes owned by John Joslyn, leader of a 1987 expedition to the vessel’s resting place.
Firsts: Missouri was the first state the erect a national monument dedicated to a non-president, as well as an African-American. The George Washington Carver National Monument can be found in Diamond, where Carver was raised. It honours his many contributions, particularly in the field of agricultural science.
Company: Anheuser-Busch InBev’s North American headquarters are located in St. Louis. The conglomerate is the largest brewing operation in the world. Budweiser, one of its many subsidiaries, also has a strong foothold in the city, with a brewery that offers tours. The St. Louis location is Budweiser’s oldest and largest facility. There’s also a Biergarten for folks to whet their whistle or try some brew-infused food.
Events: 1904 was a big year for Missouri. They hosted both the World’s Fair and the Summer Olympics (first Olympics on American soil), simultaneously. As a result, the Olympics lasted over four months, with one event taking place each day. The games were beset by issues, including St. Louis stealing the games from winning bidder, Chicago, and only 62 of the 651 athletes coming from outside North America.
Miscellaneous: Another nickname for Missouri, is the Cave State, as it has over 6,000 known caverns. Some of the more popular dwellings, include Bridal Cave, which hosts marriage ceremonies, and one in Richland, where the Cave Restaurant (the country’s only eatery inside a cavern) can be found.
- 3 oz Dark Rum
- Splash of Lime Juice
- Top with Club Soda
- Dash of Simple Syrup
- Dash of Grenadine
- Dash of Angostura Bitters
- Garnish with a Mint Sprig
The Planter’s Punch was created by the ‘Father of American Mixology,’ Jerry Thomas, while working at the Planter’s Hotel, in St. Louis. I like rum-heavy drinks, so this was well-received by the Sip Advisor. Be careful, though, after a couple of these, you’ll be floating as high as the Gateway Arch.