Oregon – Sloe Gin Fizz

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 visit Oregon, the…*checks notes*… um, Beaver State, where we will fully explore every nook and cranny and penetrate to the core of this amazing place. Things might get a little messy, so let’s put on our protective gear and get to it:

Motto: “She flies with her own wings” – She sounds kind of sexy!

Food: Tater Tots were created by Ore-Ida founders, the Grigg brothers, when they sought to do something with leftover potato slivers. Apparently, sales of Tater Tots only improved once the price was raised, giving the product value. A few other notable food manufacturing companies are also based in Oregon, including Voodoo Doughnuts, Tillamook Cheese and Kettle Brand Potato Chips.

Drink: Oregon is a drinker’s haven, with countless craft breweries (over 200, with Boneyard, Deschutes, Rogue and Breakside among my favourites from the state) and also the Willamette Valley Wine Region (aka Oregon Wine Country). Oregon is home to over 700 wineries. The Portland Beer and Wine Festival became a staple of Sip Family Easter long weekends for a few years before the event was discontinued.

Tater Tot

Site to See: Nestled in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains is Crater Lake National Park. Visitors can circuit the lake on the Rim Drive or explore one of the many trails in the area. Some other spectacular landscapes in the state include the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, Silver Falls State Park, Hells Canyon, Oregon Dunes, and Oregon Caves National Monument.

Street: The Coast Highway 101 (aka U.S. Route 101) stretches from Washington, through Oregon, to California. Along the Oregon portion of the highway, the Pacific Ocean can be seen through almost the entire state, with only a few stretches taking drivers inland. It is also the main street in a number of Oregon’s coastal towns, sometimes causing traffic issues.

TV Show: While the show has gone to great lengths to protect its setting, the consensus is that The Simpsons takes place in Oregon. This theory comes largely from creator Matt Groening being an Oregonian and taking many aspects of the series from his early life in Portland. The show is the longest running American sitcom, airing 684 episodes over 31 seasons.

Movie: Tough choice here. I’ll have to go with childhood favourite, Short Circuit. Starring Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy, this film sees a robot (Johnny 5) become sentient and befriend those it meets. As the company who made the robot tries to get it back, Johnny 5’s new friends do what they can to protect it. Honourable mentions include Stand by Me, The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop.

Short Circuit

Book/Author: Beverly Cleary, born in McMinnville, is best known for The Ramona Collection children’s novels, featuring young troublemaker Ramona Quimby. The eight-book series is set in Portland, following the adventures of Ramona and her family and friends. Cleary won a National Book Award in 1981 for Ramona and Her Mother, the fifth book in the anthology.

Fictional Character: The extensive cast of characters from The Simpson has to highlight this category. While Homer Simpson is often cited as one of the greatest TV characters of all-time, other characters, such as Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Krusty the Clown, Principal Skinner, Chief Wiggum, and many others have entertained fans for over 30 years.

Fictional City: A number of projects have been set in invented Oregon locales. These include White Pine Bay (Bates Motel), Elk Cove (Overboard), Gravity Falls, Eureka, and Wayoutatown (Angry Beavers). It’s interesting that both Gravity Falls and Eureka center around mysterious towns. Add to that, Bates Motel is a Psycho prequel and one might be hesitant to visit Oregon.

Actor/Actress: Ty Burrell, of Modern Family fame, was born in Grants Pass. His work on Modern Family resulted in eight straight Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy nominations and two wins. Burrell has also appeared in movies such as Muppets Most Wanted, along with voicing characters in Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Finding Dory.

Homer Simpson

Song: Live Long in Oregon was originally written and performed by folk singer-songwriter Laura Gibson for the Cover Oregon Campaign, as part of the Affordable Health Care Act. Gibson was born in Coquille and her love for her home state is evident in lines like “I’ll sing for the place my heart has called home/Where the salt meets the air, meets the cold mountain snow.”

Band/Musician: The Kingsmen, best known for the rock classic, Louie Louie, were formed in Portland, in the early 1960’s. While Louie Louie peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart, the song has remained popular to this day. Part of the song’s notoriety came from it being banned in some places, due to supposed offensive lyrics.

People: The previously mentioned Matt Groening not only created The Simpsons, but has also been at the helm of animated comedies Futurama and Disenchantment. As a result of his career in TV, Groening has won 13 Emmy Awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Returning to his roots, Groening appeared as himself in a 2015 episode of Portlandia.

Animal: Bobbie the Wonder Dog became a national sensation in 1924, when he found his way home to Silverton, after going missing while his family was visiting relatives in Wolcott, Indiana. Bobbie’s journey spanned an incredible 3,000 miles and took six months to complete. Bobbie is remembered each year with the Silverton children’s pet parade.

Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Invention: Without one Oregon creation, the work I do would not be possible. The computer mouse was developed by Douglas Engelbart, of Portland. Sadly, Engelbart never received any royalties for his creation, with the patent being filed by SRI International, where he worked. Engelbart also helped with advancements in hypertext, networked computers and the internet.

Crime: The 1971 highjacking of a plane between Portland and Seattle, by the mysterious D.B. Cooper, has fascinated folks since it occurred. When the $200,000 ransom was paid, Cooper released the plane’s passengers and had the pilots return to the air, where he jumped into the Washington wilderness. While it’s believed Cooper didn’t survive the jump, his remains were never found and only a portion of the money was ever recovered.

Law: In Oregon, weddings on ice rinks are prohibited. Could this be the result of state shame regarding disgraced Portland-born figure skater Tonya Harding?

Sports Team: The Portland Trailblazers (NBA) are the state’s only Big 4 professional team, but the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer also enjoy a rabid fan base. As for college athletics, the University of Oregon Ducks and Oregon State University Beavers are the talk of the state, with their rivalry known as the Civil War, which dates all the way back to 1894.

DB Cooper

Athlete: It’s one thing to be a dual-sport athlete, but try mastering 10 different disciplines. Ashton Eaton may not be a household name, but the two-time Olympic gold medalist (London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016) in the decathlon not only won those events, but broke world records while doing so. Eaton, born in Portland, is now retired from competition.

Famous Home: The home of the Walsh family, from the beloved 1985 movie, The Goonies, can be found in Astoria. Dubbed the Goonies House, the home’s current owner (since 2001) originally welcomed fans of the film visiting the site, but eventually grew tired of them, due to disrespectful behaviour from a minority. Much of the home is now covered by blue tarp and visitors are discouraged to be there.

Urban Legend: The Shanghai Tunnels (aka Old Portland Underground) are located underneath the Old Town and Chinatown areas of the city. The tunnels were used for close to 100 years, for such illicit activity as human trafficking and are said to be haunted by those who lost their lives in the secret passages. Tours are available, but may come with disembodied voices talking and screaming.

Museum: The Historic Carousel & Museum, in Albany, houses one of the world’s largest collections of carved and painted animal carousel pieces. Much of the work on display was done by the Dentzel family, the first makers of carousels in the U.S. Admission and tours are free, while riding the carousel will only set you back $2.

Carousel

Firsts: Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday (at least for federal workers), when they did so in 1887. They were joined shortly thereafter by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. What is now celebrated on the first Monday of each September, was originally set for the first Saturday of every June.

Company: Global sportswear giant Nike, is headquartered in Beaverton. It’s the world’s largest retailer of athletic shoes and apparel. Nike is known for their ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign and endorsement of top athletes, such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. The company’s iconic swoosh logo was designed by a Portland graphic design student, who was paid a mere $35, although she was later gifted stock in the company.

Events: From the mid 1830’s to the late 1860’s, the Oregon Trail was used by settlers searching for greener pastures in the Pacific Northwest. An estimated 400,000 people used the route before it was superseded by the First Transcontinental Railroad. The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, in Baker City, documents the expeditions these travellers made.

Miscellaneous: There have been a number of separation attempts made in Oregon. These include the State of Jefferson (joining of southern Oregon and northern California) and Cascadia (western region independence from the state). There’s also the 1975 Ernest Callenbach novel Ecotopia, which discussed a merging of Washington, Oregon and northern California.

Sloe Gin Fizz

Sloe Gin Fizz

  • 1.5 oz Sloe Gin
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

In Loretta Lynn’s song, Portland, Oregon, the Sloe Gin Fizz cocktail is mentioned. Therefore, the city and state adopted the drink as their own. The lyrics go: “Well, Portland Oregon and sloe gin fizz/If that ain’t love, then tell me what is, uh huh, uh huh.” This was first experimentation with Sloe Gin and I look forward to more dabbling in the future.

May 3 – The Terminator

Robot Rage

I’m curious as to when in my lifetime the world will first enjoy a wave of robots completing much of our daily routines for us before they rebel against their human overlords and annihilate us from the planet. It is within these hopes and fears that we look at the Top 5 robots in history:

#5: AutoBots – Transformers

Take your pick, but my favourites include Bumble Bee, Optimus Prime, and the DinoBots. This wicked cartoon, which launched a line of even cooler toys, introduced the world to a fight over energon cubes that still exists today. And they always said knowledge was power… quite clearly, it is in fact energy. I even respected some of the baddies (Decepticons) in this franchise, although Star Scream’s voice still pisses me off to this day.

Transformers Work

#4: Rosie – The Jetsons

The sassy robotic maid that many youngsters grew up on, dreaming of the day when they’d have their own animatronic hired help. That future is still ways away and you could probably blame The Jetsons for giving false hope to an entire generation. I feel Rosie screwed up too much to keep her job, so she must have had something incriminating on George, the man of the house. Either that, or they were boinking behind Jane’s back!

#3: WALL-E – WALL-E

While WALL-E (an acronym for Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth-Class) is only capable of saying his own name, it’s very easy to fall in love with the little android, as he searches for fellow automaton EVE, who he has fallen in love with. Due to the popularity of the character and movie, real WALL-E robots have been designed and manufactured, including one which can be seen roving the Disneyland theme park. There’s an autograph I’d love to have!

Wall-E

#2: Johnny 5 – Short Circuit

This loveable piece of machinery went from a section of the manufacturing assembly line to becoming a sentient being, who loves to learn and needs to consume constant stimuli. While I agree with his stance on TV, movies, and even music, his enjoyment of books is something I don’t share. Still, I hold no ill-will towards the robot. Johnny 5 even out-acted Steve Guttenberg, which is no small feat.

#1: Bender Bending Rodriguez – Futurama

This chain-smoking, drink-guzzling hunk of metal uses his gruff exterior to hide… well, an even gruffer inside, really. Bender is always looking for a get-rich-quick scheme and will stop at nothing to achieve his debaucherous desires. Throughout the Planet Express adventures, we also met androids like Santa Claus (an evil gift-giver, of course), the robot devil, Calculon, Kwanzaa-Bot, Flexo, and the Epsilon Rho Rho fraternity.

Super Saturday Shot Day: The Terminator

The Terminator Shot

  • 0.5 oz Yukon Jack Perma Frost
  • 0.5 oz Sambuca
  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister Spice
  • Garnish with Gummy Eye Candy

Some honourable mentions should be handed out to the likes of Kevin, Screech’s robot servant on Saved by the Bell, as well as the Fembots from Austin Powers… I’d let those ladies do whatever they wanted with me!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
While neither the T-800, T-1000, or Terminatrix (she could tie me down anyday!) managed to make this list’s cut, I did find a way to include the robot as today’s shot of choice. For garnish, I even found a Gummy Eye Candy from Halloween that worked with the theme of robots. I added a little Jagermeister Spice to the recipe to liven things up and the whole concoction was so good, I made it twice!

February 8 – Cryonic Shock

Science Fact

There are some crazy ideas out there in sci-fi land. Some are so far-fetched that only the imagination could ever dream them up. Regardless of their practical application, here are the top five items I wish actually existed:

#5: Teleporters

How great would it be to instantly zap yourself from work to home, avoiding a tiresome and frustrating commute? How about being able to travel around the world in a flash… and not have to be a mutant to do so? Hell, even Urkel had one of these bad boys! I think the best use of a teleporter would be to pop in and out of people’s room, Monsters Inc.-style and scare the bejesus out of unsuspecting folk. Paranormal Sip Activity, yo!

teleport machine

#4: Cryonics

Let me set this up for you with a scenario we’ve all had loom before us in our future. Your significant other wants you to attend some show you have absolutely no interest in. And hey, this door swings both ways. While I’ve been dragged to plays and musicals before, I’ve also done the dragging, taking Mrs. Sip to the odd wrestling show or football game. The solution? Freeze yourself right through to the day following the event you need to avoid and voila, you’re safe and sound!

#3: Space Vehicles

Ranging from hovercrafts to light speed travel pods, I can’t wait for the days when traffic not only doesn’t limit me, but can no longer get me killed. I’d like to think of myself as a good driver, but there are so many bad ones out there. How nice would it be to leave out all the guesswork and even the playing field. Or, better yet, be able to take to the skies and zoom past the horrible motorists… although air transportation would surely provide its own slate of concerns.

Jetsons-science

#2: Death Rays

I wouldn’t say that I’m a violent person, but put one of these babies in my hands and goodbye homeless population! What’s that? You want my hard earned money so you can waste it on booze… wait, I’m all for that noble cause and that is where the cash is going anyway… where was I, oh right, ZAP! Goodbye panhandler, my money is mine to waste on jelly beans and race horses.

#1: Robots

Providing they don’t rise up and try to take over the world, having robots at our beck and call to do every single daunting task we don’t want to do would be amazing. We’re getting there, what with our Roomba vacuums and assembly lines. Best of all, you could have your pick of famous robots from Rosie of The Jetson’s fame to Bender Rodriguez from Futurama. I’d probably settle on Short Circuit’s Johnny-5 thanks to his mix of heart, intelligence, humour, and love of Steve Guttenberg.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Cryonic Shock

Cryonic Shock Shooter

  • Rim glass with Sugar
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.5 oz Ouzo
  • 0.25 Brandy
  • 0.25 White Rum
  • Splash Sweet & Sour Mix

Which science fiction creations would you love to see in the real world? How would you best use them to your advantage? What do you hope never sees the light of day? I eagerly await your thought-provoking responses!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I adapted the cocktail version of this recipe to turn it into a shooter. Despite the wide array of ingredients, I liked this shot. You never know how the licorice-flavoured spirits will behave when combined with other ingredients, but in this case, I feel the Ouzo enhanced the shot, rather than making it suffer as a result of its inclusion. The Sugar Rim, which I created with candy powder was also a nice sour bonus to go along with the sweet liquid.