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.

China – Flying Tiger

Zodiac Zenith

The Sip Advisor’s Chinese Zodiac animal is the pig and I’d like to think I’m more Babe: Pig in the City (you know, an inspiration) than anything else. Putting on my astrological reading glasses, here’s what your Chinese Zodiac sign says about you, according to some of the celebrities and historical figures who fall under them:

Rat – Antonio Banderas, Cameron Diaz

Regardless of gender, you have been seen as a sex symbol at some point in your career and life. Remember, every person has a type. It should also be noted that your voice talents may lend themselves to the adventures of an animated ogre and you may find yourself immersed in a world of fairy tales… of the fractured variety, of course.

Shrek Kitty

Ox – Adolf Hitler, Napoleon

You have serious issues with people of certain creeds and your militaristic side always shines through. Your thirst for land and power cannot be quenched and it seems like you have a chip on your shoulder for whatever reason. Some serious counselling should be pursued before you are added to the list of worst people EVER!

Tiger – Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood

You’re natural in front of a camera, but have your vices. You are pursued by numerous gentlemen callers and your beauty is undeniable. Sadly, you’re a starlet who will leave this world too soon and your death will be surrounded by mystique and intrigue. Conspiracy theories, debate and investigations abound, but the truth may never be known.

Rabbit – John Cleese, Robin Williams

You’re a comedian, sometimes manic, but always hilarious. You will go to extreme lengths to get a chuckle and while some of your humour may be hard to absorb, the effort with which you try to draw in an audience is always appreciated. In later years, you may calm a little and accept a different type of role, but the comedy always finds a way to shine through.

Dragon – John Lennon, Ringo Starr

Going out on a bit of a limb here, but are you possibly a Beatle? You will go on to revolutionize your industry and leave a lasting mark on the world. You work best with a group of like-minded talents, but even on your own, there is a catalogue of decent offerings. Your hard work will serve you well later as fans continue to thirst for anything to do with the group.

Real Music

Snake – John F. Kennedy, Dick Cheney

You thrive in a position of power and are not afraid to stick to your guns to get your way. You are cool under pressure and use your many contacts to ensure success in all your endeavours. Tread lightly though, as accidents seem to happen when you’re near firearms and one thing is for sure: You should avoid riding in convertibles at all costs.

Horse – Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant

You are a top athlete in your sport, but bad decisions can come back to haunt you. Perhaps you were given too much, too soon. It’s an awful lot of pressure to still be a teenager and have worldwide success and the fame that goes with that. Despite the negative hype, fans still love you and championships seem like a natural fit.

Goat – John Wayne, Robert De Niro

Your style is so infamous and distinguishable that you’ve become a parody of yourself as your career has entered its twilight. While many wish to remember you at your finest, you keep trucking along, piling up the credits and cash. Nothing wrong with that. Anyone in a similar position would do the same, riding into the sunset with a boatload of money.

Monkey – Leonardo Da Vinci, Julius Caesar

You appear in many history textbooks and have played a great role in shaping the world, although your impact may not be fully appreciated until later. Movies and TV series’ will be made in your honour, posthumously of course. That’s not to say you didn’t have a decent existence while you were living. Beware of turncoats… that will allow you to prosper longer.

monalisa_smile

Rooster – Beyonce, Britney Spears, P Diddy

All you want to do is sing and the term diva could apply. Diddy, I’m looking at you! Your talents may range and you enjoy dabbling in a number of different business ventures from record labels to fragrances to clothing lines. Yuck, I just found out that Yoko Ono is also a Rooster and that makes me disgusted with the whole lot of roosters… bunch of cocks!

Dog – Harry Houdini, Michael Jackson

You have a fascination with the mysteries of the universe and are considered… well, quirky, to put it nicely. You are worshipped by some, but trashed and disregarded by others. Either way, you will be remembered for your showmanship and talent. Who let the dogs out? You did… you did.

Pig – Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King

You prefer to explore the dark side of the human psyche. You are capable of causing people to fear everything from birds to clowns and may have even been offered the title ‘Master of Horror’. Apparently, you like to cameo in your own works when they are adapted for film and television… if that’s the case, I can’t wait for The Sip Advisor film to be shopped!

China: Flying Tiger

Apr 3

  • 1.5 oz Chu Yeh Ching Chiew
  • 0.5 oz Gin
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Although many of us believe we fall under one animal only, Chinese astrology assigns animals not only based of birth year, but also by month (inner animals), by day (true animals) and by hour (secret animals). This makes the Sip Advisor some sort of pig, rooster, rat/pig (Thursdays have two animals), dog hybrid. And here I was hoping to be the elusive man-bear-pig from South Park!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Thanks to this drink, I finally placed what Chiew reminds me of… Absinthe. It has those medicinal/herbal flavours and that can cause issues for some. Luckily, I like Absinthe and therefore had no problem with this cocktail. The one complaint I could throw its way is that it wasn’t fizzy and lacked a citrus taste that could have helped.