50 Shots of America–Iowa



One day shy of a year after the admission of Texas via treaty, Iowa becomes the 29th state on December 28, 1846.

Though considered mainly agricultural (it is in the midst of the Corn Belt, after all), manufacturing makes up the greater part of industry in the state with food production being the largest portion of that–General Mills, ConAgra, Heinz, Hostess, Quaker Oats and Blue Bunny (just to name a few) are all headquartered in the Hawkeye State.

But if agriculture isn’t their main focus, what do they do with all that corn? Iowa happens to be the national leader in ethanol production and a strong proponent of renewable energy sources, be it in sustainable fuels or wind energy. Which is where our drink-of-the-week inspirations comes from.


1 oz Whiskey (Jack Daniels or Jim Bean, we’re going for the corn-liquor, here)
1 oz Honey
Caffeinated Soda

Combine the whiskey and honey over ice and shake like your settling a border dispute. Strain into a chilled cordial or tall shot glass and top with the ice-cold caffeinated soda of your choice. Swig it down and get ready to forge ahead and accomplish things!

You may recall that Iowa was on the other side of that border dispute known as the Honey Wars with Missouri. If not, it’s okay, I forgive you, and Iowa probably would, too. Iowans tend to be front runners in a lot of things–civil rights, women’s lib, renewable resources… it’s not a bad trait, you know? And, if (like me) you can’t have caffeine, substitute as necessary and call it Unleaded 😉

One last thing: the state is also home to Electrolux/Frigidaire who, along with Kelly Ripa, are raising awareness and funds to support ovarian cancer research through their Ultimate Banana Split campaign. Head over to Kelly Confidential to create your ultimate banana split by September 7, 2010. $1 for every submitted split will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.


Cocktails for a Cure badge

Cocktails for a Cure

And speaking of good deeds! Just a reminder that I’m participating once again in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and, like last year, offering a couple incentives to my supporters. There’s this years print of a cocktail created in support of the walk plus I’m donating 22% of all Character Cocktails ordered by October 15, 2010, to the cause (and you get the print, too). More information can be found on my Cocktails for a Cure page.

50 Shots of America–Tennessee


The 16th state of the Union, Tennessee is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

Well, wait, maybe it’s a lot of each as both musical genres found their feet with Nashville holding court at the Grand Ole Opry and Elvis recording his music in Memphis. Which makes their choice of the mockingbird as a state symbol entirely fitting.

Not that it’s been all song and dance for the Volunteer State (a nickname earned during the Way of 1812), it’s seem it’s share of downs as well as ups. In response to the end of the Civil War, the original Ku Klux Klan was formed in Pulaski in 1866 and copied throughout the South. In the 1940s this state was the site of the Manhattan Project’s uranium enrichment programs as well as the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King.

Of course, the planned community, Oak Ridge, built around the atomic bomb research is now known as the Energy Capital of the World thanks to the efforts of the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) before and the continued energy research after. And the site of Mr King’s death is now the National Civil Rights Museum, preserving a crucial–if incredibly tragic–part of our history.

Now, if you walked into this cocktail blog post about Tennessee and didn’t immediately think Jack Daniel’s, shame on you. Of course this week’s cocktail is going to have a Tennessee Whiskey base! The rest, though…

‘Nanner Puddin’

1/2 oz Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
1 oz Banana Schnapps*
3/4 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk

Combine over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake to a chorus of “Jailhouse Rock” (hip gyrations optional but encouraged) and strain into a chilled cordial glass.

Skip the pretzels and serve this one with a side of Nilla Wafers and you’re good to go!

Obviously the banana flavor is in deference to another King, Elvis Presley, and his fondness for peanut butter-banana sandwiches and banana pudding.

*We used 99 Bananas which is bottled just over the border in Kentucky.