What’s Your Home State’s Signature Cocktail
America boasts an almost endless array of liquor, making the choice of one signature cocktail for each state a tricky task. But every state gets tipsy in its own special way, and we chose these cocktails with some semblance of logic: a combination of state of origin, popularity, and exclusivity. Not everyone will agree with all the choices, but hey, it’s all still booze. And booze is great. Cheers!
Drink: The Alabama Slammer (Amaretto, Southern Comfort, Sloe Gin, orange juice)
Why?: Legend has it that the drink originated in the state in the 1970’s and is known as the signature drink of The University of Alabama Crimson Tide
Drink: The Smoked Salmon Bloody Marry (Smoked Salmon Vodka, V-8 Juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce,sugar, salt & pepper)
Why?: Alaska Distillery has recently produced vodka made with a secret recipe of smoked salmon caught in the Gulf of Alaska.
Drink: The High and Dry (Mandarin Vodka, Triple Sec)
Why?: During the prohibition era, Phoenix featured a"secret bar" behind a bookshelf in the Arizona Biltmore, where “every self-respecting gentleman” had access to a decent highball
Drink: The Arkansas Razorback (Rum, Vodka, Amaretto Liqueur, Kahlua)
Why?: The popular cocktail shares its name with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. You can even buy cocktail glasses embellished with the Razorback mascot
Drink: The Mai Tai (Light Rum, Dark Rum, Lime juice, Orange juice, orgeat syrup)
Why?: This fruity beverage is said to have been created by Victor “Trader Vic” Buergon at his Polynesian-style restaurant in Oakland, California.
Drink: The Snowball (Vodka, Fresca, Lime juice)
Why?: The interesting combo of vodka and lemonade is also popular in the U.K., but this combo of Colorado Premium Vodka and Fresca makes this drink uniquely Coloradan
Drink: The Limonata (Vodka, Sparkling Lemonade, blood - orange juice)
Why?: Available exclusively at Ballo at the Mohegan Sun in Monteville, Connecticut, this drink features a sphere of frozen blood orange that adds sweet flavor to the cocktail as it melts.
Drink: Blueberry Vodka Tonic (Vodka, Blueberries and lots of Time
Why?: Unlike typical vodka tonics, Delaware’s blueberry version features a vodka infused with fresh blueberries for over a month.
Drink: The Rum Runner (Captain Morgan, blackberry liqueur, creme de bananes, orange juice)
Why?: Rum Runners are said to have been invented in the 1950’s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida.
Drink: The Scarlet O'Hara (Southern Comfort, cranberry juice, lime wheel)
Why?: There are several varieties to “The Scarlet O'Hara” but in Georgia, they typically feature Southern Comfort.
Drink: The Blue Hawaiian (Light Rum, Vodka, Blue curacao, Pineapple juice,sweet & sour mix)
Why?: This tropical cocktail was invented by Harry Yee, a legendary bartender at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.
Drink: Spring Whiskey Sling (Blended whiskey, Lime juice, sugar, water)
Why?: The Red Feather Lounge in Idaho features a famed Spring Whiskey Sling that was featured in the “Best of List” in The New York Times.
Drink: The Chicago Fizz (Dark rum, Ruby port, lemon juice, sugar, club soda, egg white)
Why?: While New Orleans is credited with the origination of the fizz, the Chicago variation’s claim to fame was its popularity at the Waldorf-Astoria bar in New York during the pre-prohibition era.
Drink: The Refined Janet Guthrie (Sweet Tea vodka, Refined Mixers margarita mix)
Why?: In honor of the Indy 500, this beverage was created to commemorate the first woman that qualified and drove in the race.
Drink: The Iowa Sunrise (Bacardi white rum, Vodka, Lemonade, Sprite, Orange juice, grenadine)
Why?: While similar to many cocktails in composition, the Iowa version is said to represent the beautiful sunrise over Iowa in winter mornings.
Drink: The Pendergast (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and Angostura bitters)
Why?: This cocktail is named for Thomas Pendergast, a Kansas City politician famed for his populist touch and connections with the Mafia during the Prohibition.
Drink: The Mint Julep (Bourbon, sugar, water)
Why?: The origins of the drink are murky, but the mint julep was introduced by US Senator Henry Clay during the 18th century.
Drink: The Sazerac (Rye Whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, sugar, absinthe)
Why?: In June 2008, the Louisiana Legislature proclaimed the Sazerac as New Orleans’ official cocktail.
Drink: Dust to Dust (Cold River Vodka, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, Aperol, ginger syrup)
Why?: The bar Grace, located in Portland, Maine, is famous for this unique ginger cocktail.
Drink: The Black-Eyed Susan (42 Below Vodka, Early Times Kentucky Whiskey, sweet & sour mix, and orange juice)
Why?: The cocktail, named after Maryland’s state flower, is the official drink of the Preakness Stakes.
Drink: Drink: The Cape Codder (Vodka and cranberry juice)
Why?: The drink was conceived by the Ocean Spray cranberry growers under the name “Red Devil,” which was later changed to “The Cape Codder” in the 1960’s.
Drink: Drink: The Golden Cadillac (Creme de cacao (white), Vodka, Galliano, blueberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice)
Why?: While the cocktail was created in California, it’s famed name (Cadillac, of the Motor City origin) and taste has made it a popular beverage in many bars in Michigan.
Drink: Drink: The Bootleg (Bootleg mix, gin, vodka/light rum, and club soda)
Why?: Bootleg cocktails are made specifically from Bootleg Mix, which can only be purchased from the Woodhill Country Club in Wayzata, Minnesota.
Drink: Drink: Mississippi Punch (Dark rum, bourbon, brandy/cognac, fresh lemon juice, and sugar)
Why?: This cocktail recipe was first printed in Jerry Thomas’ The Bon Vivant’s Companion, attributing its location in Mississippi.
Drink: The Missouri Mule (Bourbon, Applejack, lemon juice, Campari, and Cointreau)
Why?: The cocktail was created for President Harry S. Truman, with its name representing his home state of Missouri and the donkey mascot of the Democratic Party.
Drink: The Montana Tornado (Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey, gin, tequila, and 7 Up)
Why?: Unlike other tornados, the Montana Tornado features 7 Up instead of the commonly used Coca-Cola. The drink is also served in a mason jar instead of the typical cocktail glass.
Drink: The Kool-Aid Caddy (Orange vodka and Kool-Aid)
Why?: Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings, Neb, by Edwin Perkins. Naturally, the state boasts a beverage in his honor.
Drink: The Nevada Cocktail (Light rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sugar)
Why?: In honor of Nevada Day, which falls on the last Friday of October, many drink this cocktail to celebrate.
29. New Hampshire
Drink: The Gin-Esaisquoi (Lillet blanc, Velvet Falermum, egg whites, and orange bitters)
Why?: This drink was originated at the White Mountain Cider Company in Glen, NH by bartender Jeff Grdinich for his friend Kevin Ginestet, who, ironically, is allergic to eggs and does not drink alcohol.
30. New Jersey
Drink: The Applejack (Applejack brandy, lemon juice, and grenadine)
Why?: During the colonial period in New Jersey, the Applejack was used as currency to pay road construction crews. New Jersey also boasts the oldest licensed distillery, Laird & Company, which continues to produce applejack.
31. New Mexico
Drink: La Paloma (Tequila and grapefruit soda)
Why?: This cocktail was first recognized in Evan Harrison’s Popular Cocktails of the Rio Grande. Known as “The Dove” in Spanish, it’s origins are claimed to be somewhere along the Rio Grande.
32. New York
Drink: The Moscow Mule (Vodka, lime juice, ginger beer)
Why?: The cocktail is said to have been invented in 1941 by John G. Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc., an East Coast spirit producer and Jack Morgan, President of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products.
33. North Carolina
Drink: Dirty Beetz (Vodka, beet juice, lime juice, and orange juice)
Why?: The Fiction KItchen, a local Raleigh haunt, features this cocktail. Created by Christopher Tamplin, the use of beets creates a vibrantly colored cocktail when garnished with a lime and orange peel.
34. North Dakota
Drink: The Howlin’ Wolf (White Creme de Menthe, blue curacao, vodka, and Sprite)
Why?: It’s no surprise that this drink is named after North Dakota’s state animal, the coyote (AKA prairie wolf).
Drink: The Black Gold (Captain Morgans, Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila, Sierra Mist, and Grenadine)
Why?: The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes have specialty cocktails, naturally the folks in Thistledown wanted to create a drink to represent the Ohio Derby. The Black Gold is named after the only horse to win both the Kentucky Derby and the Ohio Derby.
Drink: The Farmer’s Daughter (Vodka, fresh strawberries, basil leaves, and simple sugar)
Why?: Lobby Bar, located in Oklahoma City, specializes in maintaining the tried-and-true nature of cocktails while adding an individual twist, crafting each individually with added, natural ingredients. Each of their Farmer’s Daughter cocktails is made with fresh fruit.
Drink: Flaming Ring of Fire (High proof rum, whiskey, and tabasco sauce)
Why?: Named after Oregon’s location in “The Pacific Ring of Fire ”, this shot turns up the heat with added Tabasco sauce.
Drink: The Bronx (Gin, Sweet red vermouth, dry vermouth, and orange juice)
Why?: Strangely, this cocktail was created by Joseph S. Sormani in Philadelphia, a retired Bronx restauranteur.
39. Rhode Island
Drink: Rhode Island Red (Partida Blanco tequila, chambord, lemon juice, agave nectar, orange bitters, and ginger beer)
Why?: While hailing from California, this drink was created to salute the 350th anniversary of Rhode Island’s reception of a Colonial Charter.
40. South Carolina
Drink: The Hemingway Mojito (Bacardi, sunset-red Italian Campari, muddled mint & grapefruit, soda water, and grapefruit juice)
Why?: Amen Street’s, located in Charleston, mixologists created a cocktail to match the colorful like of Ernest Hemingway. The drink boasts beautiful colors to reflect Hemingway’s love for Key West’s sunsets.
41. South Dakota
Drink: The President (Light rum, grenadine, and orange juice)
Why?: Over 2 million people visit South Dakota annually to visit this befitting cocktail’s dedication, the Presidents of Mount Rushmore.
Drink: Lynchburg Lemonade (Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Triple sec, sweet & sour, and Sprite)
Why?: This famous cocktail got its name from the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Alabama restauranteur Tony Mason brought JD to court, alleging that the distillery stole his recipe, but a judge declined his request for $13 million in damages.
Drink: The Mexican Martini (Tequila, Cointreau orange liqueur, sweet & sour mix, lime juice, orange juice, and Sprite)
Why?: This cocktail variation of a margarita is served straight up in a cocktail glass and can be served extra spicy. This drink was created and continues to be incredibly popular in Austin, TX.
Drink: The Mountain Derby (Woodford Reserve, grapefruit juice, honey, and lemon juice)
Why?: This interesting cocktail was created by Dave Wallace and beat out other cocktails in a competition held in Park City, UT. As a result, his concoction is now featured on drink menus at bars and restaurants all over the city for six months.
Drink: The Old Vermont (Gin, maple syrup, lemon juice, orange juice, and bitters)
Why?: For a true version of an Old Vermont, a bartender needs to use Barr Hill Gin from Vermont.
Drink: The Copper Barley (Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water)
Why?: The Copper Barley is a cocktail that uses malt exclusively from the Virginia Highland Malt distillery.
Drink: The Washington Apple (Vodka, Sour Apple Schnapps, and apple juice)
Why?: This can be served as a martini, a shooter, or on the rocks, but its main ingredient is Washington apples from, well, Washington.
48. West Virginia
Drink: The Persephone (Bourbon, whiskey, triple sec, lemon juice, and egg whites)
Why?: This holiday inspired, champagne-based cocktail was featured in the West Virginia Gazette by its style team.
Drink: The Tom and Jerry (Rum/brandy/whiskey, egg whites, vanilla extract, sugar, nutmeg, and powdered milk)
Why?: This Christmastime cocktail was originally created by journalist Pierce Egan in the 1820s, but continues to be most popular in Wisconsin.
Drink: The Boiler Maker (Light draft beer and whiskey)
Why?: Similar to Old Faithful in Wyoming, The Boiler Maker is a geyser of sorts. To consume this cocktail, you first have to drop the shot of whiskey into the beer, then down the entire thing in one gulp.
Bonus: Washington D.C.
Drink: The Rickey (Gin, lime juice, and carbonated water)
Why?: While the drink was created in the 1880’s, the drink maintains its popularity as one of the most popular gin cocktails in the area and even has a virgin version called the “lime rickey”.