I’m unsure if there is anyone out there who doesn’t love alcohol, even if it’s the occasional beer or nightly glass of wine. So, in celebration of this country’s patriotism (toward alcohol), we have rounded up the signature cocktails for every state… including Washington DC.
We based this list on popularity, relevance and origin of each cocktail. Grab a drink – preferably one with high alcohol content – and see which cocktail best represents your home state. And once you try every cocktail, be sure to visit the most unique bars in every major city. Cheers!
The Tuscaloosa bar, Gallette’s, sells 4,000-5,000 Yellowhammers at every University of Alabama home game… That’s when you know it’s good. The Yellowhammer is Gallette’s trademark beverage. Essentially, if you live in Alabama, you’ve been to a University of Alabama game and have indulged in the beloved (and strong) Yellowhammer.
Alaska: Duck Fart
Serious question: Does this shot taste better than it sounds? I sure as hell hope so, ’cause Alaskans go crazy for this layered shot of Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Crown Royal whiskey. They claim that the “flavors mesh so well together.” I’ll just take their word for it.
Arizona: Tequila Sunrise
The OG tequila sunrise originated in Arizona in the 1930’s as a mix of tequila, crème de cassis, lime juice and soda water. The modern (and more deadly) version of tequila, orange juice and grenadine came later from young bartenders in California. So, like, that’s irrelevant and Arizona drinks more tequila sunrises anyways.
For all those kids out there that go to NAU, I’m jealous of Tequila Sunrise. If you don’t know, downtown Flagstaff’s bars kick off the university’s homecoming festivities with a (read: many) glasses of this classic Arizona drink. Now ya know.
Arkansas: Arkansas Razorback
Woo Pig Sooie! This cocktail consists of fresh raspberries, fruit punch and turbinado sugar, and is the perfect way to celebrate the Razorbacks. If you drink enough of them, they will keep you warm during those chilly winter tailgates.
California: Napa Valley Wine
All trendy drinks aside, it can’t be denied that California will forever be known for their wineries up north. These grapes create some of the best wine in the world, and you are insane if you are from California and have never been to Napa.
Californian’s do what they can for a bottle of wine from Napa, even if it’s 15 dollars and sold at Costco. End of story.
Colorado: Colorado Bulldog
The difference between a Colorado Bulldog and a White Russian, you ask? The Bulldog is bubbly… Just like the peeps from Colorado.
It is claimed that the name of this beloved drink was derived from Peanuts, an English bulldog and the original Colorado State University mascot. This was before they became the Aggie Rams. We owe you one, CSU.
Connecticut: Dark ’N Stormy
You know people are serious about a drink when they claim that “a Dark ‘n Stormy is only a Dark ‘n Stormy when served with Gosling’s 80 proof black seal Bermuda rum.”
Every bartender in the Connecticut area has perfected a Dark ‘n Stormy recipe because someone is bound to order one. Whether it’s to take a cool break from the hot summer weather or to prepare for the impending rain and snow storms.
Delaware: Dogfish Head Ale
An oldie, but a goodie! Shelter Pale Ale was the first beer we started bottling in 1996 – just one year after we opened. Even better, a portion of each bottle sale was donated to The Center for Marine Conservation and their efforts to conserve Dogfish population in the Atlantic Ocean. #tbt #20offcenteredyears
Since opening in 1995 in Milton, Delaware, Dogfish Head Alehouse essentially began the craft beer craze that’s goin’ on today. The people of Delaware even changed their laws to open the brewery because they love these “off-centered ales for off-centered people” so much.
Florida: Rum Runner
Rumor has it, the Rum Runner cocktail was invented at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida. When the head bartender was forced to get rid of old alcohol, he came up with the Rum Runner – a mix of pineapple juice, orange juice, blackberry liqueur, banana liqueur, light rum, dark rum and grenadine. Oh, don’t forget the shot of Bacardi 151 that sits on top.
Since then, Floridians have made it their mission to perfect the rum runner recipe. No doubt that it’s a perfect cocktail to sip while getting your tan on.
Georgia: Scarlet O’Hara
In celebration of the southern belle in Gone With The Wind and the gem of the south that is Southern Comfort, the Scarlet O’Hara has been given the title of Georgia’s signature cocktail.
It may not be the most ordered or most popular cocktail in the state, and frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. However, it definitely represents its southern roots.
Hawaii: Mai Tai
Yeah, yeah, I know. The Mai Tai was created in California, but the Mai Tai is way more popular in Hawaii. There isn’t a bar in the state that doesn’t claim that the Mai Tai is their most ordered cocktail.
Mai Tai + Hawaiian beaches = heaven. Obvi.
Idaho: Evan Williams Bourbon
It’s no doubt that America loves whiskey more than any other alcohol, but when Idahoans head to the liquor store, they know the right brand to buy. Thank you, Kentucky, for creating Evan Williams. It is such a beautiful masterpiece. Idaho appreciates it.
Between the Illinois Irish, the Notre Dame Irish and turning the Chicago River green on St. Patty’s Day, it’s no surprise that Illinois is in love with all things Irish. Why should their signature cocktail be any different? Jameson Irish Whiskey couldn’t represent this state better.
The Jameson Ginger and Lime is the most refreshing mix of a trendy cool beer (cause we all know that Chi Town is the trendiest) and the state’s most consumed alcohol.
Jägermeister is one of the most purchased alcohols in Indiana, so you can’t go wrong with a Jägerbomb. These shots are fun to take, but don’t drink too many of them. Take it from the Hoosiers (and not just IU students) who have mastered the art of jägerbombs.
Iowa: Templeton Rye
Templeton Rye, better known as “The Good Stuff,” is one of Iowa’s finest productions. Based on a prohibition era recipe, every bottle of Templeton Rye is smooth as smooth can be. It’s so good that it’s typically consumed on the rocks. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, use it to create the smoothest old fashioned or manhattan that you’ve ever tried.
The Horsefeather first appeared in Lawrence, Kansas in the 1990’s and has since flourished throughout the state. If you’ve never been to Kansas before, you’ve probably have never heard of this spicy cocktail. Think Moscow Mule, but whiskey instead of vodka. Oh, hell ya. This is something you should be proud of, KS.
Kentucky: Mint Julep
Okay, this one is a no brainer. Who doesn’t know that the Mint Julep is THE drink in Kentucky. Just to prove it to you, each year almost 120,000 Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack.
The sazerac came about in a New Orleans apothecary way way back in 1838 as the world’s first cocktail ever. So, clearly it deserves its place as Louisiana’s signature cocktail.
Maine: Allen’s Coffee Brandy and Milk
This drink, also known as the sombrero, is a crucial staple in the diet of anyone who lives in Maine. You can’t find a bartender who DOESN’T know what an Allen’s and Milk is.
Maryland: Black Eyed Susan
The Black Eyed Susan is the official drink of the Preakness, an American horse race held each year in Baltimore, Maryland. This beautiful mix of vodka, St. Germain, pineapple juice, lime juice and orange juice is the perfect representation of this small state, as well as the most refreshing way to celebrate the winning horse.
Massachusetts: Cape Codder
With Ocean Spray cranberry juice headquartered in Massachusetts, their signature cocktail MUST feature this yummy drink. What’s better than a basic as f*ck vodka cranberry? Add a lime and call it a Cape Codder.
Michigan: The Hummer
Born in Detroit at the Bayview Yacht Club, The Hummer cocktail became nationally famous thanks to Jerome Adams. Bars throughout the state (and even from other states) began begging for the recipe because club members would enter other bars asking for a Hummer.
Though every bar has their own modifications on the recipe now, they are all delicious and representative of Michigan’s love for alcohol.
Minnesota: The Bootleg
The Bootleg is the official drink of Minnesota and the happiest medium of a gin and tonic and a mojito. The only thing is, you’ve gotta be bougie and have access to a country club in Minnesota to actually purchase the mix. OR you could just be janky and make them at home.
Mississippi: Mississippi Punch
You would think that this mix of three alcohols would have originated on Ole Miss’ frat row in attempts to get college kids druuuunk. However, it has actually been around since the 1860’s and it surprisingly doesn’t taste like gasoline.
Between the French cognac, American bourbon and Jamaican rum, this cocktail is essentially Mississippi history in a glass that WILL get you drunk.
Missouri: Caribou Lou
“We mixed it up and then I say we treat Caribizzle like our lady. Originated in Kansas City, Missouri since 1995 baby.” Thanks, Tech N9ne for teaching Missouri the classic 151 rum, pineapple juice and Malibu mix. It’s a real hit.
Montana: Whiskey Ditch
Quick english lesson: Ordering a drink followed by “ditch” means “with water.” Montanans don’t f*ck around when it comes to alcohol, so they obviously only use water as a mixer.
The next time you’re in Montana, order a whiskey ditch to fit in, but make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into.
Nebraska: Founders Brewing Curmudgeon Old Ale
Specific, I know, but Nebraska loves their beer and they want to find the best craft beer, even if it means that it comes from Michigan. This microbrew was the most purchased beer in Nebraska for the past few years, so it must be good.
Nevada: The Nevada Cocktail
Given that weekends in Vegas are both sweet and sour, this cocktail reflects those feelings exactly. In thanks to the state that brought us endless fun, drinks and gambling, it deserves nothing more than a cocktail named after it.
New Hampshire: Fireball
It is literally proven that New Hampshire is America’s booziest state. With that being said, they deserve a cheap alcohol that you can never get tired of. Fireball is exactly that. Everyone drinks so much more of it than they think… Then it’s game over.
New Jersey: Jack Rose
New Jersey bartender, Frank J. May, created the Jack Rose in the early 20th century. The people that live in the dirty Jerz are proud of their apples, so this cocktail incorporates applejack, grenadine and lemon juice.
New Mexico: Chimayo Cocktail
A tequila and apple cider based drink, the chimayo cocktail was created at a restaurant ten miles outside of Santa Fe. This cocktail even features apples that are grown in the Chimayó valley.
New York: Long Island Iced Tea
Manhattan.. Def LIT. Even though New York is one of the states that apparantly drinks the least, when they do, this heavy duty cocktail is just what every New Yorker needs. There also isn’t a better cocktail to represent this state.
North Carolina: The Cherry Bounce
Originating at Isaac Hunter’s Tavern, a bar ten miles outside of Raleigh, the cherry bounce is considered the official cocktail of the state’s capital city. But this cocktail isn’t just found in Raleigh. The entire state loves this mix of cherries, sugar and hard alcohol (the choice is yours).
North Dakota: Fargo Brewing Company Iron Horse Pale Ale
Woah, North Dakota is one of the six states in the country that consumes over 40 gallons of beer per person over 21 per year. So, like, they’re hopivores, right? Since they love beer so much, Fargo Brewing Company spent five years growing into the most popular craft brewery in North Dakota.
Ohio: Buckeye Martini
Named after the beloved Ohio State University mascot, Brutus Buckeye, this cocktail is simple and to the point. A mix of gin, dry vermouth and black olives is the perfect tribute to this effortless state.
Oklahoma: Bloody Mary
The variety of Bloody Marys that have made their way to Oklahoma is SO many. Mainly because Oklahomans can’t stay away from brunch. You can even order the Tiger’s Blood, the Bloody Mary to end all Bloody Marys, at S&B Burger in Oklahoma City.
Oregon: Sloe Gin Fizz
“Well Portland, Oregon and sloe gin fizz, If that ain’t love then tell me what is.” Thanks, Loretta Lynn. You essentially dubbed the sloe gin fizz as the drink of Oregon.
D. G. Yuengling & Sons, based in Pottsville, Pennsylvania is the oldest operating brewing company in the United States. This german beer is not only America’s #1 favorite brew, it is one hundred percent Pennsylvania’s pride and joy. Don’t be caught with a Bud Heavy in your hand… Just don’t.
Rhode Island: Rhode Island Red
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR! This is one big drink for one little state. When Rhode Islanders do it, they do it big with a killer mix of tequila, Chambord, lemon juice, orange bitters and ginger beer. It just sums up the state so well.
South Carolina: Firefly Sweet Tea
Who thinks of the south and doesn’t think of sweet tea. On Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina, Firefly Spirits produced the world’s first Sweet Tea Vodka. Seriously genius. This spirit is a taste of southern hospitality at its finest.
South Dakota: Bud Light
I feel like every South Dakotan’s idea of a night out is grabbing a 12-pack of beer from the store and splitting it between the boys. Bud Light is no craft beer, but it’s cheap AF, and that’s all that matters, right? SD, I think you’re doin’ it right.
Back in the day, moonshine was an illegal, untaxed liquor that was created by the light of the moon (or so they claim). When the state’s laws changed to allow the distillation of spirits, Ole Smoky changed the game and now it’s the love of every Tennesseean’s life.
Texas: Frozen Margarita
In Dallas in 1971, Mariano Martinez made margs in a soft serve ice cream machine and called it “The World’s First Frozen Margarita Machine.” Over time, the frozen margarita has undoubtedly become the most popular cocktail in the entire state of Texas.
Utah: Polygamy Nitro Porter
Utah has the strangest liquor laws and the lowest alcohol consumption in the country. However, Wasatch Brewery was the first brewery in Utah and rules the charts for the most popular beer in Utah, especially with the Polygamy Nitro Porter. Utahns apparently really dig dark beers. You do you, Utah.
Vermont: Old Vermont
Spotlighting the maple syrup that Vermont prides itself on, the Old Vermont is a delicious mix of gin, orange juice, bitters and maple syrup. It might not be frequently ordered at a bar, but it does the state justice.
Virginia: Any Glass from Virginia Wine Country
Wine, Virginia style, is what’s up. A bottle of wine from Virginia wine country is better than most across the country. If you really want to get authentic, head to one of the 250 wineries in the area and treat yourself to a kayak wine tasting adventure.
Washington: Washington Apple
Most likely inspired by President Washington and his apple tree, the Washington Apple is a tart tribute to this state. Washingtonians even go so far as to support their northern friends in Canada as the Washington Apple always features Crown Royal whiskey.
West Virginia: Copperhead
Much more appealing than the venomous copperhead snake that slithers around West Virginia is the copperhead cocktail. Enjoy one of these babies after indulging in a day of outdoor recreational activities that West Virginia is so well known for.
Wisconsin: Brandy Old Fashioned
Wisconsinites don’t f*ck around with their Old Fashioned’s. Most versions of this cocktail are made with whiskey, but if you’re in Wisconsin, the cocktail is made with a heavy pour of brandy.
Wyoming: Franzia Chillable Red
For the least populated state in the country, it’s kind of shocking that people love boxed wine. For a number of years in a row, Franzia Chillable Red was the top-selling wine in Wyoming. #slapthebag
Washington D.C.: The Rickey
Democratic lobbyist Colonel Joe Rickey suggested the Rickey to a D.C. bartender in 1880, and from then on, it just stuck. It is considered the official cocktail of the area and bars all over the city put their own creative spin on the simple drink that consists of gin, lime and soda water.
Now I’m going to get drunk.