Signature drinks from every state
Signature drinks from every state
Every U.S. state has something it's proud of—and that's especially true of its signature drinks. These are drinks that locals love and ones tourists love to seek out. You know the ones we’re talking about. Can you imagine a trip to California without a glass of Napa Valley red wine? Or breezing through Seattle without a piping-hot cup of coffee? Sometimes it’s the signature drink that helps to solidify a destination’s character.
There is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to defining a state’s signature drink. Some states even have drinks that are designated as their official state beverages. In fact, the most popular state beverage across the country is, believe it or not, milk—19 states claim milk as their official state beverage. And then there are other states that are well-known for their drinks, like Nebraska and its Red Beer, a concoction of beer and tomato juice similar to Mexico’s “Ojo Rojo” hangover cure. There are also drinks like sweet tea with vodka from South Carolina or Jack Daniel’s from Tennessee. These drinks are state icons, even if they don't have official state symbol status. Tourists and locals alike always seem to find a reason to seek them out and do a taste test for themselves in order to embrace the flavors of our 50 states.
So what are the signature drinks from every state? Stacker looked at official state websites, news, culinary profiles, and historic reports that tie specific beverages to states across the country. Some states had several drinks in the running, so in those cases, the majority ruled.
Are you ready to discover signature beverages from across the country? In fact, do you even know the signature drink from your home state? Read on to discover which state is known for your favorite drinks.
You may also like: 50 ways food has changed in the last 50 years
An Alabama game day isn't the real deal without a Yellowhammer. Named for the eponymous bird, it is the signature beverage of Gallette's in Tuscaloosa and favored when the University of Alabama is playing. According to The Daily Meal, it contains vodka, light rum, amaretto, orange juice, and pineapple juice, topped with a Maraschino cherry.
Alaska: Duck farts
An Anchorage original, Duck Farts are much tastier than they sound. According to Chowhound, the drink was named for the sound people make after drinking one. They are made with Kahlua, Baileys Irish cream, and Crown Royal Whisky.
Arizona: Tequila sunrise
The origin of the Tequila Sunrise is a bit murky. Some say it was invented in Arizona in the 1930s, while others say the modern version hails from Sausalito, California, in the ’70s. Another group believes it dates back to Tijuana, Mexico, during Prohibition. Whatever the story, Arizona's Tequila Sunrise is both a signature drink and part of a signature event that celebrates Northern Arizona University's homecoming. The OG cocktail includes tequila, creme de cassis, lime juice, and soda water (the newer version is tequila, orange juice, and grenadine).
Arkansas: Arkansas razorback
Go Hogs! is the rallying cry for the beloved University of Arkansas Razorbacks' football team. It's also the rallying cry for the eponymous state beverage. Made with raspberries, fruit punch, and turbinado sugar, it’s sure to fill you with team spirit, so to speak.
The majority of American wine comes from the vineyards of California. In fact, according to the Wine Institute, California makes up 81% of all U.S. wine and is the fourth-leading wine producer in the world. From Napa and Sonoma to the Central Coast, the Central Valley, and the South Coast, you don't have to go very far in California to taste a world-class glass of wine.
You may also like: Top 10 foods Americans want to try
Colorado: Colorado bulldog
It may look like a White Russian, but the Colorado Bulldog packs a bubbly extra treat. Made with the signature vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream, the Colorado Bulldog adds a splash of Coke. Its origins are a bit enigmatic, but some believe it was named for the English bulldog and mascot of Colorado State University before its sports teams were renamed the Aggie Rams, according to Spoon University.
Connecticut: Moscow mule
While the name leads one to believe that this cocktail is Russian in origin, it’s far more Connecticuter in reality. According to the Hartford Courant, the Moscow mule was invented by John G. Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers of Hartford, a spirits and food distributor. He named it the Moscow mule because it contains vodka, which actually is associated with Russia, while “mule” is the term for the group of drinks prepared with ginger beer and citrus.
Delaware: Dogfish Head
Delawareans worth their suds will tell you that a bottle of Dogfish Head is unequivocally the signature drink of the state. The brewery opened in 1995 in Milton. Today the empire spans restaurants, an inn, and a distillery.
Florida: Orange juice
When it comes to Florida, it has to be orange juice. Florida produces more than 70% of the country’s supply of citrus, according to Visit Florida. More than 90% of the eponymous juice in the United States comes from Florida oranges. If you want to keep with the cocktail theme, throw a little bubbly in and make it a mimosa.
Georgia: Scarlet O’Hara
Named for the world's most famous Southern belle, Georgia's signature drink is the Scarlet O'Hara cocktail. It's made with cranberry juice, a dash of lime, and Southern Comfort, according to The Daily Meal.
You may also like: Best Mexican restaurant in every state
Hawaii: Mai tai
Hawaii and tiki go hand-in-hand, so it's no surprise that the most popular drink at Hawaiian bars is the mai tai. Made with orange, lime, and rum, it's the perfect tropical cocktail to pair with those stunning Hawaii beaches. According to Eater, the mai tai was so popular in the 1940s and ’50s that it actually depleted the world’s rum supply.
Idaho: Canadian whisky
Idaho loves its Canadian whisky. It will get you through those long, cold winters. In fact, the state's top-selling booze is Black Velvet, according to the Idaho Statesman.
Illinois: Jameson Irish Whiskey
With its Irish population and the yearly tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green on St. Patrick's Day, Illinois is all about Ireland. So when it comes to choosing a signature drink, it has to be Jameson Irish Whiskey, which is the state's most popular spirit.
It may not be the most creative state drink, but it certainly is the most important. According to 2007’s 115th General Assembly of Indiana Senate Resolution 20, the official beverage of Indiana is water.
Iowa: Frozen blue water margarita
West Okoboji Lake is one of Iowa's biggest claims to fame. In fact, the naturally blue lake is so beloved that it inspired Iowa's signature drink, the frozen blue water margarita. According to Taste of Home, the cocktail is made like the classic margarita with tequila, Cointreau, and lime. The brilliant blue comes from Blue Curacao.
You may also like: What the average American eats in a year
The city of Lawrence is said to be the true home of the new(ish) cocktail, the Horsefeather. According to Punch Drink, the cocktail includes Old Overholt rye, ginger, lemon juice, and a few dashes of Angostura bitters.
Kentucky: Mint julep
For more than two centuries, Kentuckians have been filling their highball glasses with mint juleps. The official drink of the Kentucky Derby, according to Taste of Home, mint juleps include bourbon (another Kentucky native), sugar syrup, and fresh mint.
While tourists are slinging hurricanes on Bourbon Street, locals from Louisiana are sipping on Sazeracs. Invented in the 19th century at a New Orleans coffeehouse, the modern iteration includes rye whiskey, absinthe, and bitters.
As of 2005, the official soft drink of the state of Maine is Moxie. Moxie soda is made from gentian root extract and combines bitter and sweet flavors.
Bones are strong in the state of Maryland. That's because milk has been the state drink since 1998. Maryland cows are world-famous for their black and white spots. According to Maryland Manual, as of 2019, the state had around 43,000 milk cows.
You may also like: 15 food fads and their origin stories
Massachusetts: Cranberry juice
Known for its beautiful crimson cranberry bogs, it's no wonder Massachusetts chose cranberry juice at its state drink in 1970, according to CBS Boston. In fact, Ocean Spray is based in Massachusetts.
Michigan: The hummer
Michigan's unequivocal signature drink is the hummer. Created by Jerome Adams in 1968 in Detroit at the Bayview Yacht Club, the hummer is made with white rum, Kahlua, and two scoops of vanilla ice cream, according to Punch Drink.
Producing more than 9 billion pounds of milk per year, according to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, the state designated—you guessed it—milk as its official beverage in 1984. Minnesota ranks eighth in dairy production in the United States.
Got milk? Mississippi does. In 1984, the state of Mississippi made milk its official beverage, according to Made in Mississippi.
Montana: Whiskey ditch
Montanans are of strong stock. That's why their signature drink is a whiskey ditch, which is basically just whiskey and water, according to Spoon University. A drink order ending in “ditch” means “with water.”
Nebraska: Red beer
In Mexico they call it an ojo rojo (red eye), but in Nebraska they call it red beer, according to Eater. Either way, it’s beer with a splash of tomato juice, and it's absolutely essential for a morning after a big night out.
Nevada: Picon punch
Nevada has a large population of Basque immigrants, especially in the northern part of the state, according to NBC News Las Vegas. That's why the state drink is none other than the Picon punch, a Basque Country drink that is made with grenadine, club soda, brandy, and Amer Picon.
New Hampshire: Apple cider
When autumn rolls around, New England's apple orchards come alive with activity. Tourists flock from all around for apple picking and to sip a mug of hot apple cider, which happens to be the official drink of New Hampshire since 2010. There are more than 1,400 acres of orchards in the state, according to State Symbols USA.
New Jersey: Jäger-bombs
New Jersey doesn't have a true official cocktail or state drink, but college students across the state (especially along its iconic Jersey Shore) know their way around Jäger-bombs. Made iconic on the reality show The Jersey Shore, according to The New York Times, Jäger-bombs are made by dropping a shot of Jägermeister into a glass of Red Bull.
You may also like: The cost of bacon the year you were born
New Mexico: Chimayó cocktail
The birth of the Chimayó cocktail can be traced to Rancho de Chimayó, where it was created in the 1960s, according to Taste of Home. The drink blends tequila and apple juice with fresh lemon juice and Creme de Cassis.
New York: Milk
Did you know that New York is the third-largest milk producer in the United States? According to State Symbol USA, that's why milk is the official state drink of New York. The milk produced in New York is used for consumption but also for butter, cheese, ice cream, and processed products.
North Carolina: The cherry bounce
Technically, the official state drink of North Carolina is, once again, milk. But in the spirit of keeping things interesting, let's look at its unofficial cocktail, the cherry bounce. Spoon University says that the signature cocktail was created at Hunter's Tavern near Raleigh and consists of cherries, sugar, and your choice of hard alcohol.
North Dakota: Beer
North Dakota is one of the top states for beer consumption per capita, according to VinePair. A 2020 report shows that as with Montana, Vermont, and New Hampshire, beer is the most preferred beverage in the state.
Ohio: Bloody mary
The official state juice of Ohio is tomato juice, so it makes sense that the bloody mary would be a signature drink of the state. Every bartender makes their own version of this iconic brunch cocktail, but the base is always a blend of tomato juice, vodka, and a blend of spices.
You may also like: Copycat recipes from the most popular fast food restaurants in America
Oklahoma: Roy Rogers
It doesn't get much more Oklahoman than Roy Rogers. Known as The King of Cowboys, the legend was married at the Flying L Ranch in Davis. According to Taste of Home, Rogers did not drink alcohol, so the mocktail after his name contains only grenadine, Cola, and a Maraschino cherry.
Portland's cocktail scene is strong, with some of the best bartenders in the country churning out delectable drinks. One of their state favorites is the negroni. In fact, there's an entire week dedicated to it every year in Portland. The cocktail contains gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.
Pennsylvania: Craft beer
There was a time when Pennsylvania was the #1 producer of craft beer in the country, according to Breweries in PA. While it has slipped to the #2 spot (behind California), beer is still pretty important to the Pennsylvanian economy.
Rhode Island: Coffee milk
A blend of milk with a shot of sweet coffee syrup is the now-iconic drink of Rhode Island known as coffee milk, according to Imbibe magazine. The drink came about in the 1930s and can boast of being a household name across the state.
South Carolina: Sweet tea and vodka
There are few things more Southern than sweet tea. And while sweet tea itself was invented in Virginia, Firefly Distillery on South Carolina's Wadmalaw Island created the very first blend of sweet tea with vodka, according to The Daily Meal.
You may also like: Bananas, avocados, and other beloved foods that may go extinct soon
South Dakota: South Dakota martini
It's not fancy or elaborate, but it's a South Dakota classic. The South Dakota martini is simple: take any light draft beer and add a briny pickle spear, per the Argus Leader. That's about it, and it's all you need.
Tennessee: Jack Daniel’s
If there's one thing Tennessee does well, it's whiskey. Lynchburg is home to the world-famous Jack Daniel distillery. Whether you're crafting a cocktail, mixing it with classic Coke, or sipping it on the rocks, you're right at home if you're drinking Jack in Tennessee.
While the margarita conjures images of a beach in Mexico, the drink was actually born in Texas. Invented by Pancho Morales, a truck driver from Juarez, Mexico, the classic tequila concoction was created in El Paso, according to Texas Monthly.
Utah: Root beer
Utahns love their root beer, especially if it's Brigham's Brew Root Beer. Produced in Salt Lake City by Wasatch Brewery, the popular soda ranks highly in a state that has some pretty rigid liquor laws.
Vermont: Old Vermont
If it were socially acceptable to drink maple syrup, Vermonters certainly would. The next-best thing? Throw it in a cocktail. Meet the old Vermont, a cocktail that mixes gin, orange juice, bitters, and, of course, maple syrup, according to Spoon University.
You may also like: Most fast food-friendly states in America
Virginia: George Washington’s Rye Whiskey
George Washington, a Virginia native, has his obvious claims to fame. But did you know he also distilled whiskey? Produced at his Mount Vernon home in the 1790s, the rye whiskey is still in production today. In 2017, it became one of the signature drinks of the state.
From Starbucks to Seattle's Best, the state of Washington knows and loves its coffee. In fact, Seattle’s coffee culture is one of the reasons locals love the city so much.
West Virginia: Gin and tonic
You may associate a gin and tonic with a chic pub in London, but West Virginia is no stranger to this botanical blend. Gin and tonics are local favorites in the state, usually served with aged gin, tonic, seltzer, and lemon oil, says The Daily Meal.
Wisconsin: Brandy old fashioned
Listen, we want to say milk because, well, Wisconsin cows. Milk is technically the official state beverage, but the brandy old fashioned is a Wisconsin legend and certainly deserves some attention. A Wisconsin brandy old fashioned uses brandy instead of whiskey and is served with Maraschino cherries, orange juice, a dash of bitters, soda, and ice. When ordering, bartenders will ask if you want “sweet or sour,” which refers to the soda choice. Sour isn't actually sour, but the less-sweet option of 50/50 or Squirt. Sweet means the added sugar of a 7Up or Sprite.
Wyoming: Wyoming Whiskey
With the state name built right into the title, Wyoming Whiskey is the unequivocal favorite in the state. Whiskey is hardcore, craft-distilled, and not for the faint of heart, which speaks well to the cowboy culture in Wyoming. Whatever you're pouring Wyoming Whiskey into, locals are drinking, according to The Daily Meal.
You may also like: Signature dishes from 30 American cities