Drinking in the USA: 50 Signature Cocktails (Part 2)

Drinking in the USA: 50 Signature Cocktails (Part 2)

There is so much to see and do in every state from Alabama to Wyoming, and that includes drinking! To help choose what you should drink when you visit each state, we’ve created an unofficial list of signature cocktails (recipes included), one for each of the 50 states. In case you missed the first 10 check out Part 1 here, and come back soon for the next 10. Cheers!

By Jenna Leis

(Photo by Malbert)

Hawaii: The Blue Hawaiian

What is better to drink in the beautiful state of Hawaii than a Blue Hawaiian? The answer is nothing. It was first created at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki by their legendary head bartender, Harry Yee in 1957. Since then it remains one of the perfect tropical drinks. There are a number of ways to make the Blue Hawaiian, but the simplest is by combing the ingredients in a shaker with ice and pouring into a hurricane glass. The other most popular way is to combine the ingredients along with ice in a blender for a few seconds to make a frozen treat.

  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1 oz White rum
  • 3 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz Sweetened coconut cream

(Photo by Joshua Resnick)

Idaho: Vandal Mule

When you think of Idaho the first thing that comes to mind might just be potatoes. So trying a cocktail with potato vodka is a must in Idaho. The Vandal Mule is a recipe using Idaho’s very own 44º North Idaho Potato Vodka. The recipe calls for the ingredients to be combined and then strained into a copper mug or old fashioned glass over rocks. Finish it off by garnishing with mint. It’s similar to the classic Moscow Mule but what makes this cocktail special is the home grown potato vodka.

  • 2 oz North Idaho Potato vodka
  • 1 oz Lime juice
  • 2 oz Ginger beer


Irish coffee in glass (Photo by etorres)

Illinois: Irish Coffee

St. Patricks Day might be the biggest holiday in Chicago, Illinois, so it is no surprise you can find some of the best Irish Coffee in the country here. A hot cup is just the thing to get through the cold winter. The best recipes start by warming your glass with boiling water for five seconds. After pouring the water out add brown sugar and Irish whiskey into the glass. Then fill the glass with coffee and stir well. Make sure to leave some room on top to add whipped cream. A trick is to pour the whipped cream over the back of a spoon so that it floats nicely on the top of the drink.

  • 1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 6 oz hot coffee
  • 1/4 cup whipped cream
  • 1 tsp brown sugar


(Photo by Andrei Mayatnik)

Indiana: Sidecar

Thousands of people flock to Indiana every year for the Indy 500 races so it is only natural for Indiana’s cocktail to be the Sidecar, a classic drink that anyone can enjoy while watching the exciting event. The recipe is simple, first coat the rim of the glass with sugar and set aside. Then add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice before straining over the glass. Finally garnish it with an orange twist and your ready to go.

  • 1 1/2 oz Cognac
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz Lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Orange slice


(Photo by 3523studio)

Iowa: The Iowa Sunrise

It is said that on a chilly morning in Iowa, at just the right moment, you can see the most beautiful sunrises over the corn fields. These colors are reflected in the Iowa Sunrise if made just right. The key ingredient to give it its color and sweet flavor is strawberry simple syrup. To make the syrup you combine sugar, water, and strawberries in a small saucepan over high heat. As it comes to a boil mash the strawberries and let simmer for about 30 second. After letting the syrup cool completely, strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. You can then add the syrup with rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and ice in a shaker and shake well. Pour the mixture into a glass and top off with club soda and garnish with an orange slice.

Strawberry simple syrup

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 to 4 strawberries

Iowa Sunrise

  • 2 oz Spiced rum
  • 1/2 oz Strawberry simple syrup
  • Juice from 1/2 an orange
  • 1 1/2 oz Pineapple juice
  • 2 oz Club soda


(Photo by Anna Shepulova)

Kansas: The Amelia Earhart

Did you know that Kansas is the birthplace of Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic? This makes it the perfect place for the Amelia Earhart cocktail to be found as well. Both the woman and the drink have a bold, yet classy personality. To make, muddle blackberries and sugar in a cocktail shaker before adding vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice, and a scoop of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled glass that’s rim has been coated with lemon and sugar. The final touch is to add a mint sprig to garnish.

  • 5 fresh blackberries
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 3/4 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz St. Germain
  • 1 oz Lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Fine sugar
  • Mint Sprig


Cold Mint Julep for the Derby (Photo by Brent Hofacker)

Kentucky: The Mint Julep

During the Kentucky Derby the most popular served drink is the Mint Julep. Each year almost 120,000 Mint Juleps are served over the two day event at Churchill Downs Racetrack. It is a refreshing drink to have in the hot Kentucky sun while watching the races. In a Julep cup or rocks glass you lightly muddle the mint and syrup. Then add the bourbon and pack it tightly with crushed ice and stir until the cup has a nice frosted look on the outside. Finally top with a bit more crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig and the optional few drops of bitters.

  • 1/4 oz Simple syrup
  • 8 Mint leaves
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • Mint sprig
  • Optional few drops of bitters


Homemade New Orleans Sazerac Cocktail (Photo by Brent Hofacker)

Louisiana: The Sazerac

Since 2008 the Louisiana Legislature has proclaimed the Sazerac as the official drink of Louisiana’s biggest city, New Orleans. This was a no brainer in the city that has been known for its speakeasies since the Prohibition era. To this day it is one of the booziest places in the country and thousands of people enjoy a Sazerac during Mardi Gras while walking down Bourbon Street. To make one just like a bar in the Big Easy you rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, coating each side before discarding any excess. In a separate glass muddle a sugar cube, water, and bitters. Then add the rye and cognac with ice and stir well. Strain this into the rocks glass you already prepared with the absinthe and twist a slice of lemon peel over the surface to extract any excess oils and then discard it.

  • Absinthe, to rinse
  • 1 Sugar cube
  • 1/2 tsp Cold water
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 1/4 oz Rye whiskey
  • 1 1/4 oz Cognac
  • 1 Lemon peel


(Photo by Brent Hofacker)

Maine: The Sombrero

It is impossible to be from Maine and to have not at least heard of Allen’s Coffee Brandy. Mainers are obsessed with the stuff, and the Sombrero is the most popular cocktail using it. Because Maine is one of 18 control state, where the state has some sort of control of the sale and/or distribution of alcohol, there are records showing that year after year this coffee liquor has been the number one thing in peoples liquor cabinets. The Sombrero is a simple drink, only one part Allen’s Coffee Brandy and one part milk combined and served over ice.

  • 2 oz Coffee brandy
  • 2 Milk (or cream)


Black Eyed Susan Cocktail (Photo by Jessica)

Maryland: The Black-Eyed Susan

Named after the official state flower, The Black-Eyed Susan, this drink is mostly known in Maryland as the official drink of the Preakness Stakes, the annual horse races that take place in Baltimore. While the recipe has been changed over the years it still remains as a refreshing drink to have while watching the races. The latest involves mixing bourbon and vodka with the rest of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and then straining in a tall clash with crushed ice. Finally garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

  • 1 oz Bourbon whiskey
  • 1 oz Peach schnapps
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 2 oz ​Orange juice
  • 2 oz Sour mix
  • 1 Orange slice
  • 1 Cherry

Leave a Reply

Related Post