Russian vodka. American whiskey. French wine. Every region of the world claims their own unique blend of fermented liquid courage. The discovery of Stone Age jugs indicates alcohol was fermented as far back as 10,000 BC, meaning people have been belting back shots of liquor for a long, long, time. But, we are not Neanderthals; no matter where a particular type of alcohol is produced, it can be purchased worldwide and can easily find its way to a shelf at Joe’s Bar & Grill.
Americans are inventive. Experimenting with different blends of alcohol by adding a dash of this or a taste of that has long been the specialty of bartenders everywhere. As a result, certain mixed drinks have gained popularity among drinkers in the states where they were first created, hanging them with the label of the particular state’s official signature mixed drink.
If a cross-country trip is on anyone’s agenda, wouldn’t it be nice to know which drink is claimed by what state so they can be tried? Not many travelers can say they have drunk their way across America, but if you’re willing to be one of the few who can, here is a list of what needs to be ordered.
Alabama – Yellowhammer Slammer
These drinks are so popular that during a University of Alabama home game in Tuscaloosa, a local bar called Gallette’s sells between 4,000 – 5,000 of them. The drink was named after the state bird. It’s highly recommended to sip these slowly as each drink contains five shots of alcohol to 11 ounces of fruit juice. Gallette’s came up with the drink but it didn’t take long before patrons of other bars around the state, once they got home from a game, began requesting the drink be served in their local hangout.
Alaska – Duck Fart
This is one of those straight down the hatch shots made from three types of liquor and guaranteed to warm a person’s innards on a cold Alaskan night. Don’t let the name stop anyone from trying this blast of goodness.
The drink is layered with Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Crown Royal whiskey. It’s unknown who initially created this concoction but Alaskans don’t care as long as they can keep knocking them back and staying warm. Oh. The name? One can only speculate.
Arizona – Tequila Sunrise
The Tequila Sunrise originated in Arizona in 1930. At first, the drink consisted of tequila, soda water, creme de cassis, and lime juice. As time went by the drink became stronger and now consists of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine. More of these drinks are served in Arizona than in any other state, and because of Arizona’s geographic closeness to Mexico, top-shelf tequila is more likely to be used.
Arkansas – Arkansas Razorback
They don’t fool around in Arkansas. The Razorback is 100% liquor made with a half ounce each of vodka, rum, Kahlua, and amaretto almond. The combination is then shaken with ice to create a froth. A couple of these and the world as you know it disappears.
California – Napa Valley Wine
It comes as no surprise that California’s official drink is wine. With more than 34 varieties of grapes grown in the rich soil and ideal climate, Napa Valley produces some of the best-fermented fruit in the world. Responsible for only .04 percent of the planets wine supply, it’s more than enough to keep every wine fridge in California full.
Whether a light Zinfandel or a dark red port is more appealing to someone’s exquisite tastes, the entire range is available. Californians take great pride in their home state’s product.
Colorado – Colorado Bulldog
This drink is named after the original Colorado State University mascot, a bulldog named Peanut. The drink is quite similar to a white Russian but with a bubbly fizz which makes it unique. It’s made from vodka, milk, Kahlua, and Coca-Cola. Yes. Coca-Cola.
Connecticut – Dark ‘N Stormy
This one will knock drinkers through a loop if they aren’t careful. It’s made with Gosling’s 80-proof black seal Bermuda rum. Bartenders in Connecticut have to know how to make this drink as it’s ordered up regularly all around the state. It’s the perfect drink for those cold snowy days the state is known for.
Delaware – Dogfish Head Ale
People in Delaware are unpretentious and prefer a good robust ale over a fancy-schmancy cocktail. Dogfish Head Ale, brewed since 1995, is all the rage. Delaware even changed their state law to allow the brewery to open. They claim the beer is an off-center ale for off-centered people.
Florida – Rum Runner
It’s believed this drink was created by a bartender in Islamorada Florida who was forced to get rid of some old liquor. Instead of pouring it out he mixed together pineapple juice, orange juice, blackberry liqueur, banana liqueur, light rum, dark rum, and grenadine. A shot of Bacardi 151 tops the drink off. One of these will have anyone well on their way to oblivion.
Georgia – Scarlett O’Hara
A couple of these will have anyone gone with the wind. Of course, the main ingredient is the pride of the south, Southern Comfort. A simple drink to make, cranberry juice and a dash of lime are mixed with the sweet apricot liquor, and that’s it. Bottoms up!
Hawaii – Mai Tai
Invented in California, this drink quickly became immensely popular in Hawaii. A little rum, a bit of Curacao, some tropical juices, maybe a touch of coconut. Just about every bar on every island claims it as their signature drink, and every bartender adds their own special touch. Paper umbrella optional. A beach, some cool waves, and a mai tai spell nothing short of paradise.
This is enough to get anyone started. Stay tuned for the signature drinks in the remaining states as you start planning your road trip to drink your way across America. Have your own favorite local cocktail? Tell us about it in the comments.