50 States of Cocktails
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Tequila Mockingbird from The Little Donkey: Homewood, Ala.
Smoked Salmon Mary from The Crow’s Nest: Denali Park, Alaska
Alaska’s state fish makes the leap from plate to glass in this explosively savory Bloody Mary. Smoked salmon vodka from Alaska Distillery lends briny undertones, while the house Bloody mix (featuring beef stock, horseradish and plenty of hot sauce) brings the heat. Garnished with smoked salmon strips, this brunchworthy beauty is an ode to the state’s main seafood squeeze.
Photo courtesy of Sean Kennelly
Prickly Pear Margarita from Brittlebush Bar & Grill: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Cropduster from Capital Bar & Grill: Little Rock, Ark.
A play on the pale purple Aviation, the Cropduster swaps the old-school creme de violette for housemade blackberry preserves to create a richer, darker descendant. Shaken with Old Tom gin, lemon juice and maraschino liqueur, it calls to mind the rugged little aircraft that soar over Arkansas’ bountiful fields.
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Irish Coffee from The Buena Vista Cafe: San Francisco
Tree Line from The Avenue Grill: Denver
A veritable wonderland for outdoor recreation, Colorado is perhaps best known for its scenic forests and fresh air. To capture that woodsiness in a drink, the state’s assorted liquor-related guilds hosted the Colorado Cocktail Contest. The Tree Line was the winning entry, a clever composite of local, small-batch whiskey, aromatic alpine herbal liqueur, lemon juice and farmers market cherries. When muddled, it mimics the reddish-purple earth on the Colorado trails.
Photo courtesy of Agata Indiatsi
Hot Buttered Rum from Artisan Restaurant: Southport, Conn.
The Bassett from 1861 Restaurant: Middletown, Del.
Papa Dobles from Sloppy Joe’s: Key West, Fla.
Nuts & Grains Manhattan from A.Lure: Savannah
Tropical Itch from Duke’s Waikiki: Honolulu
The Vesper Reconsidered from Chandlers: Boise, Idaho
Southside from The Barrelhouse Flat: Chicago
Hoosier Heritage from The North End Barbecue & Moonshine: Indianapolis
Known as the Crossroads of America, Indiana has built up a proud state heritage. And you might say that this cocktail forms a similar crossroads, uniting high-quality products like rye whiskey, apple cider, rosemary maple syrup and cayenne pepper from around the country to create one uniquely Midwestern experience.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Kelly
State Fair Shake-Up from Lime Lounge: Des Moines
Horsefeather from The Bourgeois Pig: Lawrence, Kan.
The Seelbach from The Oakroom: Louisville, Ky.
Don’t despair, julep fans. The Seelbach would make any Kentucky native proud, with its sturdy base of Bluegrass State bourbon. Cointreau, Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters and a generous splash of Champagne round out the chic coupe, which has been served at The Seelbach Hotel’s bar since 1907, delighting famous guests like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Al Capone and FDR.
Photo courtesy of James Moses / Bisig Impact Group
Sazerac from The Sazerac Bar: New Orleans
The Big Easy has given birth to a wealth of top-notch cocktails — the Ramos gin fizz, brandy milk punch and Vieux Carré among them — but the one true king will always be the Sazerac. Originally made with Sazerac French brandy when it was invented in the 1850s, the recipe evolved to include rye whiskey and an absinthe rinse, which meld with a cube of sugar and the anise-heavy Peychaud’s bitters that make this a timeless New Orleans classic.
Photo courtesy of The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Espresso Martini from Portland Hunt + Alpine Club: Portland, Maine
The Diamondback from Bookmakers: Baltimore
Ward 8 from Yvonne’s: Boston
Invented at Boston’s Locke-Ober Cafe in 1898, the Ward 8 has survived over a century, and is still served across the same hand-carved bar in the space now known as Yvonne’s. While the original recipe was likely a combination of rye whiskey, lemon and orange juices, and grenadine, the modest tweak of splitting the rye with dry sherry brings this classic roaring into the present.
Photo courtesy of Nina Gallant
The Last Word from The Sugar House: Detroit
Tomas Collins from Marvel Bar: Minneapolis
The Maridel from Parlor Market: Jackson, Miss.
Planter’s House Punch from Planter’s House: St. Louis
I’ll Be Your Huckleberry from The Ranch at Rock Creek: Philipsburg, Mont.
City of Tom Dennison from The Berry & Rye: Omaha
Don’t mess with “Boss” Dennison. The legendary racketeer reigned over Omaha for 30 years during the early 20th century, controlling many of the city’s politicians, crime rings and bootlegging operations. That said, he also transformed Omaha’s alcohol industry, converting many of the city’s underground saloons into upscale cocktail lounges. For that, you can raise a glass with hisnamesake draught of bourbon, Suze, apricot liqueur and dry vermouth.
Photo courtesy of Dillon Gitano
Corpse Reviver No. 2 from Herbs & Rye: Las Vegas
Winter Julep from Firefly Bistro: Manchester, N.H.
The Jack Rose from Colts Neck Inn: Colts Neck, N.J.
Agave Way from Secreto Lounge: Santa Fe, N.M.
Negroni On Tap from Dante: New York
Cherry Bounce from Deep South the Bar: Raleigh, N.C.
North Dakota Night Train from Broadway Grill & Tavern: Bismarck, N.D.
Jake’s Bloody from The Fairmount: Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Stockyard Roots from Ludivine: Oklahoma City
Northwest Mai Tai from Hale Pele: Portland, Ore.
Philadelphia Fish House Punch from The Olde Bar: Philadelphia
Coffee Milk from Cook & Brown Public House: Providence
Charleston Light Dragoon’s Punch from Husk: Charleston, S.C.
Resurrected from the archives of the Charleston Preservation Society, this antique punch has proven to be one of the most-popular drinks atHusk. The name refers to a Civil War-era military unit that supposedly spent more time partying than fighting. The good news is that they knew how to make a cocktail, and this cup of Jamaican rum, multiple brandies, lemon juice and black tea (the state hospitality drink) is proof.
Photo from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Taken by Peter Frank Edwards.
Desert Heat from Vertex Sky Bar: Rapid City, S.D.
Tennessee Mojito from Merchants Restaurant: Nashville
Its rolling hills and warm breezes make Tennessee a prime location for peach orchards — and those peaches have been known to roll right into the hands of regional spirit makers. Prichard’s peach and mango rum is a hometown favorite that Merchants puts to work in a cool Southern Mojito with lime juice and fresh mint. Sip it on the porch in place of your usual sweet tea.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Hylbert
Frozen Margarita from The Pastry War: Houston
There’s no shortage of slushy margaritas once you hit the Texas border — the margarita is the state’s most-popular cocktail, thanks to the subtropical temperatures. But to find the version that leads the pack, head straight for the esteemed Pastry War, where blanco tequila is brightened by both Key and Persian lime juices, sweetened with agave nectar and rimmed with citrus salt. You won’t look back.
Photo courtesy of Julie Soefer Photography
Salt Lake Spritz from Pallet Bistro: Salt Lake City
In a state where beers above 4 percent ABV are considered liquor and a cocktail’s primary spirit is limited to one-and-a-half ounces, the breezy, low-alcohol spritz can be ubiquitous. Pallet’s variation marries tart cranberry juice, maraschino liqueur, orange bitters and Prosecco, a fusion that’s light and bubbly enough that you can tell the bartender to keep ’em coming.
Photo courtesy of Stacey Jo Rabiger
Vermont Martini from Ye Olde Tavern: Manchester, Vt.
Captain Marryat Julep from Julep’s: Richmond
Barrel Aged Raincoat from Local 360: Seattle
Sheeney’s Rickey from Teddy & The Bully Bar: Washington, D.C.
Black Walnut Manhattan from Bridge Road Bistro: Charleston, W. Va.
Brandy Old Fashioned from Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge: Milwaukee
Order an Old Fashioned in Wisconsin and you might be in for a surprise. Out-of-staters will likely expect to receive rye whiskey or bourbon, but Wisconsin custom dictates the use of brandy instead. Local tastes run sweet, so you’ll find that brandy topped with sugar, bitters and Sprite, but you can always adjust your order by saying “sweet, sour or press,” which tells the bartender that you want Sprite, Squirt or half-Sprite, half-seltzer.
Photo courtesy of Dan Bishop
Howitzer from The Rose: Jackson, Wyo.
Yee-haw! When in cowboy country, do as the locals do — and name your punch after a historic artillery piece. Inspired by the Chatham Artillery Punch from Charles H. Baker (the 19th-century American author known for his cocktail prowess), the Howitzer packs some heat with its rousing blend of rye whiskey, cognac, red wine, cinnamon and bitters. Plus, you can choose your own Wild West adventure and try it hot or cold.
Photo courtesy of Rich Goodwin