23 Famous Cocktails from Across the Country
While it's impossible to catalog the incredible variety found in cocktails in the U.S., we've detailed an impressive list of some of the greatest hits among American cocktail recipes.
Alabama: Lynchburg Lemonade
This boozy lemonade is named after the home of Jack Daniel’s distillery in Alabama. The recipe consists of Jack Daniels, Cointreau, syrup and a lemon-lime mixture. Here are 10 more spiked lemonade drinks.
Arizona: This Conflagration Nation
This complicated drink has an equally complex inspiration. Created by Brandon Casey in Phoenix, Arizona, the smoky strength in this glass symbolizes the gunpowder fired during the War of 1812. As a bonus, this drink is notable for having the flexibility to be mixed with cheap whiskeys and still maintain its flavor.
Alaska: Smoked Salmon Mary
Adding in beef stock, hot sauce and horseradish to the classic Bloody Mary, this cocktail uses smoked salmon vodka straight from the Alaska Distillery to serve as the drink’s base flavor. Interesting and spicy!
Taste of Home
Sometimes referred to as the original American cocktail recipe, the Old-Fashioned was created by James Pepper in 1880 at the Pendennis Club in Kentucky.
In Wisconsin, we take our Old-Fashioneds sweet. Get the recipe here.
Hailing from the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans and predating the American Civil War, Sazerac is a mix of Cognac, bitters, sugar and absinthe. Many bartenders substitute rye whiskey for Cognac.
Photo: Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker
New York: Manhattan
One of the most popular American cocktail recipes of all time, this New York drink was first formulated in 1874 during a party hosted by Winston Churchill’s mother. Because why not? Follow the recipe carefully—a proper Manhattan requires a special step just for the ice.
New York: Mamie Taylor
Named for the famous Broadway star (who spelled her name Mayme) in 1899, this scotch and lemon drink with ginger syrup, ale or beer stands the test of time and was probably the inspiration for the Moscow Mule.
Kentucky: Mint Julep
Farmers created this drink at the turn of the 18th century in America’s rural Midwest (yes, Kentucky is considered Midwest). The drink gained notoriety at the Kentucky Derby during a promotional event in 1938. From then on, this bourbon-based, mint-laced drink was a popular Kentucky staple.
Alexey Andr Tkachenko/Shutterstock
California: White Russian
Another classic American cocktail recipe, the White Russian was named by the Oakland Tribune in California in 1965. The vodka and cream mixture is more straightforward than many of the drinks on this list, but it is no less American, despite the name.
Wisconsin: The Patriot
Mixed with vodka, lime juice, agave nectar, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper, The Patriot is a hearty, double-strained drink that rushes taste buds in waves. Created in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by Emily Evans.
New Jersey: Gin Rickey
Made popular in New Jersey just before the Great Depression, the Gin Rickey is made with its eponymous liquor, gin, plus lime juice and carbonated water.
Photo: Shutterstock/Piotr Krzeslak
Florida: Sex on the Beach
Some attribute this famous Floridian cocktail to a bartender named Ted who supposedly invented the recipe in 1987 to win a peach schnapps sales promotion. While Ted and the schnapps promotion helped popularize the drink, the American Bartender’s School originally published the recipe as early as 1982.
Louisiana: Ramos Gin Fizz
Also known as the New Orleans Fizz, this drink is insanely popular at Mardi Gras to this day.
Georgia: Of Thread and Theory
A historically-loaded American cocktail recipe, this drink was formulated and made famous by Greg Best, a bartender out of Atlanta, Georgia. This mix of rum, bitters, apple cider vinegar and sorghum syrup is a well-known southern-style drink.
Colorado: Tree Line
Created in Colorado to mimic the open wilderness familiar to the state, this cocktail won the state’s Colorado Cocktail Contest with a combination of whiskey, alpine herbal liqueur, lemon juice, and market cherries. The drink’s final color is a deep red, indicative of the reddish, oxidized dirt commonly found in Colorado’s hiking trails.
New York: Firecracker
The brewchild of mixologist Duane Fernandez Jr. of New York City, this American classic is a savory July Fourth drink consisting of rum, syrup, Peychaud’s bitters and absinthe, and garnished with three red grapes.
Rhode Island: New Cucumber
One of Rhode Island’s signature drinks, this vodka and liqueur masterpiece uses fresh cucumbers for flavor. The cucumber flavor is strong enough to make you think about wonderful summertime cucumber recipes.
Pennsylvania: Fish House Punch
This strong, fruity drink, associated with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the oldest American cocktail recipes, dating all the way back to 1744. It’s a drink intended to be served at parties in large batches.
Texas: Midnight Oil
This drink comes from Austin, Texas, and is infused with both alcohol and caffeine, created specifically for oil field workers on long or double shifts. The drink includes vanilla extract and ginger to add depth to its rum base. The flavors in this drink are, oddly enough, complemented well by sesame-ginger popcorn.