When you think of American drinks, Florida orange juice, Southern sweet tea, and Tennessee whiskey might come to mind. But have you heard of Big Red, Cheerwine, Moxie, or a Tom & Jerry?
Favorite local drinks from across the country are as diverse as America itself. While many states have designated milk as their official drink, there are many creative beverages made with local ingredients and ingenious thinking. Until you can visit all of the United States of America, you can enjoy these iconic drinks from every state.
Mix up the beverages in your house by ordering online your favorite local soda, regional beer, or a new cocktail for your next virtual happy hour.
1. Alabama’s Slammer
The name may evoke memories of college parties, the movie “Cocktail,” or large, red drink pitchers at restaurant chains. The Alabama Slammer was born in Tuscaloosa near the University of Alabama as a shot. Made from the flavored liquor Southern Comfort, amaretto, sloe gin, and orange juice, this drink is a favorite throughout the South.
2. Alaska’s Double Shovel Cider
Produced by the first micro-cidery in Alaska, this gluten-free hard cider is made with local ingredients such as apples, berries, and syrup. Double Shovel dry ciders are available in 400 locations throughout the state.
3. Arizona’s Lemonade
Thanks to a local high school teenager, lemonade is now the official beverage of Arizona. With more than 300 sunny days a year in the state, it’s not hard to see why residents love cooling off with a cold glass of lemonade on a hot, dry day.
4. Arkansas’ Razorback
This Southern drink made of vodka, amaretto, coffee liqueur, and spiced rum is named after the University of Arkansas’ football team. The Razorbacks got their name from a coach who thought they played like a wild band of hogs. Take it easy on this seriously strong cocktail, or you might find yourself acting like one too!
5. California’s Red Wine
A California Red is made with a selection of grapes such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cab franc, malbec, or petite sirah and is the largest California wine produced. It’s created by taking the finest of the season and mixing them to make the winemaker’s best-tasting blend.
6. Colorado’s Coors Light
This infamous light beer is made in Golden Colorado, close to Rocky Mountain National Park. The second best-selling beer in America is known for its golden color and silver cans. Made with Rocky Mountain spring water and American barley, it’s a favorite across the country.
7. Connecticut’s Sarsaparilla Root Beer
Since 1912, Hosmer Mountain Soda has been making old-fashioned New England flavored soft drinks like Sarsaparilla Root Beer. Known for bold, throwback soda flavors, this family-run company makes 80,000 cases of soft drinks a year. If you’re local, check out their special flavor of the month varieties.
8. Delaware’s Dogfish Head IPAs
Dogfish Head became one of the most profitable microbreweries in America by making IPAs outside of the beer holy trinity of water, barley, and hops. They are known for their unconventional, culinary-like ingredients such as raisins, spirulina, quinoa, lemongrass, and even saffron. While initially only available in Delaware and the East Coast, you can now find their beers nationwide.
9. Florida’s Orange Juice
It’s not a surprise that OJ is the official state beverage in Florida, where most of America’s citrus fruit is grown. On your next vacation, visit one of the state’s orange groves and see how America’s OJ is made.
10. Georgia’s Scarlett O’Hara
If you’re a fan of the Cosmopolitan martini, try a Scarlett O’Hara. Invented to promote the movie “Gone with the Wind,” this drink is tart, sassy and strong, just like Scarlett. This cocktail is made with cranberry and lime juices plus bourbon flavored with peaches, Georgia’s state fruit.
11. Hawaii’s Blue Hawaii
When Elvis filmed the movie “Blue Hawaii” at The Hilton Hawaiian Village in 1961, a hotel bartender created this signature blue cocktail. Made with rum or vodka, pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix, and blue-hued Curacao liqueur, this tropical drink can bring the Aloha spirit into your home.
12. Idaho’s Black Velvet
Idaho is one of the states that doesn’t have an official beverage. The most purchased liquor in the state is a nice backup. Produced since 1951, Black Velvet Canadian Whisky was initially known as Black Label. The distiller eventually changed its name to match its distinctive velvety taste.
13. Illinois’ Dad’s Root Beer
Dad’s Root Beer is famous throughout the Midwest and was once one of the most popular sodas in America. Created in Chicago in 1937, the drink was named to honor the founder’s dad, who, like many other fathers, made homemade root beer in their homes for their families.
14. Indiana’s Sun Tea
This homemade drink is part of growing up in Indiana. Grab a large glass container, fill it with water and add your favorite tea bags. Leave it out in the sun to heat the water and slowly brew the tea. After three, or more hours, pour the tea over ice and add lemon if you like.
15. Iowa’s Blue Water Margarita
Iowa’s signature drink is still up for debate, but this state favorite cocktail would be in the mix. Inspired by Iowa’s West Okoboji Lake, one of only three blue water lakes worldwide, whip one up by adding Blue Curacao into your favorite margarita.
16. Kansas’s Vignoles Wine
In 2019, Kansas declared Vignoles as the state’s official white wine grapes. This wine comes in both sweet and dry varieties and pairs well with Thai or Mexican cuisine. Grab a bottle for a BYOB restaurant or your takeout order.
17. Kentucky’s Mint Julep
Even though milk is the official state drink, the Kentucky Derby favorite Mint Julep is iconic. Enjoy the official drink of the derby at home by combining mint leaves, bourbon, and simple syrup. Pour it over crushed ice and sip it in its signature silver cup.
18. Louisiana’s Abita Beer
Founded in 1986, The Abita Brewing Company is the state’s largest craft brewery. They produce award-winning ales and lagers using water from a historic, local spring. Favorites include Abita Amber, Purple Haze, and The Boot.
19. Maine’s Moxie
Not only is this “distinctly different” soda the first bottled carbonated beverage in the country, but it is also the state’s official soft drink. Made from the bitter gentian root, this soda is an acquired taste. It has a loyal following in New England, and more recently, with gamers. The company’s story is fictionalized and a part of the plot in the fan-favorite video game Fallout 4‘s and-on Far Harbor.
20. Maryland’s Shasta
Despite being made in California, you’ll see Shasta soda pop everywhere in Maryland. This value line of sodas has been around since 1931 and now produces over 30 flavors.
21. Massachusetts’ Cranberry Juice
For two hundred years, this state has grown cranberries in crimson bogs. It’s no wonder Massachutes chose cranberry juice as its state drink. Visit a cranberry bog the next time you’re in the area to see how this juice is made.
22. Michigan’s Vernors Ginger Ale
Created in 1866 by a Detroit Pharmacist, this soda with extra carbonation is still a regional favorite. With a strong ginger flavor, it was originally aged in barrels to achieve its distinctive taste.
23. Minnesota’s Tom & Jerry
Once the temperatures start to drop in Minnesota, grocery stores line their shelves with plastic tubs of sweet, cookie-like Tom & Jerry batter. This premade batter isn’t for baking, though. It’s a base to mix with brandy, rum, and warm milk for a unique hot toddy.
24. Mississippi’s Barq’s Root Beer
While also beloved in Louisiana, this soft drink was invented in Biloxi in 1898 and first became a Mississippi Gulf Coast favorite. Edward C. Barq, a chemist who worked on sugar plantations, experimented with different soda pop flavors until he landed on this “root beer with bite.”
25. Missouri’s Fitz’s Cardinal Cream
This red cream soda is a nod to the state’s professional baseball team and a classic American soft drink. Made on a vintage bottling line in the suburbs of St. Louis, this soda is a mix of bubble gum and vanilla flavors.
26. Montana’s Arrowleaf Milkshake
For over 25 years, locals and Yellowstone National Park visitors have enjoyed delicious milkshakes, ice cream, and sundaes from Arrowleaf Ice Cream and Grill. In a state that sells “everything huckleberry,” give their huckleberry ice cream milkshake a try!
27. Nebraska’s Kool-aid
Did you know that Kool-Aid is the official soft drink of Nebraska? Oh, yeah! A local husband & wife duo invented this family summer favorite in 1927. Mix up your favorite fruity flavor in a pitcher or even in a SodaStream.
28. Nevada‘s Picon Punch
This signature cocktail has its roots in Northern Nevada’s Basque region. This drink is made from Amer Picon liqueur, soda water, grenadine, a splash of lemon, and a touch of brandy. A strong, bitter drink that’s an acquired taste, it’s a regular request in bars across the state.
29. New Hampshire’s Apple Cider
With more than 1400 acres of apple orchards in New Hampshire, it’s no surprise that Apple Cider is the state’s official drink. Whether you grab a pitcher from a local orchard or a grocery store, curling up with a mug of hot apple cider feels like fall.
30. New Jersey’s Boylan Birch Beer
Birch beer soda was first invented by William Boyland, a New Jersey Pharmacist, in 1891. A Northeastern pop favorite, this soft drink is made from sweet birch bark and sap mixed into carbonated water.
31. New Mexico’s Chimayó
Legend has it that this cocktail was first made in 1965 at Rancho de Chimayo restaurant to use up extra apples. It’s still a popular drink in the Santa Fe area, especially in the fall when apple cider is widely available. Make one at home with tequila, apple cider, lemon juice, and creme de cassis, a sweet blackcurrant liqueur.
32. New York’s Seltzer
While LaCroix and White Claw seltzers are popular now, it has been a go-to drink of New Yorkers for generations. So popular, especially in Jewish areas of the state, seltzer was dubbed “Jewish champagne.”
33. North Carolina’s Cheerwine
This uniquely Southern, wild cherry-flavored soft drink was invented in Salisbury in 1917. This soda is so beloved that the regional grocery store Food Lion now carries a Cheerwine flavored ice cream and cake.
34. North Dakota’s Woodchipper
This classic American IPA beer is made by Fargo Brewing company, the longest operating brewery in the state. They make most of the beer produced in North Dakota and create seasonal favorites like Pomegranate Plum Sour ale.
35. Ohio’s Tomato Juice
It’s not a surprise that tomato juice has been the official state beverage since 1965, as the tomato is a big piece of Ohio’s economy. The original drink designation coincided with the announcement of the state’s annual Tomato Festival, which still occurs today.
36. Oklahoma’s Roy Rogers
Roy Rogers, The King of Cowboys and star of the movie “Oklahoma,” didn’t drink alcohol. So when a boy’s version of the Shirly Temple was made, it was dubbed the Roy Rogers. This soft drink “mocktail” is made with cola and grenadine, a pomegranate flavored syrup.
37. Oregon’s Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, outside of Portland, is one of the world’s premier pinot noir producers. They’ve been growing wine grapes here since the mid-1800s that create a more rustic, earthy red wine compared to fruit-forward wines from California.
38. Pennsylvania’s Lager Beer
Lager beer and Pennsylvania go hand in hand. Between “The Munich of America” (Lancaster, PA) and the oldest brewery in the country, the modern-day craft beer moment can be traced back to the state’s German immigrants. The love for lager continues today with favorites like Yuengling, Iron City, and Rolling Rock.
39. Rhode Island’s Coffee Milk
This official state beverage is similar to chocolate milk but is made with coffee-flavored syrup. While this drink is mostly available in New England, beloved brands like Autocrat Coffee Syrup are available online. That means that no matter where Islanders live, they can still enjoy a cold glass of coffee milk.
40. South Carolina’s Sweet Tea
People gather and chat over a glass of ice-cold sweet tea all over the South, but South Carolina was the first home to tea plants. Make your own by brewing a strong pitcher of black tea, adding sugar, and storing it in the fridge. Pour over ice and serve with lemon or mint.
41. South Dakota’s Martini
The South Dakota Martini is a simple midwest bar classic. Take your choice of light beer and add a pickle. It’s that easy! Some say the drink became a workers’ happy hour favorite because after a long day sweating in the sun, people craved a salty drink.
42. Tennessee’s Whiskey
There’s nothing more iconic to Tennessee than whiskey. The land, water, and climate are ideal for whiskey production, and they’ve been at it since before the Civil War. Home to Jack Daniels, the first distillery in the country, Tennessee also has a craft whiskey culture with new producers like Chattanooga Whiskey Company.
43. Texas’s Big Red
A Waco chemist created this cult favorite red cream soda in 1937. While many describe the taste as bubble gum or cotton candy, it is actually a mix of orange, lemon, and vanilla flavors. Big Red is a big part of growing up in Texas with a loyal and celebrity following.
44. Utah’s Brigham’s Brew Root Beer
Wasatch Brewery makes this strong, vanilla-flavored root beer named after Utah’s founding father, Brigham Young. It’s made locally in small batches and uses cane sugar for a taste that’s not overly sweet.
45. Vermont’s Maple Seltzer
What’s more Vermont than maple syrup? Sweetwater Bottling Company uses Vermont sugar maple tree sap to create this sweet sparkling drink. This family-owned small business makes 12 natural beverages with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
46. Virginia’s Rye Whiskey
The commonwealth state’s official spirit is courtesy of The Model of a Modern Major General, George Washington. Once the largest whiskey producer in America, his Mount Vernon estate continues to produce rye whiskey today.
47. Washington’s Coffee
It’s no surprise that the state that gave the world Starbucks chose coffee as its official state beverage. Perhaps the dark, rainy weather in Seattle inspired its renowned coffee culture. As depicted in the TV show “Frasier,” residents regularly visit their favorite cafe for coffee.
48. West Virginia’s White Sulphur Julep
Dubbed “the original mint julep” by the historic Greenbrier Resort, its origins go back to 1808. This cocktail consists of Hennessy VS Cognac, fresh mint, sugar and finished with mint and powdered sugar garnishes. For almost two hundred years, White Sulphur Springs vacationers, presidents, and celebrities enjoyed this drink.
49. Wisconsin’s Milk
With America’s Dairyland as a nickname and cheeseheads for residents, it’s not a surprise that Wisconsin is one of 28 states with milk as their official state beverage. Got Milk, Wisconsin? Believe you me says the second largest producer of milk behind the state of California.
50. Wyoming’s Boilermaker
This no-nonsense drink has been around for over 200 years, but there’s no clear answer to its origins. Some say it’s an ode to the state’s Old Faithful Geyser. When a shot of whiskey is dropped into a beer, bubbles erupt to the top like the state’s famous landmark. Others say that the drink was a favorite happy hour order of train builders (boilermakers) to chase away a hard’s day’s work.
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This article ran on Your Money Geek, MediaFeed, and MSN and has been reprinted with permission.
I’m Monica—truly a planner at heart! I’ll be bringing you along for the ride at PAH. Whether it’s my Frugal Fannie life, family activities in my region, family road trips, couples getaways, or timeshare traveling, I’ll be sharing my plans with ya’ll!