Southern States sound-off on their must-taste cocktails.
A twist on the traditional mule, the Missouri Mule contains bourbon, applejack, lemon juice, Campari, Cointreau and fresh mint. The drink was created by the head bartender at the American Bar in London for Harry Truman, the only president from Missouri; the mule is also Missouri’s state animal.
Kentucky has two favorite drinks: bourbon, the holy grail of Bluegrass beverages, and Ale-8-One, a crisp ginger-and-citrus soda. Locals have long mixed the two to create simple cocktails. Now, Whiskey Dry in Louisville is taking the combination to the next level by adding coffee, sorghum syrup and homemade black-pepper tincture for a new cocktail called the Commonwealth.
What could be better than a drink named after the city that started Mardi Gras? From the John Emerald Distilling Company in Opelika comes the Mobilian, a drink made with the company’s special corn-based vodka, along with lavender simple syrup, lemonade and muddled blackberries. This refreshing drink will have you celebrating Mobile’s Mardi Gras all year long.
New Cherry Bounce
The New Cherry Bounce has its roots in a brandy drink served to members of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1792. Today, a bar in Raleigh called Deep South serves an updated version of the drink that features a mixture of cherry vodka, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice served over ice and topped off with club soda.
Ccharboneau Distillery’s Rum Milk Punch
In Natchez, Mississippi, Charboneau Distillery produces one of the most popular domestic rums in the country. The distillery’s on-site restaurant, King’s Tavern, features mixology classes where visitors can learn to make the decadent Rum Milk Punch. This wintertime drink features white rum, milk, vanilla extract and simple syrup, along with a dusting of nutmeg and chocolate.
Considered America’s first cocktail, the Sazerac was created in New Orleans in 1838 by a French Quarter bartender. The classic recipe includes rye whiskey or cognac, along with absinthe, bitters and a single sugar cube. This spring, a new cocktail and liquor museum called the Sazerac House will open in New Orleans.
The Crop Duster
At the Capitol Hotel and Bar, one of the most upscale institutions in downtown Little Rock, mixologists have created the Crop Duster, an Arkansas-inspired reimagination of the classic Aviation cocktail. It features the gin, maraschino liquor and lemon juice of the original mixed with homemade blackberry preserves to create a deep, rich color and flavor.
Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade
On Wadmalaw Island just south of Charleston, Firefly Spirits has become one of the most popular distilleries in the South. Though it produces a variety of flavored products, its most iconic is Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka. Locals love to combine this infused vodka with lemonade to create a cocktail that showcases the signature flavors of South Carolina.
This sweet coffee cocktail features Richland Single Estate Old Georgia Rum, which is distilled in the town of Richland, Georgia, as well as dark-roast coffee from one of the state’s numerous coffee roasters. Bartenders add a half-ounce of Richland’s pure cane sugar, stir and top it with a layer of heavy cream.
At Hill and Hollow restaurant in Morgantown, bartenders rely heavily on West Virginia ingredients to create a variety of cocktails. The restaurant’s signature Mountain Martini is a twist on the classic drink. It features Wicked Spirits Endless Wall Vodka, produced in Harrisville, West Virginia, along with a second ramp-infused vodka, dry vermouth and olives.
Blue Ridge Punch
In Charlottesville, Virginia, Ragged Branch Distillery produces a bourbon whiskey and uses the spirit to create a Blue Ridge twist on the classic island punch. The cocktail features Ragged Branch Wheated Bourbon, Pineapple Gomme, Campari, fresh lime juice and blueberries. The ingredients are shaken together, poured over ice and garnished with a pineapple frond.
Long Island Iced Tea
Though its name sounds Northern, the Long Island Iced Tea was created in Kingsport, Tennessee, in the middle of the Prohibition era. A local man named Charles Bishop developed the original recipe, which combined five liquors and a drizzle of maple syrup. The modern recipe also features lemon, lime and cola, and is served throughout Kingsport.