(STACKER) — Every U.S. state has something it’s proud of — and that’s especially true of its signature drinks. These are drinks that locals love and ones tourists love to seek out. You know the ones we’re talking about.
Can you imagine a trip to California without a glass of Napa Valley red wine? Or breezing through Seattle without a piping-hot cup of coffee? Sometimes it’s the signature drink that helps to solidify a destination’s character.
There is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to defining a state’s signature drink. Some states even have drinks that are designated as their official state beverages.
In fact, the most popular state beverage across the country is, believe it or not, milk—19 states claim milk as their official state beverage. And then there are other states that are well-known for their drinks, like Nebraska and its Red Beer, a concoction of beer and tomato juice similar to Mexico’s “Ojo Rojo” hangover cure. There are also drinks like sweet tea with vodka from South Carolina or Jack Daniel’s from Tennessee.
These drinks are state icons, even if they don’t have official state symbol status. Tourists and locals alike always seem to find a reason to seek them out and do a taste test for themselves in order to embrace the flavors of our 50 states.
So what are the signature drinks from every state? Stacker looked at official state websites, news, culinary profiles, and historic reports that tie specific beverages to states across the country. Some states had several drinks in the running, so in those cases, the majority ruled.
Are you ready to discover signature beverages from across the country? In fact, do you even know the signature drink from your home state? Read on to discover which drink is the favorite in your state and in states around your region. You can also explore the entire national list here.
Virginia: George Washington’s Rye Whiskey
George Washington, a Virginia native, has his obvious claims to fame. But did you know he also distilled whiskey? Produced at his Mount Vernon home in the 1790s, the rye whiskey is still in production today. In 2017, it became one of the signature drinks of the state.
Continue reading to see other signature drinks in your region.
Kentucky: Mint julep
For more than two centuries, Kentuckians have been filling their highball glasses with mint juleps. The official drink of the Kentucky Derby, according to Taste of Home, mint juleps include bourbon (another Kentucky native), sugar syrup, and fresh mint.
Bones are strong in the state of Maryland. That’s because milk has been the state drink since 1998. Maryland cows are world-famous for their black and white spots. According to Maryland Manual, as of 2019, the state had around 43,000 milk cows.
North Carolina: The cherry bounce
Technically, the official state drink of North Carolina is, once again, milk. But in the spirit of keeping things interesting, let’s look at its unofficial cocktail, the cherry bounce. Spoon University says that the signature cocktail was created at Hunter’s Tavern near Raleigh and consists of cherries, sugar, and your choice of hard alcohol.
South Carolina: Sweet tea and vodka
There are few things more Southern than sweet tea. And while sweet tea itself was invented in Virginia, Firefly Distillery on South Carolina’s Wadmalaw Island created the very first blend of sweet tea with vodka, according to The Daily Meal.
Tennessee: Jack Daniel’s
If there’s one thing Tennessee does well, it’s whiskey. Lynchburg, Tenn. is home to the world-famous Jack Daniel distillery. Whether you’re crafting a cocktail, mixing it with classic Coke, or sipping it on the rocks, you’re right at home if you’re drinking Jack in Tennessee.
West Virginia: Gin and tonic
You may associate a gin and tonic with a chic pub in London, but West Virginia is no stranger to this botanical blend. Gin and tonics are local favorites in the state, usually served with aged gin, tonic, seltzer, and lemon oil, says The Daily Meal.