Food & Drink

Where You Should Live, Based on Your Favorite Drink

Memorizing a dictionary’s worth of classic cocktails is common practice for any bartender worth their salt(ed rim). But just because you can get a Sazerac or a Mai Tai anywhere nowadays, doesn’t mean those drinks are equally delicious everywhere. If your current neighbors just don’t understand your obsession with Brandy Old Fashioneds or Alabama Slammers, it’s time to pack up and move to a city that truly gets you.

If you love fernet, you should live in San Francisco

San Fran’s odd obsession with fernet has been well documented. Bay Area bartenders gave the world the “bartender’s handshake,” a shot of fernet shared in mutual delusional love. Get yourself to SF and shake a few hands, and you’ll ingratiate yourself into the fernet community in no time.

If you love a Sazerac, you should live in New Orleans

The Sazerac is so important to its home town of New Orleans that the state legislature enshrined the drink as the official cocktail of the Big Easy. The Sazerac was invented there way back in the 1830s, so moving to N’awlins and drinking one will make you part of a nearly 200-year-old tradition. If stirred lowballs aren’t your thing, New Orleans also makes a good home for any lover of frozen Daiquiris, which come in styrofoam cups in 7-Eleven Slurpee proportions.

If you love a Brandy Old Fashioned, you should live in Milwaukee

Wisconsin may seem like fly-over territory to some disrespectful East and West Coasters, but it’s the homeland for anyone who likes brandy in their Old Fashioned. The riff is so popular in the Midwest state that most bars pre-batch their own “bug juice,” a mixture of sugar, water and Angostura, in order to save time when making 10,000 of these cocktails. That sweet inclination also explains the other Wisconsin drinking peccadillo—turning the classic Grasshopper cocktail into a milkshake (as is done in supper clubs all across the state).

If you love a Last Word, you should live in Seattle

This equal parts gin drink is totally infatuating, which is why we’re so glad that Murray Stenson, of Seattle’s Zig Zag Café revived it from the cocktail graveyard. If you are a member of the (rapidly expanding) cult who calls the hypnotizingly green drink a favorite, head to the spot of its rebirth and lose yourself like a forgotten cocktail in the mists of happy hour.

If you love a Mint Julep, you should live in Louisville

Louisville summers can be brutal, but the weather justifies a supreme Mint Julep habit. While the frosty, minty beverage will be available to any Louisville transplant all summer long (and winter, if you really want one), the annual influx of visitors and even more Juleps during the Kentucky Derby will soon become the annual highlight of your year.

If you love a Manhattan, you should live in New York

There’s nothing like ordering a Manhattan in the Big Apple itself. With countless “improved” renditions around town and plenty of upscale watering holes serving elegant interpretations, the island is rife with Manhattans. Plus, with the rapid proliferation of new bars in the city, you’ll never run out of new versions to try.

If you love an Alabama Slammer, you should live in Tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosans are fiercely dedicated to both football at the University of Alabama and its traditional drink. Maybe you picked up a taste for the Slammer elsewhere while watching a game with a few Crimson Tide expats, or maybe you just really love SoCo (no judgement), but down in Tuscaloosa you’ll find 100,000 fellow screaming fans—just don’t tell them you’re only screaming for another round.

If you love a Piña Colada, you should live in San Juan

Two bars in Old San Juan lay claim to the original Piña Colada—Barrachina and the Caribe Hilton—but you can hear blenders whirring at hotels all across town. With a steady supply of rum and crushed ice, beautiful Spanish colonial scenery to relax in and crashing waves to lull you, San Juan is paradise for lovers of this pineapple-coconut libation.

If you love a Mai Tai, you should live in Honolulu

The Mai Tai wasn’t actually invented in Hawaii, but that doesn’t stop resorts across the islands from serving gallons upon gallons of the rum drink to thirsty guests. The drink has become part of that island fantasy that so many people have, but so few act on. Don’t be one of those sad landlocked fellows. Get that Mai Tai on the beach—complete with paper umbrella—today and every day forever.


If you love a Margarita, you should live in El Paso

You can get a decent Margarita in pretty much any city in Texas—there are countless debates over the best Marg in Austin, Dallas and Houston—but only in El Paso, right on the Mexican border, do you have immediate access to the wealth of tequila (and mezcal) from Mexico. There, you can try making a Margarita with tequilas less commonly available in the U.S., like a perfectly balanced joven tequila or a deep, earthy tequila made with the traditional tahona.


If you love a Mojito, you should live in Miami

An international move to Cuba may not be in your future, but you can still sip the best Cuban Mojito this side of Havana if you relocate to Miami. On your first sun-bleached day in town, stroll down Calle Ocho, grab yourself a media noche and find yourself a Mojito with the freshest darn mint you can—then remember that this is your daily routine from now on. Now that’s the life.