Maine: Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy
It’s impossible to overstate the passion Mainers exhibit for this coffee liqueur. According to the Allen’s website, it’s the No. 1 selling spirit in the state. Originally associated with fishermen in “Downeast” Maine, the liqueur has overtaken every corner of Maine society from fishing towns to hipster Portland. Try the traditional equal parts concoction of milk and Allen’s, mysteriously called a Sombrero.
Maryland: Orange Crush
The best part about drinking in your state doesn’t have to be cool or on trend. Case in point: Maryland and its Orange Crush cocktail. A mix of vodka, triple sec, lemon-lime soda (Sierra Mist has become common) and the juice of an orange freshly squeezed through one of those tall, manual juicers, it’s the kind of thing that might come out of a frat party if the bros wanted to look like they were trying hard. But something magical happens when that orange gets smooshed in the juicer, and the drink transcends the boundaries that separate high falootin craft cocktail drinkers and those who like to pound shots and cheap beer. Sipping one of these on a summer day in the Baltimore harbor is practically a rite of passage for Marylanders.
Massachusetts: The Periodista
This variation on a Daiquiri somehow found a home in Boston, where it became popular during the cocktail revival of the ‘90s. While the drink has become a standby at Boston cocktail bars, it has failed to spread to cocktail bars in any other major drinking town, making it a bit of a local curiosity. Made with dark rum, triple sec, apricot brandy and lime juice, the drink has the same sweet-tart flavor of a classic Daiquiri but with a fruitier twist.
Michigan: Drinking Some of the Country’s Best Craft Brews
Vermont may have Heady Topper and California may have Pliny the Elder, but Michigan is still home to some of the country’s best beers. Ranked No. 4 by Thrillist as one of the top beer states, Michigan is home to Founders, Bell’s and a slew of other obsession-worthy small brewers like Jolly Pumpkin and Arcadia Ales.
Minnesota: Drinking While Ice Fishing
Minnesota is home to some fantastic breweries, dive bars with flip tab lotto tickets, and a now legendary tiki bar (what’s up, Psycho Suzi’s?), but to truly drink in the North Star State you have to embrace the cold and drink on a frozen lake. It might be called ice fishing, but really, it’s ice drinking. There is nothing more truly Minnesotan than hunkering down in an ice house and drinking beers while you wait for a bell to ring. Pro tip: You’re going to need lots of beers.
Mississippi: Getting Wild on Lake of the Ozarks
The web address for Lake of the Ozarks says it all—with a url that reads funlake.com, it’s a no-brainer than you’re going to have a good time. The area to check out for the wildest parties is aptly named Party Cove, and it’s not uncommon to see hundreds of boats—from yachts to jet skis—gathered together for afternoons of fun, sun and high-level debauchery. You might get pelted with a Super Soaker or water balloon, you’ll definitely consume plenty of adult beverages, and you’ll certainly get familiar with Party Cove’s lax laws on noise and toplessness.
Missouri: Legally Drinking Anywhere
Just a few years ago, Time named Missouri as the No. 1 state for drinking, and for good reason: You can legally drink (almost) anywhere in Missouri. The only places where you are not allowed to have an open container are schools, churches and courthouses. And what should you be drinking in your choice of public place? St. Louis’s own Budweiser, of course.
Montana: Sip ‘n Dip Tiki Lounge
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: You should drink at the Sip ‘n Dip Tiki Lounge. Because while going to Montana for the mountains and fly fishing and the great outdoors sounds nice and all, going to Montana and pretending that you’re under the sea with live mermaids is better. Every night of the week at the O’Hare Motor Lounge bar, mermaids put on a show in the indoor pool across from the barstools. On Tuesdays, the establishment’s mermen come out for ladies’ night Tiki Tuesdays. After you drink with the best of Montana’s oceanic life, then you can go see the mountains and drink at any of Montana’s great breweries.
Nebraska: Visiting the Alpine Inn
Known for their fried chicken and “wild animal” show, this Omaha, Nebraska, dive is a must visit. Choose from gizzards, livers or tenders, order a drink and grab a seat—preferably near a window. The live entertainment for the evening while you dine is a group of local raccoons that are fed previous guest’s table scraps. According to the owner, Glen Robey, nothing in the restaurant goes to waste. They even have kiddie pools for the raccoons to bathe in after they dine.
New Hampshire: Interstate Liquor Stores
A warehouse liquor store may not seem like a big deal to residents of the other 49 states, but the temples to affordable booze along New Hampshire interstates, labelled simply by number, are unlike any other liquor shop. New Hampshire’s lack of sales tax means holidayers heading to lake houses or mountainous campgrounds can pick up cases of bottles for cheap. According to a write-up in The New York Times, the stores have become crossroads for travellers all over the Northeast and Canada, all loading up on dozens of bottles for rural getaways.
New Jersey: Casino Drinks in Atlantic City
Atlantic City is a mashup of Vegas and the Jersey Shore: excellent boardwalk, gambling galore, and plenty of drinks on hand. While you can drink the day away at any number of beach-side bars, everyone knows the best drinks in life are free. The well drinks that come gratis as you risk your next rent check may not be the most astounding cocktails in the world, but there’s no more quintessential AC experience than pounding back free Jack and Cokes as you bet it all on black.
La Posta de Mesilla is about as far south as you can go in the U.S. It’s been around for more than 150 years, and claims that people like Billy the Kid, Kit Carson and Pancho Villa all stopped by. Today, it’s a shrine to good Mexican food and lots of tequila. The bar has more than 100 tequilas and a long list of Margaritas. Notables include a special bottling of Patron Anejo Barrel Select that can only be purchased at La Posta, and a 5-year-old Clase Azul Ultra-premium Anejo. La Posta has put a big focus on its tequila program over the past 20-plus years, and it shows.
New York: Drinking a Nutcracker at the Rockaways
Even if you’ve been to New York a hundred times (or you live here) and you’ve been to every world class bar in all the different boroughs, you haven't experienced anything like drinking in the Rockaways come summer. And, the official drink of the Rockaways is the Nutcracker: a drink sold at the beaches that is essentially a bottled, pre-made Jungle Juice. Only after you’ve basked in the sun on a hot towel, swimming periodically to cool down, with a belly full of Nutcrackers and that loose, hazy feeling in your head, can you understand the perfection of this experience.
Nevada: Drinking Your Own Whiskey at Pioneer Saloon
You can hit the 24-hour bars and have your Hangover experience in Las Vegas, or you can make your mark at Pioneer Saloon. It was founded in 1913 on the far side of the 300-person town of Goldsprings. The roof is an old piece of tin purchased from a Sears catalogue and there are bullet holes in the wall, but there are also updated sections with a kitchen and outdoor fireplace. The real draw is for the regulars, though. People can purchase 15-gallon Kentucky barrels and fill them with neutral spirit from The Las Vegas Distillery, as well as with whatever herbs, spices or other flavors they want in their custom spirit. Whatever place you call yourself a regular at, I bet you can’t tap into your own barrel with friends like you can at Pioneer Saloon.