The Manhattan may be a delicious, classic cocktail, but does it truly represent New York City? After all, this particular drink came to life in the early 1870s, so it’s safe to say the essence of the city may have changed since then. Since NYC needs a refresh on a cocktail that personifies it, then the nine other cities on the list below deserve their chance to have a drink made in their honor, too. I consulted with food and drink writers around the country to learn what makes their cities so unique, then matched those characteristics with representative liquors and spirits.
Boston: Hot Toddy
Image credit: Robbie Shade
What’s the most contemplative liquor on the market? Whisky of course, and since this is Boston, Irish Whisky is the only way to go. Instead of rocks, this cocktail heats up, counterbalancing the natural coldness of a Boston winter. Brew up a pot of Lipton’s Yellow Label tea (bear with me) and add a generous serving of the aforementioned booze to make those icy but thoughtful nights a little more memorable. This works just as well if you’re on the West Coast missing your Patriots and Red Sox.
Portland: The Necromancer
Image credit: Jamie Dwyer
Let’s eschew the obvious Pabst Blue Ribbon paired with a shot and delve into something more creative, because that’s what Portlanders would do. Absinthe feels like the most artistic of the liquors, having been a mainstay in creative diets for a long time now. Similarly, elderflower liquor is a whimsical addition to any cocktail, which is why The Necromancer, a play-on of the classic Corpse Reviver, is Portland’s cocktail. Plus, the herbaceousness of this drink would play well with Portland and the natural beauty for which it’s known.
Los Angeles: The McQueen
Image credit: Nserrano
Diversity and fusion almost go hand in hand – it’s hard to have one without the other. That’s why “The McQueen; is the perfect cocktail for LA. The very name is a shout-out to the film industry which built Los Angeles into the powerhouse city it is today, and instead of the more traditional tequila, Mezcal honors both the city’s Hispanic population and the characteristic smog of LA’s recent past.
New York: Martini
Image credit: King of Hearts
Finally we get to the impetus for this whole experiment. It’s plain to see that New Yorkers have a lot of impressions of their city, but can one cocktail address all these varying feelings? People from this city are known for being direct, which is why the right cocktail is one that gets straight to the point. That’s why New York gets updated with a martini, because this classic American city needs to be paired with a classic American drink that is cosmopolitan and influential, but packs a helluva punch.
San Francisco: Toronto
Image credit: SF(cropped).jpg">Bernard Gagnon
The City by the Bay’s history is rooted in hard-drinkin’ ruffians, and more recently, hard-drinking tech entrepreneurs. The denizens of San Francisco are also responsible for the survival of Fernet Branca, the Italian amaro that people hate to love, and vice versa. That brings us to the Toronto, the inappropriately-named but appropriately-boozy cocktail pumped full of Fernet and rye whisky, perfect for sipping on San Francisco’s perpetually autumn days.
Chicago: Tobacco Road
Image credit: Allen McGregor
Chicago is dark and gothic, characterized by wind and intense winters. What city-dwellers need is a flavor palette that acknowledges all of this city’s intricacies, unique histories, and formidable appearance. Channel your inner Al Capone with the Tobacco Road, a harsh, smoky cocktail full of ice that is full of flavor, but will keep drinkers guessing.
Miami: La Florida Rum Daisy
Image credit: Marc Averette
Florida’s most famous city is a melting pot of multiculturalism, which is most obvious through its food and drinks. This vibrant, energetic locale is exactly where a twist on the La Florida Rum Daisy should be enjoyed. The rum is an obvious addition, but a clear rum should be used to make sure the bright green of the Chartreuse is witnessed loud and clear. Pop in some extra cherries to truly indulge in this delicious drink.
Austin: Bacon Bloody Mary
Weird and fun-loving are great characteristics to play with for any bartender or mixologist. Kicking off with Texas’ love of BBQ brought us to Bacon Vodka, a truly weird concoction with a lot to offer. Nothing says fun-loving like starting your day with a drink, which is why this smoky liquor should be infused with tomato juice for a Bacon Bloody Mary.
Atlanta: Peach Julep
Image credit: Mmann1988
The South has so much to offer, especially when it comes to food and flavors. Sticking with the graciousness for which its people are known, and the peaches that have made Atlanta famous, we’ve selected a Peach Julep to represent this amazing city. Perfect in its peachiness, and gracious in its added warmth from the cognac, this unique drink is sure to have y’all come back now, ya’ hear?
Philadelphia: Philly Flyer
Image credit: Charles Homler
Philly Magazine has already done the work for us, and we’re choosing to honor the work they’ve done to create a “true Philadelphia cocktail.” No, it’s not a shot and a beer, although that would also work. Instead we have the Philly Flyer, a sour gin drink noted for it tasting bittersweet, which honors, “everything that is bitter and sweet about this tremendous town.” Sounds pretty grounded and tenacious to us!