Cocktails Only a Local Could Love

Cocktails Only a Local Could Love

White Linen

WHAT IT IS A cocktail made of gin, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, sugar, cucumber and soda water, served in a Collins glass.



Carl Barrett, a bartender at the Shady Lady Saloon in Sacramento, makes a white linen.

Max Whittaker for The New York Times

THE BACK STORY This piquant refresher was created in 2008 by the bartender Rene Dominguez and popularized at the Shady Lady Saloon, an early craft cocktail bar in the area. “It became the neo-classic of Sacramento,” said Jayson Wilde, a bartender who worked at the Shady Lady. “Everybody who cared about the craft worked there. They left and opened new spaces and made the drink there.” This year, Can Can Cocktails began selling a canned version of the white linen.

Brandy Old-Fashioned

WHAT IT IS An old-fashioned made with brandy, of course.

WHERE THEY DRINK IT Wisconsin and parts of Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan.

THE BACK STORY While the rest of the nation makes old-fashioneds with whiskey, Wisconsin has preferred domestic brandy for decades. The state’s bartenders mix it up with muddled orange and cherry, and top it with soda water or soda pop. Garnishes vary from more fruit to olives or mushrooms. The drink sometimes makes a tongue-in-cheek appearance on menus at trendy cocktail bars in other states. But mainly it remains a Midwestern thing.

Whiskey Ditch

WHAT IT IS Whiskey and plain water, served on the rocks.


THE BACK STORY This is nothing more than whiskey and water, but in Montana it merits a particular name, one that sounds like a forlorn pioneer mining town. According to Joel Maxwell, a bartender in Whitefish, it’s not as common a call as it once was. “In my experience, the whiskey ditch is most often ordered from older generations of Montanans and is seldom heard from younger drinkers,” Ms. Maxwell said.


WHAT IT IS Rye, ginger beer, bitters and lemon juice, served as a highball.

WHERE THEY DRINK IT Lawrence, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo., and thereabouts.

THE BACK STORY By the account of Ryan Maybee, a local bartender and bar owner who has made it his mission to track down the drink, this simple highball originated in Lawrence in the 1990s. “More than one old bartender claims they were flying through Old Overholt rye in Lawrence in the 1990s,” owing to the drink’s popularity, Mr. Maybee said. Though he has championed the drink, it remains largely a Kansas-Missouri affair.


WHAT IT IS Coors Light, a shot of amaretto and a splash of orange juice, served in a chilled mug.


THE BACK STORY This drink was likely an accidental invention at Edna’s Restaurant & Club, an Oklahoma City tavern. Edna Scott, the bar’s founder, “didn’t like to waste something, especially not alcohol,” said her daughter Tammy Lucas. “She was trying to make something, probably a boilermaker, and accidentally put something in, probably the orange juice.” That accident has been sold an estimated 1.7 million times since the early 1990s.

Recipes: Periodista | Lunchbox | White Linen

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