America’s Hyper-Local Cocktails
Whenever you travel, it’s always a good idea to focus as much as possible on experiencing the local styles, sights, and flavors. Learning about local customs, eating foods made with local ingredients, and drinking beverages that are either made locally or enjoyed specifically in that location, often make for the most satisfying, eye-opening, and palate-enriching experiences—wherever you are.
No matter where in America you travel, you’ll be able to find a margarita or a bloody mary, but what about a Fussfungle, a Bushwacker, or a Duck Fart? Chances are those hyper-local cocktails will only be available in Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Anchorage respectively.
Here are 5 fun, interesting, and mostly unknown cocktails that are considered to be “of a place.” They were not only created in those locations, they also form part of that place’s identity. In many cases, the specific cocktail is a variation of a more commonly known recipe, but in some cases the combination of ingredients is rather unique.
Fussfungle (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
The city of Pittsburgh is famous for inventing the Boilermaker (beer and a shot of whiskey) but it is also home to this hyper-local cocktail, which is basically a sweeter version of an Old Fashioned, made sweeter by the use of molasses.
In a rocks glass with one large cube stir together:
2 oz. Rye whiskey
1 oz. Burnt brown sugar-molasses syrup
2 Dashes orange bitters (optional)
Orange peel (optional garnish)
Yellowhammer (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
Bama football fans know this local cocktail well. Back in the 1970s, when Coach Bear Bryant was leading the Crimson Tide to multiple national titles and gaining national fame, the Yellowhammer (also known as the Alabama Slammer) became the adopted cocktail of all Bama fans. The Yellowhammer, named for the state bird of Alabama, is so popular that Tuscaloosa’s Gallette’s Bar reportedly sells about 5,000 of these cocktails at every Bama home game.
In a large mixing glass or pitcher, stir together:
2 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Rum
1 oz. Amaretto
4 oz. Orange juice
7 oz. Pineapple juice
Serve in a 20-oz. cup over ice.
Duck Fart (Anchorage, Alaska)
Some drinks are just fun to order at a bar, regardless of how they taste. This cocktail, however, happens to taste great—like a sweet-brandied chocolate cream—and it looks cool, too! Knowing how well Batch 22 plays with Kahlua and cream, we were inspired to create a variation of this drink, substituting Batch for the whiskey. The variation? We call it the Reindeer Fart.
1 part Kahlua
1 part Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 part Crown Royal (or Batch 22 = Reindeer Fart)
In a small, thin glass, layer the three alcohols by pouring the Kahlua first, then slowly and gently pouring the Irish Cream on top and finishing with a gentle drizzle of whiskey or Batch 22 as the final layer.
Horsefeather (Lawrence, Kansas)
This mule-adjacent local cocktail was invented in Lawrence, Kansas, in the 1990s and it quickly became a regional favorite in the Kansas City region. The recipe is an iteration of the classic Horse’s Neck cocktail, which is similar to a Moscow mule.
Fill a highball glass 3/4 full with ice and mix in:
1.5 oz. Whiskey, rye, or blended whiskey
4 oz. Ginger Beer
5 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all the ingredients with ice in the glass (squeeze the lemon wedge into the drink) and stir well.
Bushwacker (Nashville, Tennessee)
Esoteric, hand-crafted, artisan local cocktails are usually the focus of cocktail content these days, but sometimes it’s fun to consider a straight-up party drink. That’s where the Bushwacker comes in. This frozen blender drink is related to the Mudslide and the Pina Colada; it’s rum-based but has other types of liquor as well. The original recipe for the Bushwacker can be traced to the Caribbean, where its popularity spread along the Gulf Coast of the United States before it made its way north and inland.
Somewhere along the way—no one knows exactly how or why—Bushwackers became a party-drinking staple in Nashville, Tennessee. In bars around the Nashville area, Bushwackers outsell margaritas and daiquiris by a mile.
If you order a Bushwacker in Nashville proper, you’re likely to get it made with whiskey instead of rum (the “Nashville way”). Either way, you’ll wind up with a sweet, creamy, glass of deliciousness.
2 oz. Dark rum
1 oz. Coffee liqueur (such as Kahlúa)
1 oz. Dark creme de cacao
2 oz. Whole milk
1 oz. Cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
Garnish: nutmeg, freshly grated
Combine all the liquid ingredients in a blender with a cup of ice. Blend until well combined and frothy. Pour into a Hurricane glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon.
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