Is the Iowa Sunrise Iowa’s signature cocktail? Bartenders say no

Published on January 24th, 2014 | by Joe Lawler

Yesterday Buzzfeed posted a list of state signature cocktails, listing ours as the Iowa Sunrise.

You know, the Iowa Sunrise: Bacardi white rum, vodka, lemonade, sprite, orange juice, and grenadine. What? You’ve never heard of it? Seemingly no one has.

We asked bartenders at three cocktail bars for their thoughts as well as suggestions for Iowa’s true cocktail.

Nick Eldredge, Americana
His thoughts on the choice: “I haven’t really even heard of that cocktail before. I’m not sure where they got that cocktail. I think that’s where Iowa was going for a while: fruity, fun and festive cocktails that were easy to drink. Now we’re seeing more Manhattans, Sidecars and developing things with a little more history.
His choice of cocktail: “I’d probably do something with bourbon or rye, because of Cedar Ridge and Templeton Rye.”

Matt Basart, Tonic, West Des Moines
Has he ever served an Iowa Sunrise? “No. That sounds like a whole bunch of fillers.”
His choice of cocktail: “What we sell the most of is the Moscow Mule, but that’s a very recent trend. I might go with an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan; something with Whiskey.”

Jennifer Frank, The Continental
Has she ever served an Iowa Sunrise? “I haven’t, but I primarily work during the day.”
Her choice of cocktail: “Maybe an Old Fashioned. A lot of people ask for that with Templeton Rye.”

About the Author

Joe Lawler covers music and more for Juice Magazine. E-mail him at or follow his updates on Twitter @JoeLawler

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