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How to make some of Mississippi River Country’s signature cocktails

Raise a glass to the iconic tastes of Mississippi River Country---here's how to make some of our most famous drinks from the comfort of your home.

Old Fashioned cocktail at supper club in Oshkosh Wisconsin
Credit: Travel Wisconsin

Raise a glass to the iconic tastes of Mississippi River Country—we’re home to can’t-miss cocktail destinations like New Orleans (where many of America’s most famous cocktails were invented), as well as regional specialties like Wisconsin’s Brandy Old Fashioned and classic Bloody Marys.

Here’s how to craft some of Mississippi River Country’s most famous cocktails at home.

Old Fashioned, Wisconsin

No trip to Wisconsin is complete without sampling the state’s official cocktail, the Old Fashioned. These drinks—traditionally made with brandy or whiskey—can be found at establishments throughout the state, but to get the best experience, head to a place like Minocqua in northern Wisconsin, which is home to iconic supper clubs that offer classic cocktails and delicious food alongside stunning natural scenery.


  • 2 0z. brandy (Korbel) or whiskey
  • 2-4 0z. sour mix, Squirt or grapefruit soda (Old Fashioned Sour); 7-UP or Sprite (Old Fashioned Sweet)
  • Bitters
  • Sugar cube or simple syrup
  • Garnish – can include anything from orange slices and maraschino cherries to olives and pickled mushrooms
  • Ice


  • Place sugar cube or simple syrup in a cocktail glass, add 2-3 dashes of bitters and muddle
  • Fill the glass with ice, pour in brandy or whiskey, and top with soda or sour mix
  • Apply your garnish of choice

Bloody Mary, Illinois

The Bloody Mary is a staple of bars, restaurants, and even breakfast spots across the Midwest, and you’ll find a wide variety of this tomato juice-and-vodka cocktail all throughout Mississippi River Country. This version features horseradish vodka from Collinsville (the horseradish capital of the world), located in the Great Rivers and Routes region of southwest Illinois.


  • Tomato juice
  • Vodka (use horseradish vodka for an extra kick)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Celery salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt


  • Make the Bloody Mary mix to taste – combine the tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, garlic salt, black pepper, and Tabasco in a large pitcher
  • Rim your glass with a mixture of celery salt and kosher salt
  • Fill the glass with ice and add 2 ounces of vodka then top it off with the Bloody Mary mix

French 75, Louisiana

This classic cocktail dates back to the 1920s (with other similar variations appearing as early as the 1800s) and takes its name from a French cannon. You’ll find this drink all over Mississippi River Country, but why not go to New Orleans—which combines rich French history with some of the best bars in the country—to sample this iconic cocktail alongside traditional offerings like the Sazerac or the Hurricane.


  • 1 ounce gin
  • 2-3 ounces champagne
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 sugar cube


  • Place sugar cube in a champagne coupe, then pour in the gin and lemon juice
  • Stir and then top with champagne
  • Let the drink sit so the sugar cube starts to melt, then gently stir again and add a lemond rind for garnish