This NCAA season, show your team spirit with your spirits. We can’t promise that your favorite team will make it to the Final Four, but we can promise that you’ll drink well for the rest of tournament season thanks to our roundup of signature drinks from a number of your favorite March Madness contenders’ hometowns. Don’t have a hometown team? We have an easy-sipping beer or cocktail with your name on it, too. Cheers all around.
1. Apricot-Whiskey Smash
Kentucky fans might be partial to a Mojito, but the fruit of this cocktail makes it a great pairing with all those salty snacks and hot wings you’ll chow down during the game. Feel free to substitute any stone fruit, fresh or frozen. Get our Apricot-Whiskey Smash recipe.
2. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Hailing from the swamp of Gainesville, Florida, The Jones is a popular eatery with craft cocktails, like this woody St. Augustine rum paired with mango purée and lime plus the minty, peppery flavoring of gunpowder pearl mint tea. Top it with Champagne (or sparkling white wine) and pour it down that gator gullet. Get the recipe.
3. Basil Lime Gimlet
Nothing sweet about this cocktail, just bold and herby. The drink featuring Grey Goose vodka, lime, basil simple syrup, and basil leaves comes from Aut Bar in Ann Arbor, home of University of Michigan. Get the recipe.
4. Respect Your Elders
Tart calamondin citrus fruits formed the foundation of this chilled wine cocktail using Sauvignon Blanc from Good Oak in Tucson, Arizona. Blood orange juice and elder syrup make a fine beverage with high rankings. Get the recipe.
5. New Glarus Spotted Cow
If you’re rooting for Wisconsin’s Badgers, odds are you know New Glarus, and for that you have a one-up on any opponent. No need to muddy this farmhouse ale—just smooth, easy drinking. Try not to be too smug. Find it here.
6. Green Apple Sparkler
What better way to celebrate Washington’s abundant apple crop than with a tangy, sparkling cocktail? Made nonalcoholic or spiked, this is a great match for your hottest hot wings and salsas. Good fuel for cheering for those Bulldogs in Spokane. Get our Green Apple Sparkler recipe.
7. The Chardonnay Cover-Up
There’s one at every gathering: that party-goer who opts to bring the cheap bottle of wine over the cheap six-pack. This Aperol-fueled batch cocktail will make that wine more than welcome. Get our Chardonnay Cover-Up recipe.
8. The Dirty Flower
9. Ginger Pear Cosmopolitan
Better than your standard cranberry-lime Sex and the City cocktail, this recipe from Monarch in Wichita, Kansas, starts with house-infused pear vodka, and adds ginger liqueur and a cranberry juice float. Find it here.
— Original article by Kelley Peters on March 11, 2015; updated by Amy Sowder on March 18, 2017.
Kelley Peters is a Brooklyn-based wine writer and educator. She still sometimes gets confused in wine shops.