50 Shots of America: North Dakota


In our continuing journey across the US via cocktail, we head almost to Canada, today, with a look at either the 39th or 40th state…


Rose Red

Rose Red

There’s some confusion as to which state rightfully comes next in our tour of the states by date of statehood. You see, North and South Dakota both came up for statehood at the same time (as part of the Enabling Act of 1889) and President Harrison knew there was quite the rivalry between the two as to which would be first. So, to remain completely neutral, he had his aid shuffle the petitions and did not look at which was which when he signed them. No one really knows which was #39 and which was #40, but North Dakota comes up first alphabetically, so that’s the way it’s usually listed.

Of course, when I think of North Dakota, I think of Fargo. Not the city, the movie, of course. And the infamous wood-chipper scene. I realize that it’s probably not the way most Dakotans (which means friend or ally) want to be remembered, but pop culture has it’s way. Still, if you’re planning a Fargo-themed movie night (for which I’d include Drop Dead Gorgeous even if it is set in Minnesota–there’s some cultural similarities thanks to strong Norwegian influences of both), this drink might be right up your alley:

Rose Red

1.25 oz Vodka
.25 oz Rosewater
few drops Grenadine

Combine the vodka and rosewater in a mixing glass with ice and stir until thoroughly chilled (30 seconds to a minute). Strain into a chilled cordial glass and drop in a bit of grenadine for effect. Garnish with a broken toothpick.

The wild prairie rose is the state flower of North Dakota and they are a leading producer of potatoes, among other agricultural pursuits, so that’s where the flavor notes for this drink comes from. If you can get a potato-vodka, even better, but any of your favorites will do.

There’s one other story I found fascinating about this week’s state: While Bismarck is, in fact, the capital of North Dakota, shortly after statehood was achieved, Jamestown was the preferred choice of many. Except those in Bismarck. A band of residents actually stole the state records from Jamestown, returned to Bismarck and refused to release them until the legislators came back to Bismarck. Realizing the move was more hassle than they wanted to deal with, the powers that be agreed to leave the capital as Bismarck but refused to official declare, proclaim or vote it into historical record.

Not bad, North Dakota, not bad at all.


Predictably enough, our next stop on the cocktail express (well, it’s more of a local with all the starts and stops) is just a smidgen south in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

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