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Willie’s Cup at Geraldine’s
Willie’s Cup at Geraldine’s
Richard Casteel

Austin’s 16 Most Iconic Drinks

Wet that whistle with cocktails, beer, and more

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Willie’s Cup at Geraldine’s
| Richard Casteel

A good meal always requires a satisfying beverage as a complement, but Austin does goes one step beyond that. From an afternoon cocktail to a late night cheap liquor-beer deal to a hangover cure-all, this list offers something for everyone. Yup, we’ve even remembered the teetotalers with must-have sips like coffee, juice, and agua fresca.

The following list of Austin’s iconic drinks and where to find ‘em spans staples that have been around for years (Lone Star and Mexican Martini, we’re looking at you), plus an old favorite — Mattie’s 1965 Milk Punch — that returned for an encore all the way to relatively new cocktails like The Roosevelt Room’s Poet's Muse

If you’re looking for a beverage bucket list around town, consider this your guide. The map will take you around town from quintessential dive bars like Barfly’s to Live Oak Brewery’s taproom to a bunch of Austin standbys like Curra’s Grill and Broken Spoke. Plus, you’ll appreciate the pitstop at JuiceLand after some of the more potent offerings.

Together this group represents a range of prices and helps define the world of sipping, glugging, and chugging in this town. Disagreement is inevitable, but in our view, Austin wouldn't be Austin without the drinks on this list. All of these drinks are worth trying at least once.

Hungry yet? For defining Austin eats, check out the city's most iconic dishes, classic restaurants, plus best barbecue, burgers, and pizzerias.

Think of a drink that screams Austin that’s missing below? Let Eater know on the tipline or within the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Happy Meal at Barfly's

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This is the gold standard of dive bars complete with cheap drinks, no frills, no outside light, pool tables, a jukebox, and more. It should be no surprise then that its Happy Meal is comprised of a can of Lone Star and a shot of Jagermeister for about $5.

Barfly’s
Barfly’s
Barfly’s/Facebook

Mexican Martini at Trudy's Texas Star

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The potent Mexican martini is more of a variation of a margarita that a martini (and it’s certainly not Mexican). But it is wildly popular at all three of the Trudy’s locations.

Mexican martini at Trudy’s
Mexican martini at Trudy’s
Shirley L./Yelp

Tito's Vodka and Topo at Contigo Austin

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This dog- and kid-friendly neighborhood spot has an admirable cocktail menu however sometimes happiness comes in the form of a Tito’s Vodka and Topo Chico under the central Texas sky. It doesn’t get more Austin than that.

Contigo
Contigo
Contigo [Official]

Juice at JuiceLand

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Drink the rainbow at this Austin-based chain. With over 20 types of juices to choose from (including organic and cold-pressed varieties), there’s an option for every craving.

Mad Dog Margarita at Texas Chili Parlor

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Guy Clark memorialized the funky Lavaca Street restaurant and dive bar and this drink when he sang, “I wish I was in Austin at the Chili Parlor Bar, drinking Mad Dog Margaritas and not caring where you are” in the song “Dublin Blues.” The drink swaps out tequila for mezcal.

Texas Chili Parlor
Texas Chili Parlor
Stephen C./Yelp

Bloody Mary at Rio Rita

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When East 6th Street bar Rio Rita’s moved to Chicon Street in 2016, its reputation for serving up a killer breakfast of champions, the Bloody Mary, stayed intact. The tomato meets salt and citrus cocktail is capped off with celery, pickled okra, lime, olives, and banana peppers. Stay the course with the house special or be daring with a spicy infused vodka like one with habanero.

Bloody Mary at Rio Rita
Bloody Mary at Rio Rita
Tori M./Yelp

Austin Eastciders at The Mohawk

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Austin Eastciders prides itself on making cider the traditional way. Thanks to its blend of cider apples sourced from Europe and apples from Washington state, the taste is dry, crisp, refreshing, and balanced. Red River music venue and bar The Mohawk carries the original version, as well as other flavored varieties.

Cans of Austin Eastciders
Cans of Austin Eastciders
Austin Eastciders/Facebook

Poet's Muse at The Roosevelt Room

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Justin Lavenue and his bar The Roosevelt Room received national attention in 2015 after securing the title of Most Imaginative Bartender at a cocktail-crafting throw down held by Bombay Sapphire Gin. The winning drink, found on the bar’s menu today, is dubbed Poet’s Muse and its made with gin, poet’s cordial (pistachio milk sweetened with wildflower honey, cinnamon, star anise, vanilla bean, and matcha), a fresh citrus blend, and an umami tincture. It’s served in a chilled coupe and garnished with lime peel.

A cloudy yellow cocktail in a daiquiri glass against a very black room.
Poet’s Muse at The Roosevelt Room
The Roosevelt Room [Official]

Mezcal at Mezcalería Tobalá

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This intimate Oaxacan-style mezcalería upstairs from Whisler's offers a broad selection of mezcals including some rare finds. Order a half-pour (3/4 of an ounce) in a clay copita or a full pour in a traditional veladora glass.

Mezcal at Mezcalería Tobalá
Mezcal at Mezcalería Tobalá
Brett E/Yelp

Coffee at Cuvée Coffee

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Cuvée Coffee is often credited as both the city’s most popular roaster and a pioneer of specialty coffee in Texas. Sure you can get a cup at restaurants throughout Austin but why not make a stop to its East 6th Street coffee shop? Be sure to try the Black & Blue, its nitro cold brewed coffee, if you haven’t already.

Pouring coffee at Cuvée
Pouring coffee at Cuvée
Cuvée Coffee/Facebook

Willie’s Cup at Geraldine's

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As an ode to Willie Nelson, the patron saint of Austin music, Geraldine's created the Willie’s Cup. The creative take on a mint julep is made from double rye whiskey, housemade hemp seed milk, and muddled fresh sage. It’s served in a steel cup, wrapped with a red bandana, secured with a roach clip, and garnished with sage leaves — a legal alternative of the Willie-approved herb.

The Willie’s Cup at Geraldine’s
The Willie’s Cup at Geraldine’s
Geraldine’s/Facebook

Milk Punch at Mattie's at Green Pastures

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Green Pastures’ reimagined restaurant Mattie’s brought back its delectable 1965 Milk Punch, which is comprised of house-made sweet vanilla cream, aged bourbon, VSOP Cognac, and Jamaican rum and topped with a dash of nutmeg. It's available as a single serving or in a carafe that serves up to four.  

Green Pastures’ milk punch
Milk punch at Mattie’s at Green Pastures
Nick Simonite

Pitcher of Lone Star at Broken Spoke

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The duo brings together two long standing local symbols — a South Lamar dancehall founded in 1964 and an ever-popular Texas beer that also hasn’t lost its luster.

Broken Spoke.
Broken Spoke
Broken Spoke/Facebook

Agua Fresca at Taco More

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Find strong array of aguas frescas, from horchata to tamarindo to watermelon, at the three area taquerias.

Taco More
Taco More
Jennifer Y./Yelp

Avocado Margarita at Curra's Grill

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When Curra’s proudly boasts it is “Home of the Original Avocado Margarita in Austin,” purists may shudder — until they give it a try. The novelty frozen beverage with its refreshing/boozy/cold/creamy combination has been making believers out of locals and tourists alike for years.

Avocado margarita at Curra’s Grill
Avocado margarita at Curra’s Grill
Mark F./Yelp

Hefeweizen at Live Oak Brewery

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Founded in 1997, Live Oak Brewing Company is pegged as Austin’s original craft brewery. Its European-style microbrewery in Del Valle offers a taproom and biergarten with tours, special tappings, food trucks, and other events. Drop by and pick from the several all-year beers, plus seasonal and limited offerings.

Live Oak Brewing Company
Beer at Live Oak Brewing Company
Live Oak Brewing Company/Facebook

Happy Meal at Barfly's

Barfly’s
Barfly’s
Barfly’s/Facebook

This is the gold standard of dive bars complete with cheap drinks, no frills, no outside light, pool tables, a jukebox, and more. It should be no surprise then that its Happy Meal is comprised of a can of Lone Star and a shot of Jagermeister for about $5.

Barfly’s
Barfly’s
Barfly’s/Facebook

Mexican Martini at Trudy's Texas Star

Mexican martini at Trudy’s
Mexican martini at Trudy’s
Shirley L./Yelp

The potent Mexican martini is more of a variation of a margarita that a martini (and it’s certainly not Mexican). But it is wildly popular at all three of the Trudy’s locations.

Mexican martini at Trudy’s
Mexican martini at Trudy’s
Shirley L./Yelp

Tito's Vodka and Topo at Contigo Austin

Contigo
Contigo
Contigo [Official]

This dog- and kid-friendly neighborhood spot has an admirable cocktail menu however sometimes happiness comes in the form of a Tito’s Vodka and Topo Chico under the central Texas sky. It doesn’t get more Austin than that.

Contigo
Contigo
Contigo [Official]

Juice at JuiceLand

Drink the rainbow at this Austin-based chain. With over 20 types of juices to choose from (including organic and cold-pressed varieties), there’s an option for every craving.

Mad Dog Margarita at Texas Chili Parlor

Texas Chili Parlor
Texas Chili Parlor
Stephen C./Yelp

Guy Clark memorialized the funky Lavaca Street restaurant and dive bar and this drink when he sang, “I wish I was in Austin at the Chili Parlor Bar, drinking Mad Dog Margaritas and not caring where you are” in the song “Dublin Blues.” The drink swaps out tequila for mezcal.

Texas Chili Parlor
Texas Chili Parlor
Stephen C./Yelp

Bloody Mary at Rio Rita

Bloody Mary at Rio Rita
Bloody Mary at Rio Rita
Tori M./Yelp

When East 6th Street bar Rio Rita’s moved to Chicon Street in 2016, its reputation for serving up a killer breakfast of champions, the Bloody Mary, stayed intact. The tomato meets salt and citrus cocktail is capped off with celery, pickled okra, lime, olives, and banana peppers. Stay the course with the house special or be daring with a spicy infused vodka like one with habanero.

Bloody Mary at Rio Rita
Bloody Mary at Rio Rita
Tori M./Yelp

Austin Eastciders at The Mohawk

Cans of Austin Eastciders
Cans of Austin Eastciders
Austin Eastciders/Facebook

Austin Eastciders prides itself on making cider the traditional way. Thanks to its blend of cider apples sourced from Europe and apples from Washington state, the taste is dry, crisp, refreshing, and balanced. Red River music venue and bar The Mohawk carries the original version, as well as other flavored varieties.

Cans of Austin Eastciders
Cans of Austin Eastciders
Austin Eastciders/Facebook

Poet's Muse at The Roosevelt Room

A cloudy yellow cocktail in a daiquiri glass against a very black room.
Poet’s Muse at The Roosevelt Room
The Roosevelt Room [Official]

Justin Lavenue and his bar The Roosevelt Room received national attention in 2015 after securing the title of Most Imaginative Bartender at a cocktail-crafting throw down held by Bombay Sapphire Gin. The winning drink, found on the bar’s menu today, is dubbed Poet’s Muse and its made with gin, poet’s cordial (pistachio milk sweetened with wildflower honey, cinnamon, star anise, vanilla bean, and matcha), a fresh citrus blend, and an umami tincture. It’s served in a chilled coupe and garnished with lime peel.

A cloudy yellow cocktail in a daiquiri glass against a very black room.
Poet’s Muse at The Roosevelt Room
The Roosevelt Room [Official]

Mezcal at Mezcalería Tobalá

Mezcal at Mezcalería Tobalá
Mezcal at Mezcalería Tobalá
Brett E/Yelp

This intimate Oaxacan-style mezcalería upstairs from Whisler's offers a broad selection of mezcals including some rare finds. Order a half-pour (3/4 of an ounce) in a clay copita or a full pour in a traditional veladora glass.

Mezcal at Mezcalería Tobalá
Mezcal at Mezcalería Tobalá
Brett E/Yelp

Coffee at Cuvée Coffee

Pouring coffee at Cuvée
Pouring coffee at Cuvée
Cuvée Coffee/Facebook

Cuvée Coffee is often credited as both the city’s most popular roaster and a pioneer of specialty coffee in Texas. Sure you can get a cup at restaurants throughout Austin but why not make a stop to its East 6th Street coffee shop? Be sure to try the Black & Blue, its nitro cold brewed coffee, if you haven’t already.

Pouring coffee at Cuvée
Pouring coffee at Cuvée
Cuvée Coffee/Facebook

Willie’s Cup at Geraldine's

The Willie’s Cup at Geraldine’s
The Willie’s Cup at Geraldine’s
Geraldine’s/Facebook

As an ode to Willie Nelson, the patron saint of Austin music, Geraldine's created the Willie’s Cup. The creative take on a mint julep is made from double rye whiskey, housemade hemp seed milk, and muddled fresh sage. It’s served in a steel cup, wrapped with a red bandana, secured with a roach clip, and garnished with sage leaves — a legal alternative of the Willie-approved herb.

The Willie’s Cup at Geraldine’s
The Willie’s Cup at Geraldine’s
Geraldine’s/Facebook

Milk Punch at Mattie's at Green Pastures