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Robert Francis: Pandemic painkillers: What we drank during lockdown

🕐 4 min read

We know that people drank more during the pandemic shutdown. But what did they drink? Well, a good clue comes from a recent study from Austin-based Upgraded Points. The study, which was based on Google Trends, determined that searches for “cocktail recipes” in March of 2020 were nearly double what they were in March of 2019.

Statistics on cocktail popularity were broken out at both the national and state levels.

“We knew that people’s preferences for cocktails might shift depending on the season of the year, so we did comparisons for the colder months (fall and winter) as well as the warmer months (spring and summer),” said Alex Miller, Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points.

According to the data, the most searched-for cocktail recipes nationwide during the spring and summer months were the “Painkiller,” (made with pineapple juice, rum, and orange juice), the classic Margarita (using tequila, triple sec and lime juice, and its variations) and the vodka-based Appletini.

As for national cocktail preferences during the colder – fall and winter – months, the Margarita again scored well, along with the Mimosa (a sparkling wine, often champagne, triple sec and orange juice) and the ever-popular “Moscow Mule,” a drink invented by Smirnoff vodka that uses a combination of lime juice, vodka and ginger beer.

According to the survey data, popular cocktails for in-home consumption vary not only by season but also by individual state. And Texas was firmly behind the  Margarita.

In some states, there were no noticeable seasonal fluctuations. For example, Texas favored the Margarita year-round.

The tequila-based drink that has a disputed heritage is also tops in Missouri, which is not much of a surprise and New Hampshire, which is a bit of a surprise.

If this story is making you thirsty, here’s a recipe from our publisher, Richard Connor:

From an old publisher learned from Mexican horse thieves:

There is only one original Margarita recipe. This is it. The Holy Grail.

Make no mistake this is about lemons not limes. Do not let a lime come close to this one.

11/2 oz White Tequila
1 oz Cointreau
½ oz fresh, fresh squeezed lemon juice from one lemon

Place in shaker filled with ice. Shake until the shaker is so cold you are close to frostbite. Serve straight up or over ice.

Drink one and be happy.

Two and you’ll think you are wearing a sombrero and can dance.

Three and you will be asleep on the floor with the sombrero covering your face.

If you’re still awake, read on …

Other state surprises include North Dakota, where Sex-on-the-Beach is the top drink. Good luck on finding a beach and/or sex in a state that has to really stretch itself to find interesting facts to tout. Meanwhile, in Indiana, the most searched-for drink is the Tequila Sunrise, which seems out of character.

In California, searches for cocktail recipes during the spring and summer months favored the Pink Lady (the classic WWII-era gin and grenadine drink for women) while during the fall and winter months search patterns revolved around the Paloma (made with tequila, lime juice and grapefruit).

One surprise was the state of Connecticut. While during the warmer months they favor the no-nonsense Jack and Coke, during the colder fall and winter period the non-alcoholic “mocktail” the Shirley Temple (where only grenadine, lemon-lime soda, ice and maraschino cherries, but no alcohol, is used) led the pack of popular recipe searches by pandemic stay-at-homers. Connecticut was the only state to favor a non-alcohol cocktail in any season of the year.

According to Miller, “Our study results clearly reveal that during this pandemic, people confined to their homes will attempt to recreate experiences that they had while traveling or socializing with others, and food and drink provide an emotional anchor to those past good times and feelings. People don’t always search out new experiences and emotions – they want to recreate the feelings of good times that they have already had and fondly remember.”

Upgraded Points is a travel company that provides insider strategies on maximizing travel points and rewards.

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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