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50 drinks in 50 states: The Iowa Sunrise

Get inspired to drink your way across America (without ever leaving your backyard) with Margaritaville’s 50 Drinks in 50 States series.

So Iowa, it’s the only state name that starts with two vowels. That’s something. There’s also the Hawkeyes, the University of Iowa’s team. Oh yes, there’s a ton of corn too. Some facts you wouldn’t know if you’ve never visited is that Strawberry Point is the home of the worlds largest strawberry, it’s the only state whose east and west borders are 100% formed by water (Missouri and Mississippi rivers) and that John Wayne was born here in 1907. Then there’s my personal favorite – it’s Illegal in Iowa to kiss for longer than 5 minutes.

I’ve heard, though, that there’s something about the light in Iowa. When the sun rises over the cornfields on the chilliest of mornings, the rays filters through in unbelievably beautiful colors. You may have heard of the drink Tequila Sunrise, made famous by Mick Jagger on his famed “cocaine and tequila sunrise” Tour. The simple syrup gets added at the end, creating gradations of colors not unlike the morning sky as the sun comes into view. Iowans (yes, that’s what they’re called) like to keep it real. They don’t need gradations. That being said, this refreshingly delicious drink captures the colors of an Iowa sunrise and tastes like something that should be imbibed poolside. Just be careful, they go down so easy you may find yourself in a kiss lasting longer than five minutes.

Iowa Sunrise

  • 2 oz. Margaritaville Spiced Rum
  • ½ oz. strawberry simple syrup
  • Juice from ½ an orange
  • 1 ½ oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. club soda

Strawberry simple syrup

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 -4 strawberries


  1. For the syrup: Combine sugar, water and strawberries in a small saucepan over high heat. Mash strawberries as the mixture comes to a boil. Simmer for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and allow syrup to cool completely. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Chill.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add rum, simple syrup, orange juice, and pineapple juice. Shake until very cold. Pour into a glass, including the ice, then top with club soda. Garnish with an orange slice.