To many in the USA, Delaware is a small parcel tucked in somewhere on the Eastern seaboard. The nation’s second-smallest state by area is often overshadowed by nearby states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia — or lumped in with its peninsular neighbor Maryland. Its largest city, Wilmington, the capital of U.S. credit card banking, was mostly known for being the address where we mailed our MasterCard and Visa bills in the days before online bill pay.
Unknown to many, the Small Wonder state is a truly hidden gem. However, with the ascension of longtime senator and former Vice President Joe Biden to U.S. president, Delaware is piquing the curiosity of people from around the nation.
Nicknamed the First State — because it was the first of the 13 original states to ratify the Constitution — Delaware is set for a new dawn. And Wilmington, a short hop from D.C., is being promoted as HOTUS (Hometown of the United States).
So what’s to know about the Diamond State? According to Delaware’s official government website, its motto is,” Liberty and Independence,” its official colors are colonial blue and buff, the state bug is the ladybug and the state beverage is milk. Milk? What about a state cocktail?
While there isn’t an official state cocktail, Biden’s resident city of Wilmington got its own signature cocktail in January, thanks to a competition sponsored by Aviation American Gin and promotional campaign “It’s Time, Wilmington!”
1.5 oz. Aviation gin
0.75 oz. peach-infused simple syrup (you can order this premade)
1 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Ground cinnamon garnish
Combine gin, syrup and lemon juice in a shaker tin. Shake. Strain into a martini glass and serve up, no ice. Garnish with ground cinnamon.
Simply called “The Wilmington,” this concoction is forged from Aviation gin, a tasteful spirit with elements of cardamom, coriander, French lavender, anise seed, sarsaparilla, juniper and two kinds of orange peel. The gin is enhanced with the addition of peach-infused simple syrup, lemon juice and cinnamon. It was created by Kate Gantner and Fazal Vandal, both University of Delaware alumni.
The winning tipple gives a nod to Delaware’s history as home to the nation’s first commercial peach farm, as well as to the peach blossom, the official state flower. It beat out more than 25 submissions, many of which also showcased ingredients with a Delaware connection, for example: strawberries (the official state fruit), Delaware-produced Halo spiced honey liqueur, Wilmington-harvested honey and Wawa lemonade.
The results were announced during a virtual event from Le Cavalier at the venerable Hotel du Pont. The dedication was made by Delaware State Sen. Sarah McBride, the highest-ranking transgender official in United States.
“The flavor profile of The Wilmington is sweet, subtle and a testament to our city and state,” according to Lauren Van Hise of #WilmToday. “The ingredients of peach simple syrup, lemon juice, Aviation gin and cinnamon blend together and collaborate like our city does — each unique and distinct on their own, but more powerful and bigger together. It showcases our city’s creativity and resilience, all in that first sip. It goes down easy and, trust me, you’ll want another.”
Since President Biden is a teetotaler, he won’t be imbibing his hometown cocktail in the White House. However, if you’d like a taste, it’s available at several Wilmington spots, including Le Cavalier, Bardea, Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen and Chelsea Tavern. With many folks in the District still celebrating 46’s victory, hopefully this delectable beverage will fly south soon. In the meantime, with only four ingredients, it’s easily made at home.