PHOENIX — A bid by a Gilbert teen to have lawmakers officially recognize lemonade as the state drink might be hijacked by the adults.
Garrett Glover hopes to persuade the Senate Government Committee on Monday, March 25, to add lemonade to the list of items that are considered “official” representatives of Arizona.
That list ranges from copper as the state metal to the Colt single-action revolver as the state firearm.
Glover pointed out that Arizona is known for “the five C’s,” specifically cattle, copper, climate, cotton — and citrus. Yet there was nothing official to represent citrus, he said.
The reason the teen chose lemonade, he said, was that Florida already claimed orange juice.
But House Bill 2692, which cleared the state House last month on a 57-3 vote, is getting more turbulence in the Senate, where it now needs approval of the Government Committee.
Sen. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson, wants the margarita as the official state drink.
Sun tea is proposed by Sen. Lela Alston, D-Phoenix.
And Sen. Juan Mendez, D-Tempe, is promoting Jamaica tea.
More than two dozen states already have an official state drink. So Glover thought it was time to add Arizona to the list.
“No other state has lemonade as their state drink,” he said.
But is it truly representative of Arizona?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its most recent report, said Arizona has 7,300 acres of lemons planted, producing about a million boxes. But that pales against California, where 21 million boxes came off 47,000 acres.
Glover dismissed the idea of choosing tequila, which first was proposed by Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, when the measure was approved by the House. Campbell, who voted against the bill, said tequila would be “in the spirit of the cultural diversity of this state.”
The drawback Glover sees: “It’s not something that every single Arizona resident could enjoy,” as the law makes alcohol off-limits to anyone younger than 21.
That’s not a problem with the beverage Mendez proposes. It’s pronounced ha-MAI-ca. And it’s essentially an herbal tea made from hisbiscus flowers.
“It all over the Mexican restaurants,” he said. “Anywhere you can get a burrito, you can get a Jamaica drink.”
Mendez said he’s not trying to undermine the essence of Glover’s effort. In fact, the senator, who was born in Arizona, said he always assumed we did have an official state drink. The Gilbert teen has the right idea — if not the right drink, he said.
Mendez said Jamaica tea is far better than what the majority of other states have picked: milk. “I supposed it’s because of the milk lobby,” he said.
The three Democrats aren’t the only ones who want to tinker with Glover’s proposal.
Sen. David Farnsworth, R-Mesa, has proposed his own amendment. It would keep the idea of lemonade as the state drink — but it would have to be pink lemonade.