Boynton Beach's Sweetwater Bar & Grill: A Speakeasy Theme That Combines Classic Craft Cocktails With Specialty Microbrews
Monday, November 21, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.
By Nicole Danna
At the 6-month-old Sweetwater Bar and Grill in Boynton Beach, we dare you to find anything recognizable on the rotating cocktail and beer menu.
A quick once-over and you'll see there's not a single familiar favorite. No Cosmos, lemon drops, or mojitos -- not even a margarita.
And forget about ordering a Bud, Miller Light, or any other basic, boring beer. Try and all you'll get is a snicker from the staff. They don't have that type of thing at Sweetwater.
Basically, this isn't your average bar -- and these aren't your average drinks. Instead, prepare for authentic classic craft cocktails brought to you by bartender Sean Iglehart.
Like a speakeasy of the 1920s, the aptly named Sweetwater has managed to keep a low profile since opening in April, its small streetfront space off Federal Highway tucked into a clandestine spot known well only to the on-premise residents of the newly developed Las Ventanas. No advertising. No grand-opening celebration. No banners beckoning passing potential patrons. Just word of mouth, said owner and retired-businessman-turned-restaurateur Clint Reed.
Alongside Iglehart, Reed has armed the place with an arsenal of bitters, house-made infusions, specialty liqueurs, fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Take the baby Hudson whiskey barrels above the bar, for example, where Iglehart lets various concoctions infuse for up to 30 days before serving. Menu highlights include the Manhattan and the daiquiri that is nothing like the frozen, sugary blasphemy you'll find at other bars. The Spanish Inquisition is a potent (and spicy) blend of reposado tequila, cuerenta y tres (Liquor 43), sage, lime, and red pepper flakes.
Part of the authenticity also includes Iglehart's ritualistic execution of his craft, the drawn-out process of creating a layered cocktail using old-world style bar instruments. Prepare for a show, keep an eye out for the wooden swizzle stick, and be sure to sit back when he uses an open flame to infuse your drink with the oils from a lemon peel.
The six beer taps feature craft choices you won't find anywhere else.
The bar is provisioned with rows of fresh fruits, herbs, vegetables, and a unique assortment of garnishes.
Sweetwater Bar & Grill,1507 S. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach. Call 561-509-9277, or visit sweetwater33.com.