You already know South Florida is delightfully alcohol-soaked: We've got dives that boast 23-hour licenses and clubs that don't shut down until 4 a.m. We've got ubiquitous fishbowls of syrupy beach booze, robust beers found at snobby gastropubs and microbreweries, and liquor stores on every damned corner. We take it for granted, perhaps, but we've got no problems getting our buzz on when it's necessary (or, any time we're conscious).
But what if we want something with a little more character? A drink with TLC in every drop? A beverage brimming with taste, style, and as many flavored rums as possible? Where can we get a drink that tastes like a cucumber? How about a drink so dangerously alcoholic that the bar puts a limit on how many you can order in one night? What about one big and strong enough to share with four of your closest friends?
Don't worry; you can find all that and more: South Florida's obsession with booze extends to quality signature cocktails, and so without further ado, I present to you the most magical drinks in town...
10. Prickly Pear Margarita at Canyon Southwest Café (located at 1818 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-765-1950.) This icy pink drink is sweet, sour, filled with tequila and prickly-pear-cactus syrup, and absolutely legendary.
9. Barrel O' Rum at Mai-Kai Molokai Lounge (located at 3599 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-563-3272.) Really, every drink on the menu -- from their simple pina colada to their fiery Mystery Drink -- is an awesome specialty. But what really takes the cake is their Barrel -- served in a ceramic Donkey Kong-style barrel -- a concoction of citrus, honey, and enough different kinds of rum for just one of these bad boys to make you loopy.
8. Cubeltini at Trina (located at 601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-567-8070.) The brainchild of a Trina bartender, this drink is more mojito than martini, made with cukes, vodka, mint, sugarcane, and lime. It's smooth, rich, refreshing, and goes down as cool as a cucumber.
7. Jungle Juice at Da Big Kahuna (located at 17th S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Ste. 380, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-530-4867.) This fascinating concoction is served in a giant shell bowl. It blends several different rums and is served with pieces of cut fruit floating around the bowl like shipwreck survivors. Tip: Offer someone a piece of the cut fruit -- which, by the way, is super-alcohol-infused because it's been soaking in three different rums -- they'll expect sweet, but they'll taste poison.
6. Midnight Manhattan at Whiskey Blue (located at 401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954 414-8302.) This swanky blend of bourbon, sour mix, Grand Marnier, white cranberry juice, and syrup will make you feel like a high roller.
5. Chile Raspberry Martini at Absinthe Boca (located at 5150 Town Center Circle,
Boca Raton. Call 561-620-3754.) This sweet, sour, and spicy concoction contains cranberry juice, chili peppers, raspberry vodka, and lime juice and will confuse the hell out of your taste buds. But it won't matter, 'cause you'll be drunk.
4. The Blue Martini at Blue Martini (located at 2432 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-653-2583.) So, Blue Martini is where all the pretty people go to sip classy-ass drinks and mingle. This blend of Van Gogh Blue Vodka, sour mix, orange juice, Blue Curacao, and citronge will loosen you up for the mingling. Plus, it glows: It's an acid trip in a glass.
3. Grape Martini at Matty's on the Drive (located at Matty's on the Drive, 2426 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors. Call 954-564-1799.) Some people might call these things Midnight Martinis, but not at Matty's -- where the mascot is a creepy anthropomorphic grape. They're $5 at 10 p.m. on Fridays, the special ingredient is Welch's grape juice, and they're deliciously addictive. A personal favorite.
2. RuPaul's Rum Punch at Lips (located at 1421 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Ste. 105, Oakland Park.) If you're at Lips, you might be distracted by all the scantily clad sex-monster divas. But the RuPaul is not to be underestimated. Filled with Malibu, Bacardi, grenadine, orange juice, and pineapple, it will make you feel fabulous.
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1. The Devil's Hammer at YOLO (located at 333 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-523-1000.) According to the menu, you can be served only three of these heavy-hitting hammers per night. What else do I need to say?