Best Margarita 2013 | The Antioxidant Margarita at Rocco's Tacos | Food & Drink | South Florida

Let's face it. Once we get past 25, we spend the rest of our lives either trying to find the fountain of youth or drinking to forget the fact that too much Botox makes us look like crap. But what if we told you that a drink could actually be the key to staying young? Sounds like magical hocus-pocus, true. But there is some science behind Rocco's Tacos' Antioxidant Margarita ($11.50). The libation is made with Cedilla açaí liqueur, a spirit distilled from the açaí berry, which is known to have antioxidant properties. What's an antioxidant, anyway? Well, as you age, your body, much like the Tin Man's, oxidizes. Antioxidants cause a reaction that inhibits oxidation and has been thought to ward off lots of nasties like cancer and heart disease. So this is a margarita that's good for you. But how does it taste? Well, made simply with Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila, a premium aged tequila that's been filtered until colorless, a little fresh lime, and agave, it's what a margarita should taste like — bright, fresh, simple — and devoid of any corn syrup and antifreeze-colored syrups. And, should this wonderful libation add years to our lives, it's simply more time to enjoy another round of cocktails.

You wake up a groggy mess, your head pounding to the rhythm of your heartbeat, thanks to an all-out binge drinking fest the day before. You know what you need, and you know you need it fast: more alcohol. What better way to get it than a vitamin-soaked bloody mary? Steak 954's version of a wake-up call — the tomatillo bloody mary — comes with a combo of roasted tomatillo, cilantro, basil, garlic, fresh lime juice, and house-smoked tequila. Garnished with a house-cured pickled cucumber, it's available only on weekends — or until the fresh-made mix runs out. It's hard to choose over the original bloody mary, a spicy-sweet recipe made fresh with several types of chili peppers, tomatoes, and a secret blend of spices and ingredients that make for one hell of a drink, garnished with the restaurant's own dill pickles. No matter which way you go — or how many you put down — they're definitely worth getting up early for to make it one hell of a Sunday brunch.

Liz Dzuro

This is South Florida, where the frozen drink reigns supreme. Ask any tourist what sums up the Sunshine State experience and he'll probably wax poetic about his love for the piña colada. Cliché but true. Well, Kahuna Bar & Grill has the most amazing version of the coconut/pineapple concoction. The bamboo-lined walls and kitschy décor make this place a beach bum's paradise. There's no better spot to drink the day away. Made in-house, its colada is frozen and mounted in a handy-dandy wall dispenser. (Premixed is better when it comes to frozen drinks, trust us.) So play tourist and unabashedly sip away at a sweet, potent frozen dream. And if you're feeling particularly fruity, pair it with a banana liqueur floater. Jimmy Buffett would be proud.

One day many, many years ago, two brothers set out for a vacation in the Polynesian Islands, where they found a small tiki idol and decided to take it back home as a souvenir. Once back in Fort Lauderdale, the tiki idol spoke to them. It said it missed its homeland — especially the fantastic rum-based cocktails. The idol told the brothers that if they built him a fabulous bar, he would share his drink recipes with them. The brothers agreed and named the palace after the god. And so Mai-Kai was born. Every day, the tiki god is celebrated by a ritual called "happy hour," wherein 57 of the tiki god's own recipes are half-priced before 7 p.m. Who doesn't love a menu where the cocktails are divided into mild, medium, and strong? The Mara-Amu ($13.50) is a blend of rums and fresh fruit juices served in your own tiki that you can take home. Try the Black Magic ($14), a potent concoction of dark rums, tropical fruit, and coffee. All are served by pretty girls in sarongs and bikini tops. If you haven't been to Mai-Kai in a while, it's time to go back. If you've never been — for shame. It's time to pay homage to the tiki gods... and a slice of living history.

Like a smooth, potent piña colada dream, the Seafood Bar's pineapple-infused martini ($12.50) is a tropical delight. The oceanfront establishment is known for fruity vodka infusions — and it's a well-deserved reputation. While bartenders marry kiwi, strawberry, oranges, and other sweet treats with the clear spirit, it's the pineapple that packs a punch in this cocktail. First, fresh-cut pineapple steeps slowly (two to two-and-a-half weeks) in a vodka bath; then it's paired with coconutty Malibu rum and pineapple juice. The icing on this tropical cake is the drunken pineapple pieces. So sit under the open-beam ceilings and sip your fruity concoction. Gaze out at the water. Watch as brightly colored fish weave their way through coral right underneath your cocktail napkin (yes, the bar top is also an aquarium). This is a little piece of South Florida heaven. It's what millionaires' dreams are made of, at a price your average joe can afford — every once in a while.

Some local purveyors of craft beer may offer more draft selections; others may offer more bottles than the 150 microbrews here; but what this bar/coffee shop/café offers is a well-curated mix. The tap list changes often and may include anything from Ballast Point's Victory at Sea barrel-aged imperial porter to Dogfish Head's potent 120 Minute IPA to any number of Florida-born-and-bred brews. The beer geeks at this watering hole have friends in high places, often getting their hoppy little mitts on kegs that escape the grasps of dozens of other well-connected crafthounds in the region. Oh, and they like to share.

Tabatha Mudra

Wine. It's both the nectar of the gods and a royal pain in the neck. If your idea of a good wine is whatever's the supermarket twofer, then you need gentle education. Wine Watch gives you just that. Sure, the selection is intimidating at first — look at all the labels! Some of them aren't even in English! Plus what the hell's the difference between a Cabernet and a Rioja, anyway? With thousands of wines to choose from, how are you going to know which goes with the leftover pizza in the fridge and which pairs nicely with a pint of Ben & Jerry's and half a tuna sandwich? Let the staff at Wine Watch choose for you. They'll help without a hint of snobbiness. Better yet? Take one of a few weekly tastings and for about $35, you'll be a wine expert by the end of the evening. Wine is easy when you get the hang of it.

Is it a dive? Not at all. Is there wine? Plenty — 40 reds and 20 whites by the glass, dispensed by the ounce from a sophisticated Enomatic dispenser system where argon — a noble gas — keeps open bottles good for more than 30 days. The result is an impressive array of vino in a casual-chic setting from nearby Roxy's Pub owner John Webb. The slogan "Not So Snooty" is proudly proclaimed on servers' T-shirts. That means you'll never feel out of place, underdressed, or pressured to order an expensive wine. The technology keeps bottles fresh, meaning you can sample just a two-ounce tasting until you find the perfect mate for your plate. Also be prepared for what comes out of the kitchen — "American tapas" like the fried chicken for two served with a Tabasco-honey mustard slaw. There's live jazz on Thursday and Friday, and brunch Saturday and Sunday offers bottomless bloody marys for $10.

In 1930s Cuba, the Padrino family opened its first establishment, a small food market and winery with a storefront that doubled as a meeting spot for locals to visit and catch up on the latest news. Family members relocated to the U.S. in the late 1960s and opened their first restaurant in Hialeah in 1976, offering the neighborhood a taste of the same recipes they cooked in Cuba. Since then, they've opened Padrino's locations in Hallandale Beach, Plantation, Boca Raton, and, most recently, Orlando. Today, the family's son Mario, alongside his wife, Nayade, continues to serve treats like spicy beef-stuffed picadillo empanadas with fresh guava chutney, pulled pork and grilled onion lechon asado sandwiches, and higados de pollo, chicken livers seasoned in spices. Keep an eye out for the pig roast the second weekend of every month — a nod to Cuban tradition.

One of the best things about living in Florida is "Floribbean" fare, brought to us by a wide variety of hole-in-the-wall spots where bargain-deal dishes are influenced by immigrants from all over the Caribbean — Haitians, Bahamians, Jamaicans, and the people of Trinidad and Tobago. No matter the island, traditional dishes share some common ingredients, most notably goat, chicken, conch, and shrimp paired with cassava, okra, mango, rice, pea, bell pepper, coconut, and plantains. If you love akee fruit and salt fish, okra-heavy callaloo, or jerk-spiced meats, there is no place better to try them all than at Donna's Restaurant and Lounge. Owner Karl Gordon opened this establishment — one of several Caribbean-themed restaurants of the same name — six years ago in Lauderhill, an area known today for its heavy concentration of Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine. The prices are good, and portions are large. And if you're craving a taste of some truly amazing jerk chicken or an authentic curry goat, here both are served as a daily lunch special Monday through Friday for just $4.99. That includes rice and peas and salad.

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