101* DRINKS You Have to Try in Northeast Florida Before You Die

A quotation from famed literary drunk Ernest Hemingway had a kind of special resonance with our staff as we prepared the feature to wrap up the year. “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk,” the king of compositional machismo once slurred. So, after tasting more than 100* drinks and taking copious notes at watering holes and restaurants in all six Northeast Florida counties that make up Folio Weekly’s distribution footprint, we had no other choice but to heed the words of Papa Hemmingway. So we sat in front of our typewriters (laptops) and bled.

OK, it was less dramatic than that.

In actuality, we’re happy to report that preparing this feature was one of the most enjoyable experiences we’ve had in quite some time. We got to sample many delicious adult beverages, experience the great variety that each sub-area of the region has to offer, and interact with some radical and friendly bartenders and barflies.

The list we now offer is based on recommendations from patrons, bar managers, bartenders — and in the cases of a few dives, the establishments’ salty dog regulars.

These are the drinks to try in Northeast Florida before you die. Get to work!

Matthew B. Shaw


AMELIA ISLAND, FERNANDINA BEACH, YULEE

Brett’s Rum Punch at Brett’s Waterway Café
Containing no fewer than five distinct rums, this fruity cocktail is a punch in more ways than one. The Fernandina Beach mainstay’s signature drink is everything you’d expect from an island destination: bright, tropical and intoxicating.

 

Proseco Natale at Ciao Italian Bistro
Fans of wine-based cocktails are in for a treat: The Proseco Natale, found only at Italian eatery Ciao in Fernandina Beach, is made with Proseco, elderflower essence, a dash of pear juice and a splash of citrus. Top it with a sprinkle of basil and you end up with something distinctively herbaceous.

 

Pete’s Cable Car at The Salty Pelican
Of the many drinks on The Salty Pelican’s menu, none may be more signature than Pete’s Cable Car, their sweet-and-sour iteration of the Sidecar. Like any good drink found on the island, this one is spiked with rum and Grand Marnier and sports a sugar rim.

 

 

AVONDALE/ORTEGA

Anything Cold at Harpoon Louie’s
A great deal of Northeast Florida’s charm is in its natural beauty. Sipping a cold beer on a hot day, gazing at one of the area’s lovely waterways from Harpoon Louie’s dock, is easily one of the most scenic beers you’ll ever drink. Sip and chill at your leisure.

 

Crucial Taunt at Restaurant Orsay

Named after the fictional band fronted by Tia Carrere’s character in Wayne’s World, Cassandra (schwing!), the Crucial Taunt – Flor de cana rum, housemade Thai chili-infused Aperol, pineapple-ginger shrub (a drinking vinegar), and lime juice – is garnished with a lime wedge and Thai-chili pepper, making for a spicy kick on the back end of a drink that’s perfectly sweet – much like when Wayne Campbell learns Cantonese to impress his Babe-raham Lincoln.

 

 

BEACHES

Smoke on the Rye at Azurea One Ocean Resort
Atlantic Beach • Danny Welsh, Azurea One Ocean bartender and creator of the Smoke on the Rye, captured the taste of glamping. Rugged and refined at once, this mixture of Redemption rye whiskey, cardamom bitters and a bourbon-apple reduction is topped off with a toasted lemon twist. The key to this smoky sensation is the scotch rinse given to the glass prior introducing the cocktail.

 

The Hot Jorge at Bo’s Club (aka Bo’s Coral Reef)
Jax Beach • After 52 years, this beaches’ institution has got cocktails on lock. This in-house creation by one of their own combines muddled jalapeno and mint with watermelon vodka and a sugar rim. It’s at once hot, sweet and delicious. Just like that tall drink of water across the bar.

 

Culhane’s Signature Irish Coffee at Culhane’s Irish Pub
Atlantic Beach • The perfect drink for a nice, cool winter day, this drink, which originated in Shannon, Ireland, is carried year-round at the famed Culhane’s Irish Pub. The cream topper, whipped up fresh for every drink, shows just how much the team at Culhane’s cares that you are warm and happy. It’s the peak of the fresh coffee, 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey and a tad of brown sugar.

 

A Flight at Engine 15
Jax Beach • Some microbreweries are just too damn good to choose only one delectable brew … so make your life easier and have a flight (or two). We love this graduation of J-ville to Route 90 Rye Pale Ale to Woody Sack with a solid Straight Thirty Weight Extra Stout finish. Copy it or create your own.

 

Watermelon Bliss at Flying Iguana Taqueria & Tequila Bar
Neptune Beach • The team over at Flying Iguana start with Maestro Dobel reposado tequila, infuse it in-house with jalapeños, then add muddled watermelon, cucumber and agave, making the Watermelon Bliss delightfully light and easy to imbibe. This drink appeals to both the avid tequila drinker and those still recovering from some decade-old tequila experience.

 

Cucumber Dill Lime Aide at Fly’s Tie Irish Pub
Atlantic Beach • Served only during Sunday brunch (or if you know who to ask), this refreshing cocktail is a perfect candidate for a hair of the dog remedy. Cucumber vodka, fresh cucumber and lime juice and chopped dill go down quite easily when the eyes are still a tad blurry from a long night. The key to this beauty is the addition of watermelon ice cubes. Yep. Watermelon ice cubes.

 

The Rocket Bomb at Ginger’s Place
Jax Beach • It’s like this: Cruising on your bike around the beach on the Fourth of July, it suddenly occurs to you. What better way to say “I Love You, ’Merica” than with a beer-mug-size shot at Ginger’s Place? Smirnoff Ice with a shot glass full of Blue Curaçao and raspberry vodka dropped inside. Top it off with a touch of grenadine and the Rocket Bomb is a mug of red, white and blue with a “F*ck yeah” salute.

 

Quetzalcoatl at Green Room Brewing
Jax Beach • When someone says, “It’s our end-of-the-world beer,” you are essentially obligated to drink one (or several, as long as the limited release lasts — or as long as the Earth continues to spin). Named for a Mesoamerican deity, this imperial red with notes of cassava root, chocolate, poblano and serrano peppers, is high-octane yet shockingly easy to drink.

 

Hopslinger at Hoptinger Bier Garden & Sausage House
Jax Beach • With 62 taps, beer is a safe bet at this Jax Beach bar, curiously referred to as a “bier-garden” though it’s not outdoors and lacks much in the way of flora. That being said, the Hopslinger – St. Augustine Gin, Citrus, maple, cherry bitters, Grand Marnier, and a splash of soda – is a treat for any adventurous fauna looking to venture just outside their Bavarian boundaries.

 

The Macallan Rare Cask at Island Girl Cigar Bar
Neptune Beach • You might not always drink the finest single malt, but when you do, it should be The Macallan Rare Cask at Island Girl. Drink it neat or on the rock – true connoisseurs know luxury Highland Scotch is best served over a single ice ball.

 

Basil Grapefruit Martini at Mezza Restaurant
Neptune Beach • Here is a well-dressed Southerner who knows how to keep cool on a humid afternoon. No, not the bartender. The actual drink itself. Fresh basil, simple syrup, Square basil vodka and grapefruit juice join together in this rich martini. Keep cool and stay out of the sun with a few of these at Mezza.

 

The Butterfinger Martini at Ocean 60
Atlantic Beach • When the waiter brings the post-dinner dessert menu at Ocean 60, look past the cakes and custards and get your fix from the Butterfinger Martini. This visually appealing drink mixes vanilla vodka, white Godiva chocolate, Frangelico, Half & Half and crushed Butterfinger – a must-try masterpiece.

 

Tall Budweiser at Pete’s Bar
Neptune Beach • With all the fun activities at Pete’s – table tennis, bumper pool, Big Buck Hunter, and pool for a single quarter (take that, inflation) – it’s ever so important to stay hydrated. A tall boy will quench your undying thirst for American-style lager while at the same time, the unrelenting smoke will give your lungs the workout of a lifetime. Hey … it’s a dive … get over it.

 

Jax Beach Crush at The Pier Cantina
Jax Beach • Fresh-squeezed orange juice, Triple Sec, flavored rum and Sprite make for a good way to start at a day at the beach and also keep the party going. This drink, refreshing from the first sip, even comes in its own signature reusable cup, which means you have an excuse to order another. You know, because of nature and stuff.

 

Moscow Mule at Poe’s Tavern
Atlantic Beach • Reyka Vodka, fresh limes and Gosling’s Ginger Beer are stirred in copper for Poe’s fresh and cool version of this cocktail-of-the-moment. Here is a drink that belongs in a derby, with big hats and clean suits winning big on the trifecta.

 

The Pisco Sour at Shim Sham Room
Jax BeachYou likely didn’t know you could get a little taste of Peru and Chile at the beaches. Well, you can, in the form of Shim Sham Room’s Pisco Sour – the South American classic that’s made from Pisco Porton, lemon juice for sour, a little syrup for sweet, and velvety egg whites to coat the palate.

 

The Beach Cruiser at Sliders Seafood Grille
Neptune Beach • Here is a drink that is a true reflection of an establishment. Delicious, fun and laid-back, The Beach Cruiser is rum, pineapple, orange juice, grenadine and ginger ale. Long-time Slider’s manager Mike Johns says everyone makes it a bit differently, so it’s only logical to come in often and try it a few times.

 

Pincho at The Wine Bar
Jax Beach • The Wine Bar proudly uses Argentina’s best-selling white wine to create a refreshing, beachy cocktail. Savor a glass of New Age White wine on the rocks, with just enough soda water to make it fizzly-licious, and you’ll be feeling like a Jimmy Buffett song: amazingly mellow.

 

Zangria at Zeta Brewing Company
Jax Beach • Zeta’s unique Zangria uses three kinds of liquors. Banana liqueur, peach schnapps, agave nectar, a splash of Sprite, and Pinot Noir gives the drink its robust, ruby color. The Zangria looks like punch and tastes like candy.

 

DOWNTOWN, SPRINGFIELD, NORTHSIDE

Tully on the Rocks at Bay Street  Bar & Grill
Some moments are meant for Irish whiskey. The recently opened Bay Street Bar & Grill on … um … Bay Street is the spot to indulge in Tully on the Rocks (for the uninitiated, that’s code for Tullamore Dew over ice) and a couple of friendly-ish rounds of old-school games like Mario Kart and Street Fighter. Hadouken!

 

Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout at Burro Bar
Chin up to this statuesque bar and tuck into Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti while you ponder life’s secrets beneath taps from years gone by at Burro Bar, which recently shocked Jacksonvillians by going smoke-free. Smoke or not, at between 9.5 percent and 10.5 percent ABV, you’ll be high in no time.

 

The Edinburgh at Dos Gatos
It can be expected that the team over at Dos Gatos is going to keep it original. From the creative mind of Bar Manager Casey Shelton, The Edinburgh was crafted for folks who think they don’t like Scotch. Muddled lemon, lime, orange and basil marry well with Glenlivet 12 and elderflower liqueur, creating a true house classic.

 

Guinness with a Jameson Sidecar at Fionn MacCool’s Irish Pub
You don’t need to be an Irishman to feel like one when you’ve got an ice-cold Guinness with a Sidecar of Jameson Irish whiskey in front of you at Fionn’s. After a couple of sips at this homey spot on the St. Johns River, you’ll be feeling seriously lucky.

 

Black Widow at Hourglass Pub
Hourglass Pub is where you drink Black Widows – MacKenzie’s black cherry hard cider mixed with Green Room Brewing’s Count Shak-u-la Stout – that taste just like cherry cola (see-oh-el-aye, cola), while brushing up on your old-school Nintendo and/or Sega Genesis skills.

 

Dark ’n’ Stormy at Indochine
This isn’t a drink; it’s an experiment in a glass! The bottom layer of ginger beer with lime patiently waits to be combined with Kraken Black Spiced Rum in a tall glass. Mix it up or drink it in flavorful layers. Mmmm-mmmm.

 

Sidecar Named Desire at Mark’s Downtown Nightclub
A new addition at the Urban Core’s most popular weekend watering hole, this take on the traditional Sidecar – freshly squeezed lemon, Courvoisier, Tuaca (honey vanilla citrus liqueur), shaken with ice – has an earthy, homey taste. The martini glass, with half-sugar rim and a lemon twist, makes it a classy winter drink that’s bound to catch on as temperatures drop.

 

AUCDD at Mavericks Live
This isn’t a drink, it’s an experience! Most kickass drink specials stay a few seasons before going the way of the wind, but Maverick’s $10 AUCDD (All You Can Drink Drafts, that is) keeps going strong year after year. It’s the perfect accompaniment to smokin’ tunes courtesy of whatever amazing live act is on stage.

 

Baked Apple Sazerac at The Volstead
#Downtownisonfire is more than a marketing ploy with Volstead’s version of the Sazerac, a classic cocktail straight outta The Big Easy. Flames and sparks engulf the combination of apple, absinth and cinnamon, making the Volstead’s variant of Baked Apple Sazerac a true sensation for the eyes, nose and palate.

 

Zodiac Punch at Zodiac Bar & Grill
Grab a seat at this Downtown institution and order a Zodiac Punch. It blends four fruity flavors of Cîroc Vodka – peach, pineapple, coconut and berry – with orange, pineapple and cranberry juice in a tall glass. After a few of these, you’ll be feeling like P. Diddy, the $735-million-dollar man.

 

 

MANDARIN, JULINGTON

Johnny Vegas Bomb at Cheers Orange Park
Are you ready to go buck wild Vegas style? Then try the Patron Silver, Watermelon Schnapps and Red Bull concoction that is the Johnny Vegas Bomb — essentially a shot in a full glass. For a milder, darker-tasting iteration, try the plain Vegas Bomb, which substitutes Crown Royal and butterscotch for the tequila and watermelon. 

 

Swamp Water at Clark’s Fish Camp
Twenty years ago, the bar team at Clark’s Fish Camp needed a signature drink, so they decided to stroll right down to the creek itself and scoop up a cup of swamp water. Seriously though, the tasty, green concoction is a mix of vodka, rum, triple sec and Blue Curaçao that will definitely bite back if you’re not careful.

 

Agave Nectar Margarita at Don Juan’s Mexican Restaurant
Few things in life are as satisfying as chips, salsa, and margaritas. Don Juan’s hits the mark on all three. Their Agave Nectar Margarita keeps it simple, with organic agave nectar and fresh lime juice splashed on the rocks with Partida Blanco, a tequila so legit that its origins are in Tequila Valley.

 

Tolloy Pinot Grigio at Enza’s Italian Restaurant
Pears and flowery magnolia sing in Enza’s Pinot Grigio. The Grigio is neither sweet nor overly dry, with a crispness that makes the wine easy to sip. This white wine shines with Enza’s Grouper Françese, or anything that’s light and lemony.

 

Naked Pear at Harmonious Monks
The obvious joke to make when discussing Harmonious Monks’ Naked Pear – melon liqueur, pear vodka, sweet-and-sour mix, Sprite, and a splash of pineapple – would be some sort of reference to how alcohol lowers one’s inhibitions and affinity for the wearing of garments. But we’ll just say the drink is delicious and avoid exposing ourselves as unimaginative.

 

The Hurricane (Cat 5) at Hurricane  Grill & Wings
Put up the shutters and order an Uber, because this sweet and tangy combination of two shots of rum, orange and pineapple juice, grenadine and a 151-proof floater will definitely bust the Saffir-Simpson scale. Like a hurricane, you can see it coming — you prepare as best you can and still get leveled.

 

Wildewood Pinot Noir at Picasso’s
Oscar Wilde once said, “Drink Pinot daily.” Not really, but he did inspire Wildewood Wine Company, an Oregon-based winery that honors Wilde’s sophistication in the ruby Pinot Noir. It’s a slightly sweet and dry wine, but without the tannins that leave your mouth chalky. Pair this with Picasso’s chicken Parmesan and call it a day.

 

 

ORANGE PARK, FLEMING ISLAND

Tooty Fruity Cindy Shooty at The Roadhouse
A secret concoction of grape vodka and fruit juice, this giant shooter – truly a tooty fruity potable – is emblematic of the many shots that are popular at this long-standing Orange Park watering hole. Created by bartender Cindy, this one tastes like juice, feels like a potential hangover, and is perfect as the hair of the dog.

Original Margarita on the Rocks at Texas Roadhouse
Perhaps it’s not out of the ordinary to find margaritas at a steakhouse with Texas in the name, but it’s probably unexpected that it’s this damn good. Served in a robust glass with a man-sized layer of salt on the rim, the cocktail even includes an extra shot of tequila for good measure. Extraordinary!

 

RIVERSIDE, FIVE POINTS, MURRAY HILL

A Golden Girl at Birdies Five Points
The Birdies crew came up with a whole new cocktail that captures the most fawned-over group of gals in all of ’80s television culture The Golden Girls. Patrons can order one of four women: Rose, Blanche, Sophia, or Dorothy. The base of each drink is Stiegl’s Grapefruit Radler paired with a liqueur with a splash of soda water.

 

Old-Fashioned at The Blind Rabbit Whiskey Bar
This Old-Fashioned’s got a twist that brings it a little more up to date. The secret is grapefruit bitters to go with the Luxardo cherries, Turbinado simple syrup, and Barrel Knob Creek single barrel whiskey that the knowledgeable folks at Blind Rabbit hand-select. It’s strong, so stick around for a burger and those signature gorgonzola chips.

 

Barrel-Aged Roxy (on Nitro) at Bold City Brewery’s taproom
Though Bold City’s Killer Whale Ale opened the door for cream ales in the region, this Imperial Cream Ale – aged in barrels that once lovingly held Woodford Reserve bourbon – kicks the door off its proverbial hinges. The Roxy is exceptionally smooth, and exceptionally … well … creamy, and tastes exceptionally more so when poured from the nitro tap in the brewery’s adjacent taproom.

 

Hipster Speedball at Brew Five Points
The ever-popular and perfectly named Hipster Speedball — four ounces of cold brew made from PT’s coffee (Topeka, Kansas), plus 12 ounces of Intuition’s King Street Stout in a pint glass (that’s 16 ounces for those counting on their fingers) – packs a caffeine pick-me-up, making it quite utilitarian, unlike most things adopted, fancied, repurposed (see: coöpted) by today’s hipster culture (yeah, that’s a reference to your cassette collection).

 

Lavender Sparkler at Dahlia’s Pour House
If you can’t find anything to your liking from their vast selection of beer and wine, this sparkly drink made from Proseco and lavender and vanilla syrup, a new creation designed to keep you refreshed between games of table tennis on Dahlia’s highly competitive Ping-Pong tables, will fill the bill.

 

Derby Cup at Derby on Park
Derby on Park’s drink to try before you die slides cooly under the banner of hip and refreshing. The Derby Cup combines St. Germaine with muddled cucumber, Hendricks Gin, peach nectar, ginger beer, and finishes with a garnish of cucumber sliver. Cool as a cucumber.

 

Rock Sake Cloud at Hawkers Asian Street Fare
Sake Bombs go down easy with Hawkers’ sake straight from Oregon, where the water is so pure, Japanese sake crafters actually source it from there. And the name fits – the sake is cloudy, with a little burn and a smooth finish, evoking images of flowers and monks bottling in secret (or maybe I’m just buzzed).

 

The Daiquiri at Il Desco
Adding a little cocktail culture to a major corner of the beer-hamlet that is Riverside’s King Street district, new spot Il Desco has a well-crafted menu of classic cocktails. The Daiquiri – made with Zaya Gran Reserva 12-year-old rum, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and housemade pineapple syrup (sweetened with Sugar in the Raw) – is a refreshing, rum-forward example of what the bar has to offer. Namely, drinks accessible to even the staunchest King Street beer snob.

 

Easy on the Eyes IPA at Intuition Ale Works’ Taproom
This crisp, low-ABV session IPA bucks the trend of highly alcoholic IPAs – which don’t always sit well in the Florida heat – while maintaining the hoppy, floral flavor that is the hallmark of a well-made India Pale Ale. It’s a Florida beer made in a Florida brewery to be enjoyed in Florida by Floridians. Florida.

 

Close Your Eyes & Point at Kickbacks Gastropub
When making a decision on what to try from one of the “biggest and best” beer selections in these here You-nited States at Kickbacks or the adjacent Goozlepipe & Guttyworks, it’s best to find the page of the draft list (with more than 200 selections) corresponding to styles of beers you might enjoy (be they pale ales, reds, sours, or “fruit/vegetable beers”), close your eyes, and point. It’s just easier than trying to decide.

 

Lola’s Paloma at Lola’s Burrito & Burger Joint
Lola’s twist on Mexico’s favorite cocktail (sorry, margarita), keeps the tequila (Giro) as well as the salt rim and the lime, but substitutes grapefruit beer for soda. It’s best enjoyed while doing some King Street people-watching on Lola’s outdoor patio – if you can find a space to sit.

 

Metro Shake at The Metro
When asking for the Metro Shake – Fireball cinnamon whiskey, Rumchata, and cream over ice – it may be necessary to clarify that you’re, in fact, ordering the cinnamony milkshake-like drink. Otherwise, you run the risk of soliciting a seductive shimmy from your bartender at any of the Metro’s eight (count ’em, eight) distinctive bars and clubs.

 

Muerte Caliente Margarita at Mossfire Grill
Mossfire Grill’s Muerte Caliente Margarita is not for the faint of heart. It all starts with the homemade habanero-infused tequila, followed by agave nectar, fresh-squeezed lime juice, a splash of orange juice, and a salt/sugar mixture along the rim. Bring a napkin to wipe the beads of sweat from your forehead. On second thought, don’t be the weirdo who brings their own napkin to a bar.

 

Tully Tea at O’Brothers Irish Pub
The Tully Tea – made from Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, peach liqueur, sour mix, and a splash of Sprite – is a peachy, refreshing, summer drink that’s more Jacksonville than Dublin. But never fear, that’s where those shots of Jameson come in.

 

Pickle Back at Park Place
Park Place keeps it simple and a little south of classy. The bar and package store is known for its “Mexican Hooker:” a shot of Cuervo Silver followed immediately by a shot of pickle juice. For those in the know, you can add an STD: a dash of hot sauce into the pickle juice. The bartender gave me an STD and said, “A little clap for you.” Keepin’ it classy at Park Place.

 

$2 Beer at Rain Dogs.
The variety (from hip-hop to punk to jazz to Afro-Cuban) and accessibility (usually five bucks gets you in the music venue) of shows at rain dogs. make it easy to forget that Riverside’s Five Points district is often lacking where live music is concerned. And though they’ve got an excellent selection of wines and rotating draft beers, washing down a $5 punk show with one (or several) of rain dogs.’ revolving selection of $2 cans – Old Milwaukee, Miller High Life, Genesee Cream Ale, you know, the classy bevs – is one of Five Points’ most pleasant experiences.

 

Tequila Shrub at Sbraga & Co.
At Sbraga, it’s possible to drink autumn in a glass. Satsuma oranges give this shrub its bright flavor that complements cinnamon, raw sugar, white balsamic vinegar, and Espolón tequila that’s oh, so, smooth. And vinegar lowers body temperature, making this a drink for all seasons.

 

The Beast at Silver Cow
This cozy beer-and-wine watering hole often goes beast-mode when curating highly alcoholic brews. Avery Brewing’s The Beast – a Grand Cru Belgian ale served in a 6-ounce glass, topping out somewhere between 16 and 19 percent ABV (a range that’s necessary because the beer continues to ferment in the keg) – is just one example of Silver Cow’s very interesting offerings, albeit one that is sure to F you up.

 

 

ST. AUGUSTINE

Wicked Elf at A1A Ale Works
There’s no full-fledged local brewery within the city limits, so corporately owned A1A Ale Works is as close as you’ll get, and it ain’t a bad substitute. There are three rotating seasonal taps and the winter rotation features Wicked Elf, a truly wicked full-body, sweetly malty Christmas ale with a nice punch.

 

A Tasting Flight at Ancient City Brewing
St. Augustine’s only local brewery makes sure you know the city’s story at the admittedly far-from-town brewery, with its beer names and soon-to-be canon taps. The flagship hop-forward Ponce’s Pale Ale uses equinox hops and faint notes of citrus and pine to distinguish itself from the profusion of pales in the area. And the Matanzas River Red and Castillo Coconut Porter add to the varied lineup of nine in-house beers, making a flight well worth your effort to get to the cozy taproom on S.R. 16 and I-95.

 

Labatt Blue on draft at Ann O’Malley’s
You know the saying: When drinking in an Irish pub, order the Canadian beer on draft. Never heard that one? Then you’ve never been to St. Augustine’s-by-way-of-Buffalo’s hockey-obsessed Ann O’Malley’s Irish Pub (the oldest Irish pub in the Ancient City). The “blue” – available on draft in only a few lucky establishments in NEFL, including Ann O’Malley’s – tastes even better during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

 

Naughty Aussie at Barley Republic Irish Gastropub
If you’re doing your St. Augustine drinking tour in as few nights as possible, like one writer of this fine publication who will remain unnamed, you’ll be about ready for a pick-me-up midway through. Nothing tastier than the Naughty Aussie, St. Augustine’s own Kookaburra coffee with Irish crème and Cruzan vanilla rum over ice. Deliciously invigorating!

 

Fountain of Youth Martini at Cellar 6
The Fountain of Youth specialty cocktail from this upscale wine bar off the historic district’s quaint-but-still-commercial Aviles Street is aptly named if only because putting its glasses’ blue agave-coated rim to your lips and guzzling down the St. Augustine Distillery’s Florida cane vodka, sweet blue liqueur, and a champagne floater masked by lemon and lime, will help you look like you’re ready to let loose. Furthermore, two of these and you’re liable to be as uninhibited as a collegiate at a Flagler College kegger.

 

$3 Margarita at Gypsy Cab/Corner Bar
Celebrate Cinco 52 days a year at St. Augustine’s cheapest fiesta: Taco Tuesday. If it’s Tuesday and you already spent your paycheck for the week, Corner Bar’s dollar tacos and three-dollar Margaritas will get you through. And if you gulp down enough tequila (at these prices, your wallet won’t notice until drink No. 6 or 7), a server will slap down a trivia card in front of your face, because there’s nothing better than proving your useless pop culture knowledge after (has it really been nine already?!) salty Margarita delights.

 

Category 5 Hurricane at Hurricane Patty’s
Once you learn to curse the tourist traffic like a local, it’s time to kill some time, and brain cells, with the sailors at Hurricane Patty’s on Oyster Creek. While at least one bartender decries the bar’s namesake mixed beverage as any old fruity drink, you’ll want to try a Category 5 Hurricane anyway. Light and dark rum, Grenadine, passionfruit, orange juice, a cherry and an orange slice get you started, but the more Pusser’s Rum floaters you add, the more stormy you’ll be, and the more respect you’ll earn at this local seafood spot known for its salty characters.

 

Clockwork Orange at Ice Plant Bar
Some drinks just taste better in Mason jars. And they taste even better when they’re a confluence of classic flavors, like carrot, ginger, lime, and pineapple. Swirl in gin and apple brandy, add some sprigs of fennel frond, and you’ve got a Clockwork Orange, one of the most popular drinks at a newish, very popular drinking establishment.

 

The Ascot at JP Henley’s
The best art is stolen. The Ascot is a Eugene, Oregon-inspired “Old-World-style” drink with a healthy dose of Maker’s Mark bourbon, Disaronno Amaretto liqueur and peach bitters. Instead of Eugene’s “fancy stuff” licorice-y star anise seeds, Henley’s opts for Tuscany’s sweet herbal liqueur Galliano L’Autentico.

 

Tall Bud Light at Mill Top Tavern
Come to The Mill Top for the live music, an iconic waterwheel T-shirt, or a view of the fort from a deck wrapped around an impressive oak tree that surely has some stories to tell. You want to drink something? Isn’t that Tavern shot still powering your buzz? Fine, but make the Bud Light tall, because you’re going to want to sing along with the next tune the guy plays – even if it’s a crappy Gordon Lightfoot cover.

 

Canario at Odd Birds
As the only cocktail that has weathered three months of rotation on Odd Birds’ creativity-inclined menu, the Canario – which features Old Forrester bourbon, Falernum (a syrupy almond liqueur), housemade ginger-turmeric syrup, and Angostura bitters – is a kind of delicious, spicy lemonade, served shaken with crushed ice and a lemon peel clothes-pinned to the rim of the glass.

 

Italian Lemonade at Pizzalley’s
You can get Pizzalley’s housemade Italian lemonade any time of year and, with this weather, you’ll want it tomorrow. Waitstaff zests 80 lemons for each batch of premade vodka-infused limoncello, which your bartender shakes up with triple sec, sour mix and Sierra Mist to create a quaff far beyond what that neighbor’s annoying kid sold at his lemonade stand last summer.

 

Kasteel Rouge at Rendezvous Restaurant
If you can dodge the sweaty tourists desperate for A/C and hawkers of magic and jerky, Rendezvous, at the end of St. George’s Row, is worth a visit. Among a healthy selection of imports, Belgium’s Kasteel Rouge — an 8-percent, tastefully sweet blend of the sophisticated quadruple Kasteel Donker and black cherry liqueur – is the mainstay on rotating taps replete with beers of which the snobbiest American has never heard.

 

Jameson (straight) at St. George’s Tavern
From Cape Cod to Ft. Myers, dive bar enthusiasts know about St. George’s Tavern. A dose of genuine in the middle of St. Augustine’s “history” show, it’s where you can escape the kids and the fakes for a shot and a beer. Or just Jameson. Straight. Do you want to get drunk or what? Great classics on the juke, too.

 

Wipeout Pain Killer at Salt Life Food Shack
Salt Life’s signature Wipeout Pain Killer is a take on the official cocktail of the Virgin islands, and delivers the needed punch of Pusser’s Rum with the recovery vitamins of pineapple and orange juice and creamy crème de coconut. The healthy finish of nutmeg adds the perfect dose of warmth to this beachy beverage.

 

The Matanzas at Sangrias
This wine and tapas bar attracts its own mix of locals and tourists, with rooftop music that echoes through St. George Street on most weekend nights. The most popular sangria, The Matanzas, is a mix of two other house sangrias, garnished with a berry-interesting mix of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries (get it? berry-interesting?), with some cinnamon apples thrown in to balance this drink that is, otherwise, fairly heavy on the saccharine.

 

Spanish Oak at Scarlett O’Hara’s
Honoring the Ancient City’s oldest resident – a 600-year-old oak tree locals call the Senator – this bourbon-forward cocktail featuring with Buffalo Trace, Carpano Antica, and orange Curaçao liqueur is made with flare – literally: An orange peel is set on fire before being rubbed around the rim of the glass.

 

Vesper Martini at Tini Martini Bar
Perch yourself on Tini Martini’s bayside porch; it’s perfect for espying the most ridiculous of pirates, tourists and pirate tourists – it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace your inner Bond. Order a Vesper martini – shaken, not stirred – and the vodka and gin cocktail, plus dry vermouth and bleu cheese olives, will make you more handsome, the pirates lovable, and your liver more black.

 

Rum Punch at Tradewinds Lounge
And there’s no drink more appropriate (not even a margarita, Mr. Buffett) to waste away with in St. Augustine than Tradewinds’ house recipe Rum Punch. At $4 a glass, it’s a good bet you’ll have plenty of cash left over to replace all the things you’ve lost after an afternoon under the lounge’s tiki-hut-inspired ceilings, listening (or singing along to) to rock ’n’ roll and/or Gulf ’n’ Western crooners – stuff like your keys, your phone, or your lost shaker of salt.

 

 

SAN MARCO, ST. NICHOLAS, SOUTHBANK

Double Secret Probation Cocktail at Bistro Aix
Bourbon, Branca Menta, in-house clove syrup, freshly muddled rosemary and lime, ginger beer, and black walnut bitters give the Double Secret a lemony zing and a gingery burn that’s perfect for winter. It’s a secret you certainly won’t have trouble keeping to yourself.

 

44-Ounce Martini at Hamburger Mary’s
Average days call for average bars. Exceptional days call for Hamburger Mary’s. Make an average day exceptional by ordering one of Jacksonville’s biggest martinis, a Mary’s exclusive, at this spot where Beach Boulevard meets San Marco meets fabulous. This 44-ounce – really! – concoction will have you flying high in no time.

 

Barrel-Aged Templeton Rye Whiskey Old-Fashioned at Kitchen on San Marco
A classic Old-Fashioned can be enjoyed almost any place, but almost any place won’t be barrel-aging their rye whiskey right in-house. Kitchen on San Marco uses a small barrel of 80-proof whiskey, aging the rye in plain view at the bar, to be used with classic ingredients to make a classic cocktail.

 

Clisby at The Parlour
This slightly sweet yet subtle cocktail greets you like an old friend and invites you to sit for a while and share a story or two. Riverboat rye, Carpano Antica, Campari, dry Curaçao and two types of bitters, stirred and served with a twist of lemon, making this a perfect pre- or post-dinner drink. As ice melts and time passes, the drink continues open up and share, the way an old friend should.

 

Busch Light at Sherwood’s
You don’t need the bartender to tell you, the eye-catching vintage, catawampus signage and striped awnings, if not the Reno truck stop chic interior, should be all the stimuli you need to determine that this, friends, is a dive bar and you should behave as such: Order a cheap beer and indulge in the most sexually suggestive Skee-ball machine this side of First Baptist (a score of 400 or more means the beer is on the house).

 

Martinez at Taverna
Attention James Bond: Taverna’s Martinez is stirred, not shaken. And it packs a punch, with Ransom Old Tom Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters. The drink wouldn’t be complete without a rub of orange peel along the rim to boost the citrusy aroma.

 

 

SOUTHSIDE, BAYMEADOWS

Dragon Fire Mist at Dancing Dragon
Behold, a drink so new that Folio Weekly got input in its christening. The 70-proof Dragon Fire is infused with dragon fruit, lychee, and hot chilis. Mix this with fresh lemon, lime, sweet and sour, and grenadine, and the result is a drink with enough heat to make flames.

 

PineFin Martini at Mitchell’s Fish Market
Something magical happens when you infuse Finlandia vodka with pineapple, shake it over ice with a dash of fruity sweetness and strain it into a martini glass: You create the taste of summer. Don’t be fooled by the light, fresh flavor – it’s the strongest that they make. Ooohh, yeah!

 

Cigar City Hard Cider & Fireball at My Place Bar & Grill
Spicy cinnamon goodness and sweet apply cider give this amalgamation a sugary fire. Sidle up next to that hottie at the bar and order a round or two. Whether you shoot and chase it or mix them up in a glass, you’re gonna be burning for more.

 

Weeded in Paradise at Ovinté
This is one of the most unique drinks in Jacksonville – heck, maybe even the world. Whichever genius thought to combine Yellow Chartreuse, Mezcal, Bacardi Ocho and a twist of orange with aromatic cloves should be given the Medal of Valor, or at least a congratulatory high five.

 

Scout Dog 44 Amber Ale at Veterans United Brewery
Upon arrival, you’ll feel like Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth, but Veterans United is worth the quest into Southside’s warehouse district. Scout Dog 44 Amber Ale – coming soon to a six-pack near you – is a smooth amber oasis of caramel malt with a perfect pinch of noble hot bitterness.

 

Bourbon Divinity at Whiskey Jax
The Southside’s newest, most fabulous spot has created a gateway cocktail for bourbon. Give it a stir and sip Bourbon Divinity; it thrills on the palate with a rich whiskey goodness that will tickle aficionados and indoctrinate first-timers to a lifelong love affair with the sweet burn of bourbon.

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