9 Signature Drinks Served by the South’s Best Bars 2019—And Their Secret Recipes, Too
Southerners like our drinks just how we like our football team to perform and our women to grow up: strong. And, unless sipping on something of the whiskey neat variety, ice-cold. Other than that, we don’t like to discriminate between dive bars and ritzy lounges, or even top-shelf liquor and mountain-made moonshine. We have a deep appreciation for Kentucky bourbon but won’t turn down a humble American brew, either. You see, Southerners are a social bunch, and so we congregate in watering holes just like our South’s Best Bars 2019. These spots serve up some of the most iconic cocktails in the region, and each has a signature drink they’d happily bet on in a bracket. From Flora-Bama’s “World Famous” Bushwacker to the Bar at Husk’s historic Charleston Light Dragoon’s Punch, these tipples are worth recreating at home—and now, you can. Read on for the signature drinks (recipes included!) served by this year’s South’s Best Bars.
Sloppy Joe’s: The Sloppy Rita
Key West, Florida
Sloppy Joe’s sells more than 60,000 Sloppy Joe’s sandwiches a year for an average of 165 per day. To go along with this yummy sandwich, over 56,000 Sloppy Rita’s are served each year—for an average of 154 Sloppy Rita’s a day. (You can't argue with those numbers!)
Ingredients: 1 oz. Sauza Blue Tequila, ½ oz. Gran Gala, Sour Mix, Splash of Orange Juice
Directions: Pour ingredients into shaker and shake to combine; Pour contents of shaker into 12-14 oz. glass with salted rim; Top with dash of club soda and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Flora-Bama: The “World Famous” Bushwacker
Co-owner Pat McClellan brought this boozy adult milkshake to Flora-Bama in 1984, and everyone went crazy. It's been around almost as long as the Flora-Bama as the bar’s house drink.
Ingredients: Light Rum, Dark Rum, Amaretto, Creme de Cocoa, Coffee Liquor, and Milk
Directions: Blend it all with ice cubes into a ice-cold spiked adult milkshake.
The Backstreet Pub: Abundant Sunshine IPA by Waterman’s Brewing
Beaufort, North Carolina
A customer favorite, this North Carolina craft brew is light with a straw-colored glow, lingering piney resin, and notes of mango, grapefruit, lemon, and coconut.
“In my opinion, this is the PERFECT IPA—best one I have ever had!” –Backstreet Pub owner, Liz Kopf
The Esso Club: "Build Your Own" Bloody Mary Bar
Clemson, South Carolina
The Esso Club partnered with a local Bloody Mary Mix out of South Carolina's St. Helena Island this past year. The college town bar mixes Seaside Grown Mix with a few other ingredients, cucumber vodka, pepper vodka, and some Clemson Tiger love from their bartenders to create the perfect Bloody Mary.
Ingredients: Build Your Own Bar (gherkins, pickled okra, cube cheese, pretzels, olives, beef jerky, Worcestershire, Horseradish, Jalapenos, pepperoni and occasionally bacon); using Seaside Grown Mix, cucumber vodka, and pepper vodka (optional)
The Carousel Bar & Lounge at Hotel Monteleone: Vieux Carre Cocktail
New Orleans, Louisiana
More than one famous drink was first concocted by bartenders at this long-time favorite New Orleans hotspot and the city’s only revolving bar, including the Vieux Carre cocktail.
Ingredients: ¼ oz. Benedictine, ¼ oz. Cognac, ½ oz. Sazerac Rye, ¼ oz. Sweet Vermouth, 3 drops Angostura Biters, 3 drops Peychaud Bitters
Directions: Place ingredients over ice and garnish with a twist of lemon.
Pat O'Brien's: The Hurricane
The Bar at Husk: Charleston Light Dragoon’s Punch
Charleston, South Carolina
The longest-running cocktail featured on the bar’s menu, the Charleston Light Dragoon’s Punch is named after the “militia” that created it. It is one of The Bar at Husk’s most beloved drinks because of its historical ties to Charleston, but also because it’s a crowd-pleaser. It follows the line of an old rhyme of how to make a punch. One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak, creating a well-balanced, easy to drink cocktail.
Ingredients: 4 cups raw sugar, 3 cups lemon juice, 4 qt. black tea, 4 qt. California Brandy, 1 qt. Jamaican Rum, ½ pt. Peach Brandy, peels of 6 lemons cut into silvers, and carbonated water
Directions: Mix in order given, and add carbonated water before serving.
Ice Plant Bar: Tiempo de Fiesta Excellente
St. Augustine, Florida
Inspired by Trash Tiki, this drink is anything but boring. The Ice Plant team takes spent avocado pits that the kitchen doesn’t use and toasts them like almonds for an orgeat, which lends a slight nutty, creamy, and floral flavor to this seasonal signature drink.
Ingredients: 1 1/4 oz. Arette blanco tequila, 1/2 oz. Cappelletti, 1/4 oz. Hamilton pimento dram, 3/4 oz. pineapple juice, 1/2 oz. lime juice, 1/2 oz. avocado pit orgeat
Directions: Combine ingredients and garnish with mint leaf and pineapple pulp chip.
Thirsty Monk: Rattle Skull Cocktail
Asheville, North Carolina
When Derby goers at Churchill Downs wake in the morning, they'd surely go straight for this pick-me-up version of a beloved Mint Julep.
Ingredients: Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon, Brother Noah Stout Reduction*, Xocolatl Bitters, Mint Nectar, Cardamom Cream, Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee
*Brother Noah Belgian Stout gets a café twist from finishing on medium-roast coffee beans.