I’m currently sitting with my toes in the sand, the noise of waves washing up on the shore and chatter accompanied by live music in the background, all while sipping on a refreshing tropical cocktail.
Cocktails…they can be sweet with a garnish of fruit or a little sour with a nice bite. A cocktail can add to your foodie experience, making the perfect combination for that savory dish or an addition to a night of memories while out and about with family and friends.
Whether you’re local or a visitor from afar, Pensacola has some libations that are sure to wet your whistle and leave you with a lasting taste of its culture. Here are five of my favorites:
1. Quickly becoming the signature drink of Downtown Pensacola, the 23-Star Salute cocktail is sure to give you a lesson or two into Pensacola’s history. This whiskey cocktail commemorates the annexation of Florida by the United States that spawned the city’s American heritage. Each sip has the perfect combination of citrus and bite of bourbon. You can find it at Jackson’s Steakhouse and many other downtown restaurants and bars.
2. New to the scene in downtown Pensacola is Union Public House. Trust me when I say it’s something to rant and rave about. Established in 2015, the “crafty southern pub” combines fresh and creative ingredients paired with fresh and creative ideas. My personal favorite, the Pecan Flip, or better known as, the Chicken & Waffles, is an adventure for your taste buds. Perfect for a dessert cocktail, I love the combination of flavors and play on a traditional southern dish.
3. You’ll find over 600 whiskeys at the Old Hickory Whiskey Bar, Pensacola's destination to enjoy artfully crafted cocktails and spirits in a relaxing and engaging atmosphere. The bar is named after the 7th U.S. President, Andrew Jackson, also the first Territorial Governor of Florida. Nicknamed "Old Hickory" for his toughness in battle, Jackson was imperative to Florida becoming part of the United States in 1821, when he hoisted the American flag over Florida Territory for the first time in Pensacola. Jackson's personal residence was located just across the street from what is now the Old Hickory Whiskey Bar, on the corner of Intendencia Street and Palafox Place. By far one of my favorite escapes for happy hour, Old Hickory Whiskey Bar always has seasonal cocktails. The one that suits my fancy is the Front Porch. The name says it all. Hints of raspberry, orange and lemon make it ideal for sipping while relaxing outside on a summer day.
For more Pensacola classics, pop over to Pensacola Beach. Just a short 15-minute drive separates you from this oasis. The Diesel Fuel at Flounders Chowder House has been gained quite the reputation since the restaurant opened on Pensacola Beach in 1980. It is basically a double Long Island Ice Tea. But be careful, cause it’ll knock you silly real quick! Made with double shots of gin, rum, vodka and triple sec, the classic Diesel Fuel can be a dangerous one. The drink also comes in many other flavors, including mango, which is my absolute favorite.
Photo by @thehobbithole
Right across the street from Flounders is the Sandshaker Lounge, the creator of THE drink of Pensacola Beach…the Bushwacker. It’s basically an adult milkshake. Made with rum, Crème de Cocoa, Cream of Coconut and vanilla ice cream, it’s a frozen dessert cocktail all in one! If there’s one drink you absolutely must try while in Pensacola, it’s the Bushwacker. Every restaurant and bar on the beach has its own variation, and you can’t go wrong. I’ve never met anyone that didn’t like it.
A sip of a good cocktail can make for lots of memories. Whether it’s an afternoon drink with friends or a downtown nightcap, Pensacola can show you a little slice of our history and a whole lot of flavor in each and every sip.
Have a classic Pensacola favorite drink to include? Leave a comment below.