A meal on the patio at Sweet Nectar can feel like a boozy picnic. The tapas-style menu calls for groups to gather at its wooden tables; the bar, front and center, taking up nearly half the outdoor space, serves up slightly sweet—and surprisingly potent—libations.
Take the Drunken Dragon, the most popular cocktail because of its look as much as its taste, says general manager Johnny Arthuzo.
Two ounces of 44 Degrees North nectarine vodka, fresh lemon juice and a touch of simple syrup turn the bottom of the stemless wine glass lemonade-white. It’s topped with an ounce of deep-purple port wine and garnished with floating cubes of fresh dragon fruit. The combination is sweet but not overwhelmed by citrus.
“It’s the type of drink that you can pound back a few and not even notice, and the next thing you know, you’ve got a nice little buzz,” Arthuzo says. “And it looks phenomenal.”
It, along with the Summer Fling (made with Farmer’s botanical organic gin, lavender syrup, peach shrub and lemon foam), has captured the heart of Sweet Nectar’s patrons, avoiding the quarterly cocktail rotation and finding a permanent place on the menu.
The current cocktail menu is fit for spring, featuring fresh fruit and light syrups—such as lavender, brown sugar and ginger—all made in-house.
“They’re all made for you to taste every single ingredient,” Arthuzo explains. “Strawberry Fields Forever has fresh strawberries and muddled mint. When you drink it, you get the freshness of the mint and sweetness of the strawberry, and, as you finish, you get the bourbon.”
To some, a perfect picnic requires a pitcher. Sweet Nectar (1017 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) offers two 39-ounce craft pitchers—of which almost 10 ounces is moonshine. The Sweet Nectar tastes like pink lemonade, and the Bee Happy Bee Sweet Tea tastes like iced tea—each with a kick. The sangrias, white and red, have a secret ingredient: Jim Beam bourbon. Depending how much one drinks, a pitcher can satisfy two to four people.
“Put down a couple glasses of those,” Arthuzo says, “and you’ll feel really good after.”
The Drunken Dragon
2 ounces 44 Degrees North nectarine vodka
1 ounce of fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce port wine
Cubed dragon fruit
Shake first three ingredients and top with port wine. Garnish with dragon fruit.