If the Delray Beach Bacon and Bourbon Fest is any indication, rare and small-batch bourbons are having a moment in South Florida.
Here are five restaurants in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties that spotlight the whiskey.
Broward and Palm Beach
Tap 42, 1411 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-463-4900 or Tap42.com
Boasting 50 boutique bourbons ($9-$22 per shot), the expansive liquor list at the bar better known for its craft beer offers familiar flavors (the bold Jim Beam Devil's Cut, the bewitching small-batch Angel's Envy) and complex, oaky ones (Four Roses, Spring 44 Straight). We're fond of Tap 42's Knob Creek Single, the pub's collaboration with the Kentucky-based whiskeymaker, a 128.7-proof oaky, smooth bourbon with an easy finish.
Sweetwater Bar and Grill, 1507 S. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach; 561-509-9277 or Sweetwater33.com
If smoky, bourbon-infused cocktails sing on your palate, Sweetwater's staple and seasonal menu has a handful of sip-worthy options. Hickory-smoked Angel's Envy bourbon can be found in drinks such as Cumin Cider, blended with unfiltered apple, and toasted cumin, coriander and Thai chili shrub; and Eye of the Tiger, with organic blood orange, amontillado sherry and ginger. But our eye is really on the meaty-sounding Blind Swine, infused with smoked bacon bourbon, rye whiskey, bitters and barrel-aged maple syrup.
Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, 1600 Lenox Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-5220 or RunChickenRun.com
Listed in the Bourbon Review as one of the 55 best bourbon bars in America, Yardbird's the place to go for bourbon flights, an ideal precursor to Yardbird's fried chicken and waffles, which are smothered in bourbon-maple syrup. Their signature cocktail: the Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade (fresh lemon juice, blackberry, cardamom and sparkling wine). If you're feeling adventurous, shoot for the Old Confederate (mint , sparkling wine, bourbon, lime) or the American Michelada (hot sauce, Narragansett lager, lime, Worcestershire and bourbon).
The Mighty, 2224 SW 22nd St., Miami; 305-570-4311 or TheMightyMiami.com
This Coral Way gastropub does sausage about as well as it handles bourbon. Snag a classic cocktail ($5 during the daily 5-7 p.m. happy hour) or try the mighty Ancho Derby, blended with Four Roses Yellow Label, Ancho Reyes Chili liqueur, grapefruit juice, black walnut bitters and rosemary-infused maple syrup.
Bourbon Steak at Turnberry Isle Miami, 19999 W. Country Club Drive, Aventura; 786-279-6600 or BourbonSteakMiami.com
Restaurateur Michael Mina operates the steakhouse within Aventura's Turnberry Isle resort, but go here for the bourbon-heavy menu. Try bourbon flights ($35, from Kentucky-based Michter's Distillery) or one of 25 small-batch pours from Angel's Envy, Hudson, Hirsch and Four Roses. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, the restaurant is offering a Pappy Van Winkle ($250) tasting paired with canapes by chef Gabe Fenton.