Know Your Alcohol: Top 3 Popular Drinks in Florida Bars

Do you have plans of painting the town red?

Out to celebrate a milestone?

Just want to hang out and chill?

When your plans involve consuming alcohol, it’s best to know what the most favored ones are.

Come here often?

Whether you’re in Florida for spring break, just visiting family or friends, or have made it your HQ, chances are you’ve come across the many bars and watering holes in the Sunshine State.

If you haven’t sworn off alcohol, then you’d be pleased to know that there are a variety of libations that locals prefer.

While there are strict laws and regulations in Florida, most counties are open to alcohol.

There are well-run and responsible establishments that make sure they have secured the appropriate liquor license type for their business. This contributes a lot to making Florida nightlife truly hip and happening.

With the right kind of license, bars, restaurants, and other dining establishments have the leeway to serve drinks to liven up any party.

Knowing which ones are favored by bar hoppers and regulars can give you an indication on which ones taste best. Especially if you’re not a connoisseur, a sip of info on what’s in and what’s not when it comes to alcoholic drinks can help point to where the fun is.

Of course, responsible drinking must still be top of mind even with all the options around. Anyway, you don’t want to end up nursing a hangover, do you?

Pick your Poison

More discerning patrons have a beverage of choice; some are not so well-versed with alcohol, however.

According to insights gathered by the BevSpot, an all-in-one food and beverage program management software, there are certain types of liquors that are favored in Florida.

Whether this is because they have acquired a taste for it over the years, or have carefully researched what effects it has on their system, the fact remains that not all drinks are created equal.

Here are the Top 5 Most Popular Liquors in Florida bars:

1. Whiskey

Typically aged in wooden casks, whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. American whiskey has several types. Those made from mash, that is, made up of at least 51% corn and aged in charred oak barrels, are called bourbon whiskey.

Other types include corn whiskey, malt whiskey, rye whiskey, rye malt whiskey, and wheat whiskey.

In the US, the addition of artificial color or flavor is prohibited. Water is the only thing allowed to be added to the final product. These American whiskey types must also be distilled to contain up to 80% alcohol by volume and aged in new charred-oak containers.

Whiskey drinks up a 30% share in the most numbers of orders in Florida bars. The top three brands are Jameson, Jack Daniel’s and Royal Crown.

2. Vodka

This distilled beverage mainly composed of ethanol and water takes 26% of the barrel share as Florida’s favored drink. Among the vodka brands in the market, most prefer Tito’s with more than 35%, followed by Deep Eddy with only 14%.

Vodka is traditionally made through the distillation of cereal grains or fermentation of potatoes, though some modern brands use sugar or fruits. In the “vodka belt” – countries in Europe considered to be the home of vodka – vodkas have an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 40%, EU country vodkas have 37.5%, and 80% for those made in the US.

Usually drunk “neat” or without water or mixers, vodka now comes with different flavors such as fruits, herbs, or chocolate. The flavorings are usually added after the fermentation and distillation process.

3. Tequila and Mezcal

You most probably have heard about or seen tequila shots being downed in bars.

This is the way it is normally drunk outside of Mexico where drinkers moisten the back of the hand usually by licking, pour a dash of salt over it, lick off the salt, down the shot, and then suck on a sliver of lemon. Originally, in Mexico, however, they drink it neat – without lime and salt.

However it is drunk, tequila takes third in the most favored drinks by Florida bar patrons. Along with its main man, Mezcal, they take 19% of the drink share with the Corazon brand lording it over Don Julio and Patrón.

What’s the diff, you ask, between tequila and mezcal? “Mescal,” as it is traditionally spelled, is made from at least up to 28 varieties of agave while tequila is produced solely from the blue agave plant.

According to Mexican Law, tequila must only be produced in the state of Jalisco and other sanctioned municipalities.

When you’re still confused, just try both shots and you’ll taste the difference. Mezcal has a sweeter, richer and smokier flavor than tequila.

Happy Hour

Whether the above-mentioned drinks tickle your taste buds or not, at least now you know which ones are favored by most in Florida. It’s not a surefire way for you to have a good time but simply a guide if you are still at a loss as to which one to go for.

A tip for the wannabe tipsy, though: try to drink just one kind of alcohol and avoid blending liquors.

Stick to lighter drinks because some studies say that lighter drinks may help slightly in preventing a hangover compared to the darker ones like brandy, bourbon, or red wine.

Lastly, drink responsibly. Drink to celebrate life.


Richard Bantock is the President of Liquor License Consultants, Inc. (formerly known as The Liquor License Guy) which specializes in the purchasing and selling of Florida liquor licenses. For 20 years, he successfully operated liquor store, nightclub, bar and restaurant companies, gaining first-hand knowledge of business planning, financial negotiations and the liquor licensing process. Liquor License Consultants, Inc. reflects his insight and expertise.