Not too long ago a few friends and I took an extended weekend vacation out to Melbourne to head to the beach and spend some much-needed time away from work and busy schedules. We had never been on Florida’s Space Coast before and in addition to looking for the best patch of sand, we were on the hunt for great local dives and lively downtown bars. And Downtown Melbourne was full of them. Here are five of the best specialty drinks I was able to try from a few of Melbourne’s fantastic restaurants and bars:

  1. Orange Crush – Mainstreet Pub

After a long day at the beach, I was looking for a casual restaurant and fresh tasting cocktails. One of the locals recommended Mainstreet Pub and when my friends and I arrived I knew right away this was the kind of place I was looking for ­– a laid-back pub with a bar and even outdoor seating. After finding seats at the bar, the bartender recommended the Orange Crush, made with orange vodka, triple sec, freshly squeezed orange juice and sprite. It sounded like the perfect option and it absolutely was. The freshly squeezed orange juice made the drink taste so incredibly refreshing – it was exactly what I needed after spending the day in the sun.

  1. Cooper’s Cup – Meg O’ Malley’s

One of the nights my friends and I were out in downtown, I headed to Meg O’ Malley’s for some Irish grub and a delicious pint. However, when I looked at their drink menu of freshly squeezed and signature Irish cocktails, I decided against a beer and went with one of their fresh cocktails called the Cooper’s Cup. Made with bourbon whiskey, ginger beer, fresh lime and mint, this drink was the perfect cocktail to start the evening and was made even better by the fun atmosphere at Meg O’ Malley’s. It made me feel like I had been transported to Ireland right from downtown Melbourne.

  1. Lemon Basil Mojito – Island Pasta Company

While exploring Melbourne’s downtown area one afternoon my friends and I stumbled upon Island Pasta Company. Intrigued, I went in to find a charming, tropical environment and a menu chock full of pastas and island style entrees. Not to mention, plenty of signature cocktails to choose from. I chose their lemon basil mojito and was blown away by how well it complimented my island style pasta and amazed by the delicious flavors from the light rum, fresh basil, mint and lemon.

  1. The Unbirthday Martini – Matt’s Casbah

Matt’s Casbah was recommended by one of the locals who said their menu, drink specials and atmosphere were perfect for a night out in Melbourne ­– and they were not wrong. Their live music and lively atmosphere was so much fun and their sushi was sensational. However, what really stole the show for me was their fun and delicious unbirthday martini, made with cake vodka, Blue Curacao, simple syrup, pineapple and colored sprinkles. The drink was sweet and a special treat for our night out.

  1. Try any one of the 1400 Liquors at The Mansion

When we visited The Mansion for dinner one night we were blown away by the historic atmosphere of the restaurant and huge cellar of wine and beer. We sat out on the terrace and enjoyed delicious food and river views. Even though this list is about cocktails, I definitely recommend The Mansion for beer lovers. I was amazed at their long list of beverages with 69 beers on tap, 1,900 microbrews, 1,250 wines and over 1400 liquors.

I wish the weekend could have lasted forever so we could’ve experienced even more of what Melbourne and the Beaches have to offer, but that’s okay because I’m sure we’ll be back soon!

Click here to learn more about the incredible restaurants and bars found in Melbourne and the Beaches!