If you haven’t had your cocktails served by a master mixologist, now is the time to learn what a magical experience it can be. Mixology means using the best ingredients, whether that means local honey, fresh muddled blueberries or exotic, imported bitters, combined in unusual and unique ways to produce cocktails that will make you rethink the whole notion of “grabbing a drink.” A far cry from a happy hour beer or hastily poured vodka soda, mixology is a renaissance of the classical appreciation of ingredients, flavors and an old-fashioned buzz. Miami has certainly been riding the wave of the trend and the city boasts some of the country’s coolest mixology spots, both underground and in well-known spots like hotels and popular restaurants. Here are some of the best places for fancy cocktail quaffing in Miami:
Hakkasan, one of the lounges at the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach, is one of the most revered Chinese restaurants in all of Florida. Opened in 2003 after the success of its London predecessor, Hakkasan is known as much for its stunning bar and well-made cocktails as it is for its phenomenal cuisine. The cocktail menu has a definite Asian flair and consists of cocktails with fresh fruit blends, like the Lost Heaven, which blends tequila with nashi, pear, coconut, peach, lime and guava juice.
For those in the mood for a lively party, Blackbird Ordinary draws a crowd for its live music and DJs as well as for its not-to-be-missed cocktail list. The bartenders here really push the envelope, mixing ingredients like gin and vermouth with chocolate-mole bitters and pink grapefruit zest. Even more interesting options include cocktails mixed with Guinness and whole raw eggs – this menu is not for those with timid tastebuds, but the more adventurous drinker will definitely be rewarded.
The Broken Shaker is the Freehand Miami Hotel’s on-site bar. Formerly the Indian Creek Hotel, a historic little place with an antiquated ambiance and apothecary-style bar, the Broken Shaker retains much of the feel of the old-timey space. Like the original speakeasies that started cropping up in NYC, it has a short menu but limitless potential. Go with an open mind and let the bartenders suggest cocktails based on your flavor preferences – they love the challenge and you’ll love the results.
This classic American restaurant has a swinging speakeasy feel, fantastic if simple food, and a long specialty cocktail list that prides itself of being inventively delicious. Try the Watermelon Crush, a mix of Vodka, fresh pressed watermelon juice, Jalapeno, Cilantro and cracked Black pepper, or the Smokey BBQ Old Fashioned for a delicious tinge of southern flavor. The staff is friendly and the bartenders know their stuff so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t recognize some of the ingredients.
If you’re heading out for dinner and want to pair your meal with some powerhouse cocktails, the Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill might be the right option for you. Pairing local ingredients with a wide assortment of classic and hard-to-find liquers, the outcome is always delightful. They put wild spins on classic cocktails here, like the Beet Mojito — and they come up with new specialities as well, like the Porch Swing, with bourbon, fresh papaya, ginger and Domaine de Canton.
With so many new Mixology marvels cropping up in Miami, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to jump in on the new trend. Drop your card at the bar and let the masters work their magic – the more adventuresome you are, the more rewards you stand to gain.