There’s a fine line between a bar that serves cocktails and a cocktail bar. Anyone can pour you a drink, but if what you’re looking for are handcrafted libations with syrups, elixirs, and infusions made by the tender standing behind the bar, you’ve certainly come to the right place. Miami’s cocktail culture has seen a renaissance. Bartenders are landing GQ covers, not just for their dashing good looks and dapper style but also for their precision and panache behind the bar. Even the word bartender is no longer fitting, for they are like scientists treating every beverage as an experiment. Just as the difference between a chef and a cook is who one prepares while the other creates; a bartender serves drinks while a mixologist crafts them. You know it’s serious when a mixologist asks you what your least favorite spirit is and uses it to make the best glass of anything you’ve ever had. If that’s the kind of experience you’re looking for, here’s where you can find it.
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What started out as Miami’s first pop-up cocktail lounge has become a landmark for industry folks looking to get their nightcaps. Perched in an unassuming hostel in South Beach, The Broken Shaker eludes the pretention and glitz of the area it resides in. Take a dip in the pool after and between sips of cocktails made with domestic ginger beer and flowers, fruits, and herbs from the Shaker’s own garden. We’re pretty sure Hemingway would have made this a haunt of his, had he lived another 50 years.
The Regent Cocktail Club
If the face pouring your drink looks familiar, it’s probably Julio Cabrera—winner of Bombay Sapphire’s “Most Imaginative Bartender All-Stars,” GQ cover model, and The Regent’s mélange virtuoso. A true cocktail club in every sense of the word, The Regent takes guests back to the days of pre-prohibition, before the dark and dry times hit America and when brandy flips and gin fizzes with egg whites were an everyday occurrence. The menu changes daily but French 75s, original daiquiris, and old-fashioneds infused with house made smoked pork belly bitters are always available.
You may not expect to get one of the best libation’s Miami has to offer from a fish bar, but barkeeper Rob Ferrara has created a cocktail menu that slurps just as good as the oysters found at Lure. The cleverly named concoctions keep with the nautical theme of the resto and match the refreshing aroma of the seaside nearby. Order The Lure Bloody Mary—its name isn’t marine, but in it a filthy pickle, shrimp and deviled egg float gracefully.
HaVen Gastro Lounge
At HaVen, a self-proclaimed gastro-lounge, the bar changes colors, the LCD walls change landscapes, and the booze flows till 5 a.m. Bar alchemist Isaac Grillo creates innovative and inventive cocktails using chef Todd Erickson’s farm-to-table method, only it’s farm-to-glass in his case. That same strategy won him Miami’s USBG’s Legacy Cocktail Showcase. Also at the bar, Carla Rivera, Diageo World Class finalist and USBG Girl. Order a martini, mixed cocktail carafe, or one of the punches. You simply can’t go wrong.
At Cypress Room, there’s a beverage book—it’s got a table of contents and several chapters. From cocktails to spirits and cordials to after dinner, Michael Schwartz’s ode to fine dining pulls out all the stops. Only eight seats are available at the bar, so snag one and order a barrel-aged specialty cocktail with house made bitters. You might want some frog legs to go with that.