Ever since Broken Shaker came onto the scene, South Beach has gone insane for any effervescent cocktail confection infused with the requisite amount of fresh herbs, fruits, and condiments. Drinks like basil lime cucumber sidecars and whiskey pomegranate thyme old fashions have become staples as bars turn into mixology counters. With larger menus and more exhaustive combinations of flavors, it seems that local watering holes are running the bartending world ragged. Yet for those without the Caribbean predilection for sugar, there is a whole range of cocktail options to explore in Miami.
Salty and savory cocktails are just as satisfying as their sucrose-laden cousins but have yet to be fully embraced by the mainstream. No, I'm not just talking about the Jack Daniel's sauce on your burger at TGI Fridays. I'm talking about the onion juice, pickle brine, and clamato mixed drinks that make your knees buckle.
Whether you're too hungover at brunch to stomach sugary sangria, or you just enjoy the light smell of olive juice on your breath before a first date, savory cocktails are perfect for any occasion. Though it hasn't exploded into culinary ubiquity, these offbeat creations have made overtures at several Miami eateries. Here are the ones that can't be missed.
Oyster Shooters at River Oyster Bar
Ever wish you could drink your seafood? If you've tried pureeing shrimp in your Vitamix to ease consumption to no avail, these delectable oyster shots ($5) are for you. River Oyster Bar is the perfect after work spot to commiserate over seafood so fresh it's practically squirming on your plate. Made with a lemon-thyme infused vodka, the shots are then poured over fresh blue-point oysters. These appetizing drinks, are one part Bloody Mary, and equal parts backwoods erectile dysfunction cure-all.
Emerald Smoke at Radio Bar
Walking into this South Pointe hot spot is like stepping into a bro-hipster mind melt. Radio Bar has wood paneling and a retro pool table to please the gents, but they also serve expertly mixed cocktails served in thrift shop glassware that looks like it's straight out of your grandmother's cabinet. There's something for everyone here, especially if you like your liquor with a little heat.
Their Emerald Smoke ($12) is made with an jalapeño-açaí liqueur, kale, cucumber, lime, and mezcal. If that sounds like a mouthful, just wait till you try it. One sip and you'll feel the delightfully numbing effects of pepper, finishing with a smoky aftertaste that lives up to its name.
Micheladas at Rosa Mexicano
Mexico's answer to the bloody mary is this tasty beer-based cocktail. Made with an artful combination of clamato juice, beer, and limes, micheladas are thought of as the perfect hangover cure in several Latin American countries.
Rosa Mexicano is the ideal place to dip your feet into the michelada pool. With locations all over the country, Rosa Mexicano not only makes Martha Stewart's favorite guacamole, but also serves this authentic salty treat. All micheladas ($7) are served with a chile de arbol and guajillo chile salted rim for an extra kick. Choose between a traditional Tecate beer base, or more upscale Negro Modelo. Just remember to ask for some hot sauce on the side, and dab away to taste.
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Dirty Martini at Morton's Steakhouse
Walking into Morton's is like stepping into a life-size time capsule -- instantly you're transported back into a darker, more insular, and more masculine world of fine dining. At this traditional American steakhouse, it's best not to order a skinny girl anything to wash down the artery clogging 20-oz. rib eye you're consuming. Stick to the classics, and pair your meat with their delectable dirty martini ($12). Who new that a simple combination of olive juice and water could cut through hard liquor so effectively? Don't be fooled by the delicate presentation, this cocktail will get you buzzed and loosen your waistline just in time for your second baked potato.