The Broken Shaker Opens
Elad Zvi, Gabriel Orta, and Sydell Group's Roy Alpert preparing for opening.
All photos by Laine Doss
The Miami cocktail scene has just gotten a little more interesting with the opening of the permanent edition of the Broken Shaker.
Bar Lab's Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi opened Miami's first pop-up cocktail lounge last January. It quickly became the place to go to get sophisticated cocktails at reasonable prices, and the little lounge inside the slightly-faded Indian Creek Hotel soon became the go-to place for locals, tourists, and industry insiders. Then, a short six months later, the pop-up closed, as intended.
Now, after much anticipation, the Broken Shaker is back inside the same property, though it's been renovated and renamed. The Indian Creek has been turned
into Freehand Miami, an upscale hostel by the Sydell Group and the Broken
Shaker has refreshed their lounge and expanded the outdoor area.
The small herb garden has become a major focal point of the patio. Young fruit trees have
been planted around the property. Orta pointed out the starfruit that
was already starting to appear, destined for some cocktail glass in the
Broken Shaker's agave fairy.
Unlike most establishments that renovate a space and
pass the costs on to the consumer, the price of a signature cocktail has
been lowered to $8. Many of these libations reflect the experiences
Orta and Zvi had this past year while traveling both as guest
mixologists and on exploration trips to New Orleans, New York, and Oaxaca. One such trip, a visit to Sean
Brock's Husk in Charleston, proved especially enlightening. Orta told
Short Order, "Here's this guy and he's making his own vinegars and he
pickles everything. He's got one room just filled with animal parts.
He's the real deal." That trip is the inspiration for the Agave Fairy,
made with homemade pineapple vinegar and tequila, dressed with a pickled radish.
The garden negroni.
Other offerings include a garden negroni, a classic that gets added
depth from fresh herbs from the Broken Shaker's garden; and a holy
grail, and old-fashioned made with pumpkin reduction, toasted pecan
bitters, and bourbon. A rye cider is made with thyme honey and lemon plucked from their own trees.
Living up to their Bar Lab moniker, Orta
and Zvi were working on some house-made bitters when we arrived. Don't
be surprised if your cocktail has the earthiness of a mushroom or the
smokiness of well...smoked fish. We asked what on earth Orta planned to
do with his fish/juniper bitters. "Well, the juniper would compliment a
gin and the smokiness of the fish would work well with certain
tequilas." In all honesty, we tried the bitters and they were quite
wonderful, if a bit unusual.
In addition to cocktails, the lounge offers a small hand-picked selection of beers including Miller
High Life ($3); Cigar City IPA ($6), Session Lager ($5); Negro Especial
($5); Angry Orchard cider ($6); Michael's Genuine Home Brew ($12); and
Ommegang Brewery Abbey Ale ($12). Wines by the glass ($11) are also
The Broken Shaker will bring back their punches, and a
bowl, which serves 4-8 people, is $150. Choose your spirit, fruit, and
botanical and your bartender will create a custom punch to share with
Plans in the works include barrel-aged cocktails, custom blended with a choice of spirits and flavor profiles. Barrels can be consumed at one time,
for a party or gathering, or patrons will have the option of having
their custom barrel stored at the lounge. A weekly barbecue is planned. The restaurant, which will be
in an adjacent 1930s house, is targeted for a spring 2013 opening.
the meantime, the lounge is open daily with small bites for munching, games, and hand crafted cocktails. We're looking forward to playing Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots with a negroni in our hands. It's sort of a childhood dream, come to life.
The backyard has plenty of different seating choices and environments. Grab a cocktail and sit by the pool, find a corner, or enjoy the fresh scent of the herb garden. Though the Broken Shaker has been given some polish and permanent status, what hasn't been lost is its unpretentious vibe where people can enjoy a solid drink at a good price.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Miami dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.