The Rum Line doesn't want to be known as just a tiki bar. The new outdoor spot for cocktails, located on the patio adjacent to Lure Fishbar, would rather you recall the romance of Miami Beach in the 1940s and '50s, when it was a playground for the well-heeled who liked a bit of sand in their toes and a lot of rum in their glass.
That's perfectly OK with us, but since there's a dearth of bars in Miami Beach serving potent potables in porcelain skulls, if you're hankering to sip a tiki cocktail under the stars, this is your new, best hideaway.
At last evening's media preview, the tiki gods weren't exactly smiling down on the weather, and the outdoor party was rained out. Nevertheless, the space is just what Miami Beach needs -- an al fresco patio filled with classy rattan furniture and lights swaying in the breeze.
Guests can enjoy a cocktail at large communal tables, the bar (where a large wooden parrot greets you), or at a little nook for two.
The cocktail program, created by Robert Ferrara, is segmented in several categories: Old School, where you'll find the classics like the mojito, the dark and stormy, the caipirinha, and the mai tai. Under Daiquiri Time Out, you'll rediscover what a real daiquiri tastes like. New School features well-balanced cocktails with tiki flair. True, most of the libations are rum-based (as evidenced by the bar's name), but that doesn't stop Ferrara from working with other spirits like gin in his Singapore Sling, vodka in the Copacabana (made with muddled strawberries), and scotch in the Donkey Kong.
I never thought I'd live to see the day that I enjoyed a tiki cocktail made with scotch. The Donkey Kong ($15), made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Banane du Bresil, orgeat, and lime simply works on all levels. It's fruity, bold, but not too sweet. Plus, there's a monkey floating in it. Because what's good simply turns great when monkeys are involved.
Robert Ferrara warns the crowd to go easy on the Tug Boat ($14). A traditionally boozy tiki-styled drink, it's made with Mt. Gay Black Barrel, Allspice Dram, honey, ginger, and Wray & Nephew Overproof (basically the lighter fluid of the Caribbean). It goes down smooth, but beware the overproof, which can sneak up on you, as Ferrara cautions, "Why do you think we put it in a skull?" Good point!
By the way, if you're into cocktails that come with warning labels, check out the Zombie No. 305 ($18). Made with Bacardi 8 Year, Olmeca Altos tequila, Lemon Hart 151, Kronan Swedish Punch, and served in an absinthe-rinsed glass, it has a two-drink maximum attached to it. Proceed at your own risk.
If you're looking for bright and fruit-forward, check out the Copacabana ($16), a breezy drink made with Absolut, Veev acai, mint, lemon, orange, basil, and what seems like a full pound of fresh strawberries.
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The Port of Call ($13) will have you praying to the porcelain god... literally. Served in a traditional ceramic tiki god, the cocktail features Atlantico Reserva, Ancho Reyes, Solbeso, almond milk, passion fruit, lime, and cinnamon. Each cocktail comes with its own mini pirate, by the way.
The Rum Line is open Thursday - Sunday evenings from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday evenings are industry night, with guest bartenders, with Julio Cabrera taking a turn at the bar this week to bring Ball & Chain's Havana Nights to South Beach.