During the dog days of summer, the dangerous combination of extreme heat and high humidity sends most Miamians running for an air conditioner or a cold drink. If it’s the latter you’re looking for, the Magic City is also known as a boozy city, with a wealth of sophisticated cocktail programs turning out updated menus that reflect the season.
From refreshing fruit-filled libations to bone-chilling slushes, prepare to be whisked away to a tropical paradise getaway in the form of a nice cool glass. Imbibe on ten of the best summer cocktails right this moment in the 305. After all, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!
1. Not Your Average Zombie at the Local Craft Food & Drink
Skip that watered-down, artificially flavored cocktail, and head to Coral Gables hot spot the Local Craft Food and Drink for the perfect pick-me-up on a hot summer day or in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Not Your Average Zombie ($13) features a tall glass of Brugal Especial, Appleton Signature, Afrohead 15-Year Rum, Pama, guanabana, lime, and pineapple ice to keep the drink cold and strong — which is exactly what you need to survive.
2. Guayaba Dream at Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
Miami denizens love their guava, especially stuffed inside flaky pastelitos and iconic ice cream flavors. But what better way to enjoy the beloved deep pink-colored fruit than by adding it to booze? Leave it to Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill to do just that in its dream-come-true cocktail, the Guayaba Dream Slush ($13). Sweetened with guava purée, the organic Ketel One vodka slushie from Kelvin Slush also uses orange bitters and a Disaronno floater that pairs well with Sugarcane’s selection of oysters and fresh crudos.
3. The Wall at Blackbird Ordinary
Let’s take a moment to commemorate two summer essentials: an outdoor patio and watermelon, both of which can be found at Blackbird Ordinary. Quench your thirst with the Wall, priced at $13 and made with Vida mezcal, serrano chili syrup, cucumber, soda water, lime, and watermelon. It’s best savored out back as you dance, lounge, or simply waste the night away with friends.
4. Zuma Mai Tai at Zuma
The classic Polynesian cocktail gets a contemporary Japanese twist at the izakaya-style Zuma Miami, located at the swank Epic in downtown. For $14, order the Zuma mai tai, with plum sake, house-made rum grog, fresh pineapple juice, blood orange, a squeeze of lime, and almond essence, for an update to the celebrated summertime sipper.
5. Pretty Girl at Seaspice
As a long-established Magic City favorite and the unofficial drink of South Florida, the mojito gets a major summer makeover at Seaspice, downtown's superchic seafood brasserie and lounge. The Pretty Girl ($14) maintains its refreshing charm, while mixing in fresh watermelon juice, lime, agave, and Barceló Gran Platinum for a lighter, less-guilty version of the sweet and indulgent original.
6. Miami Rhapsody at Bitter Truth
Drink up this season’s craft cocktails at Midtown’s steampunk watering hole, plastered in art and vintage detail. The cool neighborhood vibes and live entertainment are enough to lure you in, but one sip of Bitter Truth’s Miami Rhapsody will make you want to stay much longer. A luscious, icy blend of Cherry Heering, Pimm’s Blackberry & Elderflower, Fernet Branca, Diplomático rum, and coconut-cinnamon cream come together for a frozen treat that’s worth the brain freeze.
7. Hibiscus 29 at Copper 29
This Coral Gables gastrolounge has plenty of boozy options, including an array of simple beverages and a curated list of signature craft cocktails that expertly blend unusual ingredients and house-made syrups. Try the Hibiscus 29, a mix of Facundo Neo silver rum, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, bergamot acid foam, and its namesake ingredient, hibiscus shrub. Take in its sweet-but-tart flavor profile with an accent of exotic floral notes as you enjoy Copper 29’s speakeasy vibes.
8. Key Lime Martini at Cantina La Veinte
It may be the season for summer travel, but forego the trek to the Florida Keys if it’s a taste of key lime pie you’re craving. Brickell’s Cantina La Veinte has you covered with its key lime martini ($17), infused with Ketel One, Liquor 43, lime juice, agave, nectar, and cream. It’s just what you need to start your summer escape, or at least for a moment, pretend you’re headed on one.
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9. White Summer Sangria at Graziano’s
Good until the very last drop — or until someone cuts you off — Graziano’s house-made white summer sangria ($12) features a mix of imported Mezcal, white-sparking Gancia, and San Pedro de Yacochuya torrontes, topped with a beautiful medley of fruit, including freshly squeezed oranges, sliced apples, pears, and grapes. Order a pitcher for the table for $49.
10. Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
If you think dark liquor is too heavy for summer, you haven’t tried Yardbird’s signature blackberry bourbon lemonade ($12) that’s just as refreshing now as it is all year long. This blackberry punch fuses Buffalo Trace bourbon, fresh lemon, and cardamom for an epic harmony of tartness, bitterness, and sweetness. Complete your Yardbird experience with its equally renowned crispy fried chicken and cheddar cheese waffle platter, served with even more booze in the form of bourbon maple syrup.