Best Martini 2016 | Traymore Gin Bar | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Courtesy of Traymore

Martinis are both cocktail and lifestyle. As such, they must be respected and enjoyed. This is not a drink to be guzzled from a red Solo cup while Anthrax plays on the juke in some crummy dive bar. For a proper experience, grab a seat at the Traymore Gin Bar. A soothing nod to Miami Beach's art deco era, the room features silver tones, and bottles of gin are the main decoration. Your bartender greets you with a warm welcome, along with shiny platters of assorted nuts and olives. Ladies are offered freestanding racks for their handbags alongside their barstools. Though there are other cocktails, you're here for a well-crafted martini. Order it dry or dirty with blue cheese olives ($15). For a true experience, select a special spirit from the bar's collection of more than 30 gins from around the world. As you sip this elixir of the gods, Sinatra croons softly as palm trees sway gently outside. This is as far from downing hootch in a red Solo cup as it gets.

Readers' choice: The Capital Grille

Tom Colicchio isn't just any celebrity chef. The multiple James Beard Award winner also holds an Emmy for his work on Top Chef and is heavily involved in social and political activism, especially on issues such as GMO labeling and the use of antibiotics in our foods. It stands to reason, then, that his Miami Beach restaurant, Beachcraft, sources only the best produce for its kitchens. This fresh and local mentality also works its way onto Colicchio's bar menu. The drinks use fresh fruits, herbs, and flowers to create unique and delicious cocktails. The cocktail menu changes with the seasons to use what's fresh, such as a bright Jalisco Kiss, with tequila and juniper-rose water syrup, ($15) and a Where There's Smoke There's Fire, with rye and blood-orange juice ($16). One can't-miss is the Tom's Flip on Collins, a frothy take on the classic cocktail for which the bar is named ($14). Whatever you order, know that each drink is made with the same care that the Beard winner takes on his food menu.

Have you ever gone out for a few glasses of wine with a friend and then lamented when the check came: "I could've had an entire freaking bottle for this price!" Actually, at Happy Wine in Coconut Grove, you can get a bottle of wine for the price of a few glasses. It's a lovely old two-story house converted into a wine bar. Choose a bottle and pull up a stool made from wine crates at a wine-barrel table. If you have trouble choosing, the friendly staff will help. Though prices vary, there's a good selection of wines less than $25 per bottle from around the world. Even with an $8 corkage fee, it's a bargain. Add to this a wonderful tapas menu that ranges from a cheese board ($24.99) to fried oysters ($15.99), and live music most evenings, and you'll swear you're in some hideaway in Barcelona instead of the Grove. Happy Wine also has a well-stocked wine shop, so if you fall in love with a Barolo, you can take it home.

You stayed out too late last night and had a few too many. Now the Miami sun is burning your retinas, your heart is racing, and your skull is beating out an angry tribal message of death. You need La Perrada de Edgar's famous Colombianos — Colombian hot dogs topped with otherworldly creations. Some here are named after countries, some after owner Edgar Gomez, but none of the monikers makes sense. Take, for example, the Swiss hot dog ($6.49), topped with mozzarella, corn, bacon, pink sauce, and potato sticks (none of which Switzerland is known for), or the Super Edgar, which gets freaky by topping a dog with cheese, pineapple, blackberry, plum, and whipped cream ($6.49). Somehow it works. The seemingly insane combinations both taste great and serve a utilitarian purpose of replenishing your shriveled-up hull with much-needed sodium and protein. If you're not feeling up for an adventure, get the salchipapa — an order of fries mixed with plain hot-dog chunks ($6.99) — and you'll be feeling right in no time.

Courtesy of Serendipity

Serendipity, a hole-in-the-wall ice-cream shop in Wynwood, started out as a rogue pop-up during Art Basel 2014. Now it's a permanent fixture, which means its boozy, one-of-a-kind flavor pairings are always at your fingertips. The artisanal shop is owned by Jessica Levison, who has learned that the Wynwood area has a big appetite for alcohol-infused ice cream. She says flavors such as rum raisin, white Russian, and dark chocolate whiskey are much more popular than her nonalcoholic flavors. This has prompted her to experiment and develop recipes using local beers and spirits. She offers special-order popsicle varieties such as mojito, strawberry daiquiri, piña colada, and passionfruit vodka too. Her flagship location is in Surfside, but most of her alcohol-inspired treats are offered at her Wynwood spot.

Yo, fro-yo. Why are you so tasty? So versatile? So good at just about any time of the day? MC Hammer should've made a song about you. Vanilla Ice was on the right track. And so is Yuzu Frozen Yogurt & Crêpes (open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily except Sunday, when hours are noon to midnight). Grab a friend. Take your boo. Then head to Brickell for a healthier way to chill out. The homemade recipes are dope. Check out fresh mint, raspberry, or salted caramel. Or snag the classics: cookies 'n' cream, vanilla, and dulce de leche. Twelve all-natural rotating flavors come in low-fat or nonfat and are made with probiotics. Eat 'em how you like — by themselves or with fresh fruit and other sweet toppings. Whichever way you decide to dip, flip, or spin it, you definitely can't touch this.

Photo courtesy of Bianco Gelato

Miami is a hotbed for frozen treats. Walk through any touristy part of town, and you're likely to encounter all manner of fro-yo and ice cream. Just because you want to indulge in something cool and creamy doesn't mean you should settle for anything less than freshly made and organic gelato. Federico Di Franco's family has been making the Italian version of ice cream for years. The gelato maestro brought his family recipe from Milan to Coconut Grove. And just like back in Italy, DiFranco uses only organic ingredients — antibiotic-free milk, local fruit, Italian nuts, and Belgian chocolate. Bianco Gelato also has dairy-free gelatos and granitas for vegans and the lactose-intolerant; delicious and exotic flavors include pineapple-mint and pistachio. With prices ranging from $5 for a piccolo (small) to $7 for a grande (large), it's a tiny trip to Italy with a price tag you can afford.

Francesco Tonelli / Courtesy of Purple PR

Angel food isn't cake, and chocolate is just too sweet. "But what about funfetti and red velvet?" you ask. Chemicals, through and through. No, my friends, it's carrot cake you want. And not just any carrot cake. You want yours prepared under the guidance of French gastronomic luminary Jean-Georges Vongerichten. At the slick-haired toque's Mediterranean bazaar tucked inside Miami Beach's Edition hotel, each slice ($8) seems as if it came straight from Heaven. Sure, the cream cheese frosting is rich and sugary, but there's an unexpected lightness, like a sweet cloud. Strands of earthy cinnamon, nutmeg, and bright-orange carrots are woven throughout each bite. Then, when you think it's all over, you get a bite of dulce de leche Rice Krispies. Soon you're texting your friends, letting them know where to get your next birthday cake.

Readers' choice: Fireman Derek's Bake Shop & Cafe

Karli Evans

At the Coconut Grove Organic Market every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Glaser Organic Farms serves out of what looks like a nuclear-containment cylinder some of the most refreshing frozen desserts around. This ice cream is made with churned organic nut milk and coconuts sweetened with agave and dates instead of sugar. You can treat yourself to a couple of scoops without worrying about your waistline. Flavors, all of which are delicious, include banana walnut, chocolate mousse, pistachio, strawberry macadamia, and maple pecan. If you can't make it to the farmers' market, Glaser's website offers 16-ounce containers of ice cream for $12 each if you're willing to pay for UPS ground shipping and a charge for dry ice starting at $8.

Photo courtesy of Bunnie Cakes
Bunnie Cake's passionfruit cupcake.

For the past few years, Bunnie Cakes has challenged South Florida palates. The Wynwood bakery has a menu of more than 20 flavors of cupcake. They are baked without eggs, butter, soy, or peanuts. The kosher and vegan establishment also offers gluten-free goods. The minicupcakes go for $2 a pop. The large ones cost $3.75. They look like your garden-variety cupcakes, tucked snugly into liners and topped with a swirl of frosting, but their taste is tremendous. They offer uniquely South Florida flavors such as guava, passionfruit, key lime, and dulce no leche, along with more traditional varieties like vanilla, double chocolate, and red velvet.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®