The Broken Shaker had been nominated for the award in the past, but this is the first win for the visionary cocktail bar, located at the Freehand Miami hotel. Bar partners Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi accepted the award to thunderous applause, with the win coming as a surprise to only them.
Earlier in the week at the William Grant & Sons reception, held at the World War II Museum, Orta said that, taking home the coveted award would be nice, but that just being nominated was enough.
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The ceremony, held at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans, is sort of the James Beard of spirits, with a panel of over 100 industry experts selecting the winners in an exhaustive weeklong process. According to David Wondrich, writing committee chair, choosing winners this war was made difficult due to the strong field of professionals in the running. “As far as the judges are concerned, each of the finalists is a true winner and would have dominated the field in an average year. It was humbling to have to choose among them.”
The Broken Shaker was, indeed, up against some stiff competition, beating out heavy hitters The Hawthorne at Boston's Hotel Commonwealth, Spare Room at The Roosevelt in Los Angeles, and Sable Kitchen and Bar at Chicago's Palomar Hotel. The bar, which first opened as a pop-up in winter 2012, has received multiple awards including a nod as one of the world's 50 best bars. It was named New Times' Readers' Choice for Best Bar, Best Hotel Bar, and Best Cocktails this year. The Shaker's tiki cocktail also won people's choice at last year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
This award —for industry, by industry — has special meaning. According to Gabe Orta, the win acknowledges both Broken Shaker as a world class bar and Miami as a serious cocktail city. "We are so proud and humble to be recognized by our peers. We have an amazing staff that makes this happen everyday. We're proud to bring this award back to our beloved city.
The Broken Shaker staff is back in Miami after a long and fruitful weekend in New Orleans. This would be a good time to stop in and toast to their amazing achievement.