The Five Best Experiences From Drink Miami Hostel 2018

It’s not inaccurate to describe Drink Miami Hostel as fashion week for cocktails. This past Saturday, the cocktail event that’s sold out every year brought back a tour de force of liquor brands with nearly 40 drinks from around the world, inspired by countries as close to home as Cuba and as far away as Greece.

A few trends were readily apparent, from the abundance of rum — oftentimes served on the rocks — to en vogue sustainability. This year, Bacardi and Ilegal Mezcal opted for metal or paper straws and reusable cups to reduce waste. Bacardi even garnished its Cuatro Sunset Swizzle — a punch-style cocktail made with lychee ice cream and pineapple, lime, and grapefruit juices — with an edible flower.

Of all the choices, a few brands stood out from the rest. Here are some of the notable cocktails from this year’s Drink Miami Hostel.

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Bartender Gabe Benavides celebrates at Ron Diplomático.EXPAND
Bartender Gabe Benavides celebrates at Ron Diplomático.
Photo by Alex Markow

1. Ron Diplomático's Island Retreat. Bartenders Gabe Benavides and Ben Potts served drinks in Ron Diplomático’s tropical-island-themed room. "We're an island off the coast of Venezuela getting fucked up," Benavides proclaimed as he mixed the room's signature cocktail, a bright-orange rum-based cocktail that’s two parts coconut water, one part cinnamon, and a dash of chocolate bitters. "Suntan lotion, rum, coconuts, people, sun, sweat," Benavides continued. "Paragliding!" All of the guests in the room agreed: It was the best room, due in no small part to Benavides’ exuberance.

Ilegal MezcalEXPAND
Ilegal Mezcal
Photo by Alex Markow

2. Ilegal Mezcal's Sustainable Vibes. At Ilegal Mezcal, guests could vibe in a room bathed in a dark glow while a singer crooned soft, sexy tunes in the corner. And it was guilt-free: Everything, from the coconut cups to the metal straws, was recycled.

Scotch & Soda's gin and tonicEXPAND
Scotch & Soda's gin and tonic
Photo by Alex Markow

3. Scotch & Soda's Fashionable GNT. Scotch & Soda was the only brand present that wasn’t technically a spirits company. The Amsterdam-based clothing brand, which has stores in Miami, thought it would be a funny play on words to partner with Bombay Sapphire to make a Scotch & Soda gin and tonic for Drink Miami. The bubbly libation garnished with pink peppercorns was the perfect refresher for sun-induced headiness.

Matador BarEXPAND
Matador Bar
Photo by Alex Markow

4. Absolut Elyx, Avion, and Glenlivet Founder's Reserve Matador Bar Pop-Up. The bar had three cocktails on the menu: the Copper Cup, made with Absolut Elyx vodka, lemon, ginger, hibiscus, and elderflower; the Albero, a bright-pink tequila-based drink with passionfruit, yellow Chartreuse, and lemon; and a summer punch made with a special blend of Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve (developed in collaboration with the bar), lemon, honey, Angostura bitters, and freshly grated nutmeg.

Photo by Alex Markow

5. Leblon's Cachaça Party. At Leblon’s electric-green table, brand ambassador specialist Samantha Barton mixed up caipirinhas, Brazil’s national drink, with a very knowledgeable smile. Cachaça is made from pressed and pulverized sugarcane. This process gives cachaça a funky, almost peppery and smoky flavor like mezcal. And there’s not much of it in the world: To truly be considered cachaça, it must be distilled in Brazil from Brazilian sugarcane.

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