From Wednesday, February 19, through Sunday, February 23, thousands of people will flock to the sandy shores of Miami Beach for the 19th-annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Though most fans gravitate toward culinary events to eat their fill of savory and sweet delights, a handful of folks prefer to drink their calories at spirit-centric bacchanals.
If you find yourself in the latter category, cheers, because this year's festival welcomes a plethora of fresh cocktail events offering seemingly endless pours by the industry's most esteemed mixologists. From the beloved Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown to newcomer Spike Your Ice Cream, the following five events are the fest's booziest.
Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown
Come Friday night, South Florida's top bartenders will duke it out at the Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown, sponsored by Bacardi Rums and Patrón Tequila. The affair, complete with flower leis and drink umbrellas, will invoke the spirit of Don the Beachcomber — the king of tiki — with classic, tropical drinks such as Zombies and Painkillers. Former contestant Jesus Perez, who represented Employees Only in 2018, shares the key to a proper tiki cocktail: "I love tiki culture as a whole, but a winning tiki drink will transport you to another time and place and calls for a lot of my favorite spirit: rum." This year's contestants include bartenders from Spanglish, the Sylvester, Esotico, Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery, and Mama Tried. 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, February 21, at Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel, 1717 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $95 via sobewff.org/tiki.
Craft-y Happy Hour
Party with celebrity chef Marc Murphy at Thursday's Craft-y Happy Hour. The boozy affair will show off the craftier side of cocktails made with only small-batch spirits. Fueled by hors d'oeuvres and libations, guests may roam the verdant Mondrian pool grounds and interact with top mixologists and brand ambassadors who will teach the basic principles and benefits of craft spirits. 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, February 20, at the Mondrian South Beach, 1100 West Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $95 via sobewff.org/crafty.
Daquiris & Pastelitos Master Class
Spend the afternoon with chef Giovanni Fesser, AKA Pastelito Papi, as he takes you on a flavorful journey via Miami's favorite pastry. Learn the ins and outs of pastelito-making in this guided master class that culminates with guests' very own hand-crafted guava-and-cheese masterpieces. According to Fesser, the star of the show is the locally sourced fruit. "We really want to highlight the guava, which we've sourced from Jorge Zaldivar of PG Tropicals in the Redland," he says. Wash them all down with guava daiquiris thoughtfully crafted by Havana Club rum's Giovanny Gutierrez. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, February 22, at SGWS Wynwood, 2105 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $95 via sobewff.org/pastelito.
Sips & Succulents Master Class
Sponsored by Havana Club rum and La Succulenta, this master class couples cocktails and horticulture for a unique, interactive experience. According to host Giovanny Gutierrez of Chat Chow, guests can expect a spirit-filled afternoon of unconventional gardening. "Partygoers will learn how to make a craft cocktail using Havana Club rum and Goya products. Then they'll create their own upcycled arrangement within a Goya can to take home as a souvenir." 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, February 22, at SGWS Wynwood, 2105 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $95 via sobewff.org/succulents.
Spike Your Ice Cream
There's arguably no better duo than ice cream and bourbon. Led by cocktail maven and author of the book Miami Cocktails, Gabe Urrutia and artisanal ice-cream shop Salt & Straw, hailing from Portland, Oregon, this interactive master class explores the philosophy of the favorite frozen treat, but with a boozy twist. Attendees will concoct their own spirited creations by mixing bourbon, whiskey, and Scotch into Salt & Straw flavors such as coffee & bourbon, honey lavender, and Miami-inspired flavors such as Panther coffee & chocolate tres leches. 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 23, at SGWS Wynwood, 2105 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $95 via sobewff.org/salt.
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