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Gabriel Urrutia's Book Miami Cocktails Is an Ode to Miami Drinking Culture

Miami Cocktails, Gabriel Urrutia's first book, highlights the Magic City's cocktail culture.
Miami Cocktails, Gabriel Urrutia's first book, highlights the Magic City's cocktail culture.
Photo by Nicole Danna

Local hospitality industry veteran Gabriel Urrutia has penned a book highlighting Miami's cocktail culture and history.

Miami Cocktails, released earlier this month ($13.49 via Amazon), takes you inside the city's best bars for a closer look at the mixologists, establishments, and recipes that make Miami's cocktail scene what it is today. The collection of recipes introduces readers to the city's most influential enthusiasts, fashionistas, foodies, bartenders, and nightlife aficionados shaping the flourishing cocktail culture.

Born and raised in Miami, Urrutia spent over a year researching Miami's best bars, interviewing mixologists who've helped shape the city's growing cocktail scene. A veteran of the area's spirit industry, Urrutia says he was in the right place at the right time, drawing on his two decades' experience while also writing for Edible South Florida and the Spirited Miami blog, which he founded.

"I was lucky enough to be here to witness the birth of cocktail culture in South Florida," Urrutia says. "I knew I wanted to capture that moment in time — the stories, passion, and journey Miami has gone through to create our drinking culture. This book is a story told through cocktails, detailing the history of the scene as we know it today."

While it's a recipe book at heart, Urrutia also wants locals and tourists to use Miami Cocktails as a guidebook. From Coral Gables and Coconut Grove to West Kendall and Dadeland, the book helps imbibers travel the entire county from the comfort of their own kitchens. For home entertaining, over 100 recipes honor and reinvent classics while making the best of South Florida's year-round local produce.

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Likewise, cocktail enthusiasts can use the book as a guide to drinking like a local. You'll also find tips on food, landmarks to visit, must-see destinations, and historical stories of Miami that locals and tourists alike will enjoy.

"Yes, you can make these cocktails at home," Urrutia says. "But maybe you'll decide to head to that bar instead, meet the bartender, and enjoy the city, food, cocktails, and ambiance that makes Miami so special."

The book is dedicated to late Miami mixologist and Sweet Liberty cofounder John Lermayer. One of the most influential bartenders in Miami, Lermayer is best known for reinventing quintessential classics like the piña colada. His take on the tropical libation is still served today at Sweet Liberty.

"A lot of these people, John included, helped make Miami what it is today," Urrutia says. "Some pretty amazing people have put their flag in the sand to make Miami a better place to drink — but also eat, enjoy bars, and create a culture that people didn't know they wanted or needed. It was an honor to write this book for Miami."

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