Miami Beach's Surfcomber Hotel was transformed into a tropical oasis at the second annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival Art of Tiki. This cocktail showdown saw the best tiki bars in the country coming to Miami to create drinks filled with rum, spices, and juices.
The competition was fierce, with bars like Brooklyn's Fort Defiance putting on a show for its Body Snatcher cocktail, complete with an ancient mummy helping to serve up the drinks. Local favorites like Rum Line, Mai Kai, and Kreepy Tiki represented South Florida well in this spirited competition.
Guests were treated to leis, shots of Barbancourt rum and food by Naked Tiki, BC Taco, Blackbrick, Tropical Chinese, and Phuc Yea. Celebrity host Guy Fieri fired up the barbecue before reporting to the judges' table to deliberate on a winning drink.
Francesco Lafranconi of Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada, Julie Reiner of NYC's Clover Club, and, myself, Laine Doss, joined the Food Network celebrity as judges.
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Broken Shaker's Sweet Mickey, a sweet/tart blend of Barbancourt 3 Star, Barbancourt white, Amontillado sherry, spiced passionfruit syrup, lime, and mint, was deemed the superior cocktail by the judges. Fieri especially liked the fresh mulberry, picked from the Shaker's own tree, as a garnish. The cocktail, named after Haiti's president, was presented by Broken Shaker's Gui Jaroschy and Randy Perez, who offered up the drink on a Voodoo shrine.
This was the second win for Broken Shaker at Art of Tiki. Last year, the team took home the People's Choice award for its Paradise Found cocktail.
The 2016 peoples' choice award went to Cleveland's Porco Lounge and Tiki Room. The bar actually closed for the weekend so all the bartenders could travel to Miami Beach to present its Alchemy Hour, a creamy, spicy libation rimmed with a spiced salt. Served in a glass shrunken head by the bar team dressed as meth lab workers (or mad scientists)., the cocktail was a modern twist on classic coconut tiki drinks with a lip tingling sensation that clearly won the hearts of the crowd.