Desserts After Dark Puts a Boozy Spin on Dessert Wars

Desserts After Dark pairs liquor-infused desserts with beer and spirits like this tres leches parfait from Hialeah-based Tres Leches y Mas.
Desserts After Dark pairs liquor-infused desserts with beer and spirits like this tres leches parfait from Hialeah-based Tres Leches y Mas. Photo courtesy of Tres Leches y Mas
Have you ever paired chocolate with wine? Cupcakes with Champagne? Beer with brownies?

Later this month, you can sample these kinds of pairings and more at a new event focused on pairing booze-infused treats with dessert-inspired adult beverages.

This week, local entrepreneur and event creator Brad Matthews announced the launch of Desserts After Dark, a grownups-only spinoff of his popular Miami-born event, Dessert Wars, now considered one of the largest dessert-themed festivals in the US.

Unlike Dessert Wars, this one promises will be both sweet and intoxicating.

Matthews tells New Times the idea for Dessert After Dark took shape when breweries began reaching out to him, offering to pair their dessert-flavored beers with the event's sweet treats.

"They would pitch to me how well their beers pair with desserts, and they wanted to be part of the event," Matthews says. "Now that we've done this event over a dozen times, it seemed like the next logical step for the evolution of Dessert Wars."

Later this month, after months of planning, Miami will play host to the inaugural Desserts After Dark, where more than 40 vendors will pair boozy desserts with spirits, beer, and more. The event takes place on Saturday, January 29, in the 30,000-square-foot event space at River Landing.

"Expect a very Miami-centric lineup, with everything from liquor-infused tres leches, liqueur-topped shaved ice, and boozy ice cream to dessert-flavored beers, vodka, and more," Matthews says.

According to Matthews, the invite-only list of dessert makers will include a number of never-before-seen bakers and confection creators alongside a number of Dessert Wars veterans. To date, more than 30 vendors have signed on to participate, with a variety of Miami- and Florida-based brands that range from ice cream and confection creators to distilleries, breweries, and wineries including Palm Beach Distillery, Islamorada Brewery & Distiller, and Pitbull's Voli 305 vodka.

Tickets for Desserts After Dark are on sale now, priced from $55-$75 per person. General-admission and VIP tickets include a custom five-ounce beer glass, a Dessert Wars T-shirt, and access to all of the vendors, with one-hour early admission for VIP ticket holders.

As with Dessert Wars, two competitions will take place during the event — one for food and another for beverages — to decide the city's top vendors.

"Events are fun, but competitions make them even better," Matthews says. "With this new event, we are creating a very Miami vibe that both the vendors and fans will enjoy, and we look forward to welcoming a lot of new faces to the festival."

Desserts After Dark. 4 to 8 p.m.Saturday, January 29, at River Landing Miami, 1400 NW North River Dr., Miami. Tickets cost $55 to $75 at
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna