Miami Beach is a whole lot more than just a strip of sand. This tropical paradise is where America comes to vacation thanks to beautiful weather, the world’s largest cruise ports and oh yeah, the beach. Most don’t know that once you get past the tourist area of Ocean Drive, Miami Beach is actually an underrated city for great food and drinks. The cocktail scene in particular has blossomed in recent years and people are skipping the beach dive bars for classy eateries with a cocktail menu as unique as their clientele. Whether you’re in town for just a night before cruising or you’re spending the week at a beachside resort like The Gates Hotel South Beach, here are some of the best places to grab a quality cocktail on Miami Beach and what you should order when you get there!
The Cocktail Comeback
One of the hottest industries in America these days is craft beer and the number of breweries that have popped up all over the country is well into the thousands. While everyone’s been focused on hops and malt, Miami Beach craft cocktails are surging in popularity as well thanks to creative bartenders and hip watering holes where everything is out of the ordinary. While some places offer fishbowl gimmick drinks, our favorite Miami Beach hotel bars go for quality over quantity.
It’s impossible to explore Miami without experiencing Latin culture and at OLA Restaurant, Spanish and Caribbean flavors dominate the menu. Located within The Gates Hotel South Beach, OLA features a drink menu with a local twist on many of your favorite cocktails. The OLA Margarita features tequila blanco, Cointreau, lime, grapefruit juice and agave nectar. Served with a lime slice and salted rim, the OLA Margarita is like a vacation in your glass.
Another popular cocktail at OLA is a Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. A Caipirinha features Cachaça, an alcohol made from sugarcane, mixed with lime juice and sugar. Presentation is an important part of any cocktail at OLA so expect colorful drinks with a large wedge of fruit or muddled herbs for flavor and esthetic.
Continue south down the beach and you’ll find another fantastic South Beach hotel with a can’t-miss cocktail bar inspired by Italy in the ‘60s. Dolce Italian sits inside the Gale South Beach Curio Collection by Hilton and has one of the best happy hours on South Beach. A covered outdoor area offers respite from the Miami sun and the Cucumber Dolce Mule is the perfect drink to keep the cool vibes going. A twist on a classic Moscow Mule, the Cucumber Dolce Mule features cucumber vodka, lime juice, ginger beer and fresh cucumber slices. It’s cool and refreshing way to end a long day of soaking up rays on the beach!
Off the Beaten Path Bars and Cocktails
The first thing most notice when they walk into Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company is a giant, pink neon sign that reads Pursue Happiness. This hip spot is just a few blocks south of OLA near Collins Park and you’ll be hard pressed to find a trendier spot in the whole city.
The vibe is chill and the food is excellent, but what keeps people coming back for more is the outstanding cocktail menu where you’ll find drinks made from things well outside of the ordinary. Take the Collins Park, for example. It’s Fords Gin, creme de peche, lemon, orange blossom, egg white and matcha. If that’s not strange enough for your tastebuds, try the Sweet Potato Pain Killer which features Sweet Liberty’s 3 rum blend, sweet potato juice, coconut cream, orange juice and allspice.
The next time you visit Miami Beach, make sure you take time to check out some of the city’s trendiest spots for craft cocktails. There’s no shortage of hot spots with cool drinks to explore and it’s a great way to slip into vacation-mode if you’re headed out on a cruise the next day.