Yesterday I had a fun-filled day of playing tourist in Miami where there is never a shortage of bars to hit up for good drinks. A little background, however, I am not a native Floridian and have only recently come back to the South Florida area. Clubs and bars come and go, and since my last living experience revolved around college and work, sampling rums wasn’t the priority – just drinking rum as often as I could.
Pairing my to-do list with some suggestions from a friend that markets to bars, I made my way to Bodega Taqueria y Tequila. A speakeasy meets food truck-like restaurant upon entrance, there is a full bar (hidden by a faux freezer door). I ordered food which was good but not great; my mom cooks great tostadas so my standards for Mexican food are high. On a Saturday afternoon, the line for the food was pleasantly short and the inside bar which is cleverly hidden was preparing for the evening. I can’t speak for the drinks but taking a look at the restaurant part of Bodega, I can only assume this is the type of bar to order a simple rum and chaser over a handcrafted-drink. While I will have to go back to sample the cocktails, I enjoyed getting a feel for the atmosphere. For fellow bloggers and those that like to take pictures for Instagram like #wishyouwerehere and #Ilivewhereyouvacation, Bodega offers a number of photo-ops.
THE BROKEN SHAKER
After Bodega, and not too far away, I headed over to the The Broken Shaker. Part of the Freehand Hotel, The Broken Shaker has a lot to offer when it comes to the laid-back garden party-feel complete with a pool, palm trees, and of course, handcrafted cocktails. There was this Target commercial I used to see where there’s a garden or backyard party complete with stringed lighting which somehow made everything look prettier if not, perfect. This was the feeling I had as I sipped my cocktail and was offered complimentary water with plenty of fresh mint and a cucumber. Side note: Mint grows like a weed and every restaurant and bar should have a mint garden so that I might always feel spoiled with my table water.
I requested something that: included rum, was a bit refreshing, and not too sweet. I was so enthralled with the bar itself that I didn’t think to watch all of what my bartender Gabriel was doing. All I can recall is that my drink included Mount Gay Black Barrel, absinthe (just to coat the glass I’m told), pineapple (maybe), Angostura Bitters, and I’m probably missing 4 other ingredients. The result was a beautiful cocktail without a name; I am missing Game of Thrones as I now realize it really could be “A Cocktail Has No Name.”
I will always appreciate when I can give a bartender an idea of what I prefer and they can come up with something that isn’t on the menu. I follow the rule of ideas when I shop and when I get my hair done because even if I like something, I want to know if there is something better. I watched a young gentleman request something for someone who likes bourbons and whiskeys and after a couple questions, tah-dah, another satisfied customer. Like a chef, these bartender/mixologists are taking ingredients that compliment one another and without digging through a bartender’s cocktail guide. I respect that and while there are times where I simply want my rum straight up or neat, when you have the ambience of being on vacation, sometimes you want to feel like your drink needs an umbrella or in my case, a pretty gingham straw. If you’re someone that can’t seem to pick a drink from a menu, or if you like to feel like you’re special and want a one-of-a-kind drink, head on over to the Broken Shaker.