Miami Mixology

Pedro Lara
03.03.19 10:21 AM Comment(s)

Miami’s Mixology Moment: 
From Beach to Chic and Everything in Between

They go by exotic, sometimes whimsical names: Reverse Vesper Martini, Hibiscus Caipirinha, or French 75.


But after you down a Spice of Love or two (made with fresh jalapeno, passionfruit puree, mango essence, and premium vodka) or a Run ‘n’ Bramble, (Santa Teresa Reserva Añejo rum, agave, yuzu, fresh blackberries, dry vermouth, Scrappy’s cardamom bitters, fresh basil) it starts to make sense. Either that, or the several strong drinks you’ve just consumed have worked their time-honored magic.

These are just a few libations selected from cocktail bars across Miami. To the inexperienced patron such sensual-sounding beverages and their pricey price tags might still not be fully understood. But in the hands of an expert mixologist, drinks like Run ‘n’ Bramble and others, are fast becoming the must-have essential to an increasingly sophisticated, upscale night.


Instead of just knocking back a cold one, or sipping on some Prosecco poured by your average bartender, mixology is something different, something special, and something unique. At its best mixology is a sensory experience that tantalizes the tongue and titillates the brain in a dopamine deluge of poured pleasure. Shaken or stirred with ingredients to match your exact mood, and topped with the perfect garnish, it is this personalized touch that, more than anything, sets mixology – and mixologists – apart. 

Older Than an Old-Fashioned: The History of Mixology

For the uninformed, mixology is a term that dates back to the 1850s. But like the Cosmopolitan (1/2 oz Fresh lime juice, 1 oz Cranberry juice, 1/2 oz Cointreau, 1 1/2 oz Vodka Citron) it’s a term that’s waxed and waned in public awareness (and popularity) over the decades. The modern mixology craze began in two waves – first in the late 1980s and 1990s (Thank you, Sex and the City) and then again in the 2010s as many cities witnessed downtown re-investment and an influx of 20 and 30-something Millennials. Mixology refers to the art and science of mixing – and creating – new, often striking drinks.


It follows then, that the mixologist is the man or woman behind the bar putting together the requested concoction. While all mixologists are bartenders, not all bartenders are mixologists. According to the American Bartending School the distinction between a regular bartender and a mixologist is similar to the difference between a professionally trained chef and a short order cook. Both will get the job done. But a professionally trained chef brings an experience level and sophistication the other cannot.


Not only are mixologists experts in mixing drinks, they are knowledgeable about glassware (goblets, pilsners, and highballs, to name a few) and the tools of their trade, like shakers, strainers, jiggers, and bar spoons. Like mixology, many of these terms of art date back decades and would be as familiar to a mixologist in 1919 in the months leading up to Prohibition as they are to mixologists today.

Pouring Profits: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The value to watering holes then and now is the same: done right, mixology cultivates a unique customer experience that entices repeat business. It does so by promoting an upscale ambiance – an atmosphere that complements other bar/restaurant accoutrements, namely the lighting, music, and décor. That’s mixology’s special appeal. Because, without it, at least from a per hour revenue perspective, mixology wouldn’t make sense. (Except that it does.) A 2012 Forbes article by contributing writer Jerry Prendergast bears this out.

Assume, as he did, that it takes a bartender 30 seconds to pour a glass of wine. Let’s also assume it takes about 45 seconds to pour a pint of beer and one minute to make a martini. Not including ordering time, it can take a mixologist about 3 to 4 minutes to craft the desired drink. Per hour, with the author’s original prices, that translates to:

  • Glass of wine – $8 –60 per hour = $480.00
  • Draft Beer - $6 –40 per hour = $240.00
  • Classic Martini - $9 –30 per hour = $270.00
  • Specialty Cocktails - $12 –10 per hour = $120.00

Remember, the above prices are approximations. And it’s likely that in Miami and Miami Beach those figures are higher – especially the cocktails, which according to at least one citywide estimate, is about $16, not including gratuity. 

But what if that bar patron believed that what they just polished off was the best cocktail they’ve ever had and totally worth the price? It’s this logic that has many high-end establishments across the 305 cashing in on this burgeoning trend. Upscale experiences combined with upscale drinks means customers will come back for more. And they’ll bring their friends.


Some of Miami’s most noteworthy mixology hangouts include: Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company, Broken Shaker, The Anderson, Bar Bevy, Jaguar Sun, Bar Alter, The Corner, The Regent Cocktail Club, and Saxony Bar. 

Sunday is Funday: No ‘Ordinary’ Drinking Experience

One of the hottest venues to enjoy Miami’s mixology moment is at Blackbird Ordinary, in Brickell. Located just steps from the Brickell City Centre and a short walk from the Eighth Street Metromover station, Blackbird soars thanks to its popular themed events, great vibe, and spectacular outdoor space. When it comes to trendy locations, this is the place to unwind with friends any day of the week in a lively atmosphere.

Join us Sunday, March 10 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. for the first late sunset of the year (7:27 p.m. with twilight until 7:50 p.m.) as we kick off spring 2019 Miami style. Which is to say, a little earlier than most. J


Come support Brickell’s continued explosive growth at one of its most signature bars and toast a few mixology-inspired cocktails with friends to celebrate our amazing city! We look forward to seeing you there, drink in hand.