So much of South Beach is about style over substance, but thanks to The Sydell Group and seasoned bartenders Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta from Bar Lab, a small pocket of the island has become a care-free cocktail getaway. Broken Shaker resides behind the Freehand Miami Hostel, a surprisingly inviting Art Deco property with brick-lined paths, lounge chair-framed pool, and plant-lined yard with ping pong table, oversized Jenga board, and the occasional live reggae performance. Zvi and Orta have populated Broken Shaker’s bar with shelves of house-made bitters, tinctures and syrups that draw on seasonal, global flavors.
My drink of choice didn’t rely on alchemy. Instead, it was a play on the South Side cocktail, named for Chicago’s South Side. However, in this case, Kumquat South Side ($11) incorporated tart Florida kumquats, “a touch” of sweet citrus, shaken with a base of Bombay dry gin. Garnishes consisted of aromatic kumquat and chocolate mint, served tall, on a sizable bed of ice. Sitting poolside in Miami’s warm winter air, this was a seriously refreshing drink.