10 Art Inspired Cocktails For Miami Art Week

By Shayne Benowitz

When the champagne runs dry after your day at the fair has ended, it’s time for a more spirited cocktail to start the night. Daydream about the art you saw and discuss the evening’s plans amongst friends while sipping creative and delicious art-inspired cocktails. Here’s our Miami Art Week guide to the most artistic cocktails in town.

When you find yourself in need of a break from the Wynwood gallery circuit, take respite at the bar at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, adjacent to the Wynwood Walls art park. Glancing over the cocktail list, you may notice some familiar names, like Shepard Fairey, Kenny Scharf and Futura. The cocktails are inspired by and named for the street artists who created the Wynwood Walls. Pick your poison based on the ingredients or, perhaps, based on your favorite mural outside. The Barry McGee is made with Bluecoat gin, hibiscus syrup, lemon juice, and a splash of sparkling water with a basil leaf garnish. Or try Nunca, made with Absolut Ruby Red vodka, Campari, fresh grapefruit and yuzu.

A day of gazing at avant garde art calls for an avant garde cocktail, and that’s precisely what you’ll find at José André’s Bazaar and Bar Centro at the SLS South Beach. In collaboration with beverage director Lucas Paya, these playful cocktails riff on original classics like the dirty martini, the daiquiri, and the margarita with molecular components like foams, airs, and liquid nitrogen. Hemingway’s Mistress is a work of experiential art. Served up in a martini glass, the cocktail is accompanied by a tube of maraschino cherry and cocoa-flavored lipstick, meant to be worn while sipping the drink to complete its flavor profile.

This week, the W South Beach rolled out a whole new cocktail program from renowned San Francisco-based mixologist Scott Beattie. His menu is just as much about artisanal spirits, fresh ingredients, and superior flavors as it is about artistic presentation. The cocktails feature a unique combination of essential oils, herbs, and edible flowers sourced locally from South Miami’s Verde Gardens, and also from Beattie’s native California, bringing something completely new to Miami’s cocktail frontier. The colorful libations are meant to be served on candlelit trays creating a backlit stained glass window effect, reminiscent of Tiffany or Chagall. The Cucumber Collins, for instance, made with Square One cucumber vodka, yuzu, and lemon juice, is served in a highball glass lined with cucumbers that have been pickled in mirin, sake, and rice wine vinegar, and stained with beets and blueberries. The Paloma Hermosa is a delicate blend of Tapatio Blanco tequila, St. Germain Edelflower, lime, and agave, served with a frothy egg white foam whereupon lime wheels and tiny pink edible flowers float like Monet’s water lilies.

If you’re savvy enough to gain access to the Art Basel Miami Beach Art Collector’s Lounge inside the Miami Beach Convention Center, you’ll be treated to specially crafted cocktails by another Swedish import, Absolut vodka. The Absolut Artista is made with coconut water (good art collectors stay hydrated!), lime, and ginger. The Collector’s Fix includes pineapple, mint, citrus, and cherry. La Vida is made with strawberries and lemon, plus the addition of absinthe for, perhaps, an extra spark of inspiration.

If it’s still bubbles you crave, then bubbles you shall have. Take a stroll to Lincoln Road and get cozy at Meat Market’s outdoor sidewalk lounge. People watch and pass the time while sipping special edition Art Basel cocktails, made with the fair’s official champagne Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. The Basel 75 is a twist on the traditional French 75, created with Bombay Dry gin, lemon juice, and cinnamon-infused raisin syrup. The Garden of France features a housemade candied carrot puree and bay leaf syrup mixed with lemon juice and orange bitters. Both, of course, are topped with Ruinart.