The Broken Shaker
[March 26th, 2017] I’ve been fortunate in my life to have traveled a fair amount and while abroad, I’ve also been lucky to have visited some of the world’s best cocktail bars. I visit my parents in Naples, FL every winter as well, but rarely make the two hour drive across Alligator Alley to the Atlantic Coast. This March, however, was an exception.
Any given year’s best bars globally are nominated and awarded every summer at the venerable Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans. Though the list changes annually, some bars make the grade year after year. The Broken Shaker in Miami is one of those bars. A closet-sized establishment just off the patio of the Freehand Hostel, the scene is so ultra hipster, I felt out of place not sporting a Mennonite-sized beard or not having the top button of my shirt done up (I just couldn’t bring myself to do it). Anyway, though not overly hip, I know a few things about a good drink, and the Broken Shaker provided me an “aha” moment after the first sip.
The Gorilla Monsoon was a gin-based long cocktail served over crushed ice that dripped East India. Garam masala, Cardamero, lime zest, chutney, tiki bitters and candied mango added up to that moment when you realize 99.9% of everything else you drink is ordinary. The bartender was extremely friendly even when crazy busy, and the bar counter warmly overflowed with jars of edible flowers, herbs. candied everything, pink peppercorns, dried Persian black limes and alka-seltzer tablets; the place a chaotic but homey tribute to the cocktail eclectic. In the end it reminded me of one of those old trinket shops of thirty years past. But instead of a metal spring or an old radio battery, you’re served up one of the best goddamn beverages you’ve ever had anywhere near your mouth.