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Miami bartenders share their ordering tips and hacks

Written by
Austin Langlois

We love our bartenders. In a single night, their roles can bounce from therapist to chemist to security to mediator—and that's all before happy hour even ends. Surely these wise creatures have knowledge well beyond their respective cocktail menus, so we tracked down some of our local bar heroes to get some advice.

From secret menu items to advice on where and how to drink cheap, we talked to bartenders across Miami to find out their tips for maximizing our drinking experience (while not being an inconsiderate jerk). Bottoms up!

Price doesn’t equal quality.
“Customers often order expensive spirits with very high expectations and often get disappointed. Base your selections on your own personal preference with the help of your bartender.”—Karol, bar manager, Zuma.

Where to get the quickest drink at the Anderson.
“It's Friday/Saturday night when you pull open the curtains and find yourself greeted by a bartender shaking, stirring and pouring. Seems like the best seat in the house, but it's not. The high volume area will make it difficult for you to receive the full attention you deserve. What I recommend is after you enter, make a quick right up to the top bar corner—quickest place to get a drink.”—Joshua, cocktail engineer, the Anderson.

Expect different interpretations—even with the classics.
“Sazarac, Negroni, Old Fashioned—every bartender on staff has their twist on these classics. Different base spirits, bitters—you name it."—Arleen, bartender, Dragonfly Izakaya and Fish Market

When to start a tab.
"Always start a tab if you're going to be drinking more than two drinks, it makes processing easier on the bartender and in turn also easier on the guest rather than having to make multiple transactions."—Daniel, bar manager, Bagatelle.

 Snagging a cheap at Purdy Lounge.
“Not everyone knows this, but Purdy Lounge always has $7 cocktail specials that are made daily, and they’re cheaper than the cocktails on the menu.”—Thomas, head mixologist, Purdy Lounge

Making your drink even cheaper.
“You can always ask the bartender to make your cocktail with the house liquors, which tend to be a bit cheaper.”—Lorena, bar manager, Novecento

Pubbelly Sushi's secret drink.
"If you like old fashions and want to try one of our craft cocktails, ask for the Hiro's Welcome. It's not on the menu, but it's an iconic drink designed by our bar manager. Smoked nutmeg and cloves, lemongrass syrup and Japanese whiskey served over artisanal ice spheres in a rocks glass."—The bar team, Pubbelly Sushi

Don't judge a drink by its name.
"We have a drink called Blackthorn. Most people imagine a dark and cryptic concoction, but it's actually far from it. It's made with whiskey, blackberries, fresh citrus and rosemary, and takes on a pink hue.”—Kevin, bartender, the Wynwood Yard

Brand name isn’t everything.
One thing people forget when ordering cocktails is that—like with everything—they're being advertised to. At Charcoal we source most everything off the industrial grid. So sometimes, someone will come up to the bar and ask for a brand name, not knowing that the label we carry is of better quality, care and flavor."—Richard, bartender, Charcoal Garden Bar + Grill

Where the best drink deals are at CMX Cinemas.
"You can always order food and drinks directly during a movie at CMX, but our lobby bars offer a bar-only happy hour Monday through Friday, from 3–7pm, featuring $5 mixed drinks, $4 beers and $5 sangria. Bar-goers can catch special events and games without even buying a movie ticket."—Deborah Abbud, food and beverages manager, CMX Cinemas

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