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International Whiskey Day: The best whiskey bars in Miami

We’ve got great news for you, today is International Whisk(e)y Day, one of the many days whiskey is celebrated across the world and a great reason to kick a few bucks to your favorite Miami charity while you’re toasting, so we’re going to share a bit of intel in hopes that you celebrate. Also, we’re giving you an awesome excuse to hide from the neon, fist-pumping zombie apocalypse that is currently invading the city. So find shelter behind the bars of these local drinkeries, where some of the best collections of the different categories of the distilled spirit are found. After all, in the words of Mark Twain, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”

Taurus Beer & Whiskey House, Coconut Grove

The Balvenie TUN 1509, Batch 1This local gem has garnered recognition from many experts in the industry in recent years because of their extensive collection of whiskeys that you wouldn’t think to find in this cozy little tavern. They’ve managed to curate more than 100 selections, including brands hailing from Ireland, Canada, and Japan as well as good ole American bourbons, ryes — you name it, they’ve probably got it. What you should look for here is the hard to find limited release expressions, like the Balvenie Tun 1401, and its recent successor The Balvenie Tun 1509, batch 1 single malt.

Swine Southern Table & Bar, Coral Gables

Pappy Van WinkleThe 50 eggs family has proven that pig and bourbon do, indeed, mesh well together and like you’ll read from the chalk drawing on the wall, “What bacon and whiskey don’t cure, there ain’t no cure for.” Follow the staircase to the second floor saloon-like loft bar, where you’ll find barrel-aged cocktails and bacon-infused bourbons. As tempting as it might be to opt for the latter, hold that thought and set your sights on the line of Pappy Van Winkle’s family reserve flagship. There’s a reason why this bourbon has a cult following, as it is not only regarded as one of the finest bourbons in the world, its low production and high demand make it a rare find.

The Abbey, South Beach

high westYup, you didn’t see this one coming, but craft beer pioneer and brew master Raymond Rigazio is a bit of a whiskey enthusiast himself. For almost a decade, this rustic, chapel-like, dark and dingy joint has been offering a safe haven from the “Cosmopolitan drinking, model wannabes” that crowd the trendy bars of the island. In addition to providing the city’s first original brews, it’s also been slinging some exceptional ryes before bourbon became the hipster’s spirit of choice. Currently, you can find the entire line of Utah’s craft favorite High West, which earlier in the week won a Drammie Award for most innovative distillery. We’ll drink to that!

Bourbon Steak, Aventura

Bourbon SteakMichael Mina’s restaurants are built to leave a bold impression. As is the standard of the renowned international restaurateur, you’ll find sleek and contemporary high-end cuisine, with the utmost quality ingredients. Everything here is larger than life, including the wine and bourbon walls. If you’re a whiskey aficionado, the neatly stacked glass shelves will sparkle and you’ll feel like Belle when she discovers the Beast’s library.

Bodega, South Beach

widow jane ryeUnexpected gems are everywhere. You’d think that a speakeasy accessible only through a faux meat cooler door at Mexican-inspired street taqueria would be more inclined to stock their shelves with mezcal and tequila … Well, they’ve got that too, as well as very impressive selection of whiskeys and bourbons. Some of the gems found in this new favorite cocktail bar include Brooklyn’s very own Widow Jane (named GQ’s favorite) and Colorado’s “Rocky Mountain” whiskey, Stranahans. Pick your poison, there’s something for everyone.

Radio, South Beach

Tullamore Dew PhoenixOkay, so maybe you want to throw yourself into the eye of the storm and join the masses at WMC this weekend. No worries, chances are you’ll find yourself at this after-hours South of Fifth favorite at some point or another. Since you’ll be going balls to the wall, or h.a.m., or hard in the paint —or whatever — what better way to do so than drinking a little (or a lot) of Irish? They’ve got plenty of brands to chose from including shot favorite Jameson, but we recommend the Tullamore D.E.W. flagship. When they do get it in, order the Phoenix expression. The warm and spicy, medium-bodied and finished in oloroso sherry casks flavor goes down easy, so pace yourself, or you’ll be that bro requesting Dropkick Murphys songs from the DJ.

By Paula Echevarria
Born in Madrid, raised in Miami, bred in New Orleans: Paula is a gregarious locavore, cocktail groupie and Emmy award winning culinary producer currently working as a freelance writer and multimedia producer for local and national food and beverage publications and TV shows, including Tasting Table, The Miami New Times, Edible South Florida, MIA Bites and WPBT South Florida PBS's Check, Please! with Michelle Bernstein.