5 Labor Day Cocktails to Savor The Last Days of Summer

By Shayne Benowitz

Labor Day Weekend — time to bid summer farewell. Time for one last hurrah before the fun is all over, before the chilly temperatures of fall set in and we all start to take life a little more seriously — oh wait, we’re in Miami. Labor Day Weekend might be the unofficial end to summer and a three-day weekend to party and relax, but it’s also just another pool day under the South Florida sun. We’ve got the steamy month of September to look forward to, drawing out the dog days of summer, and season doesn’t kick in for a couple months after that. Still though, we’re not complaining, and we’ll definitely throw back a few cold libations to celebrate the occasion. Read on for a roundup of great Labor Day cocktails from some of Miami’s top mixologists. Here’s to endless summer. Drink up!

1. FDR at the Delano: Mixologist Justin D’Angelo’s FDR
This summer, the subterranean boite that was once the Florida Room transformed into FDR. Cool as ever, and with a cocktail menu to match its shadowy-yet-glittery lounge vibe, mixologist Justin D’Angelo recommends their signature cocktail the FDR for Labor Day. Since the mojito epitomizes the Miami summer cocktail, the FDR (pictured above) is a remix of the original classic. Created using Bacardi Oak Heart, St. Germaine, and lime juice muddled with fresh mint and brown sugar, it’s an instant end of summer go-to.

2. Haven: Mixologist Isaac Grillo’s Backyard BBQ
Trendy Technicolor gastropub Haven is known for its inventive cuisine, cocktails, and molecular tendencies. Resident mixologist Isaac Grillo (pictured right) has just the drink to conjure up a Labor Day barbecue, just strain over ice and garnish with candied bacon. His Backyard BBQ cocktail is composed with half a grilled peach, smoked sage, vodka, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, Aperol, and a few dashes of sriracha. This perfect blend of savory, smoky, and sweet is like a finger-licking barbecue meal unto itself.

3. Mercadito Midtown: Mixologist Paul Sauter’s Misty’s Sleeve
If it’s tequila you crave over Labor Day weekend, you can’t go wrong venturing to Mercadito Midtown with its extensive menu of tequila and mezcal cocktails made with fresh fruits, herbs, and spices. Mixologist Paul Sauter recommends the Misty’s Sleeve. “It’s fresh, light, and spicy — perfect for Miami on Labor Day,” he says. Made with muddled orange chunks, hibiscus infused tequila blanco, fresh lime juice, and Grand Marnier, a few drops of yucateca — liquified habanero peppers — are added for a kick. The drink is garnished with hibiscus salt and a lime wedge for the perfect Labor Day margarita.

4. Rose Bar at the Delano: Mixologist Bernie Waters’ Summer’s Last Call
There’s nothing perhaps more iconically Miami than lounging languidly in the lobby of the Delano, enjoying expertly mixed cocktails from the Rose Bar. Mixologist Bernie Waters has always got seasonality on the brain, and at the end of summer he wants to preserve the fruits of the season by creating shrub — a form of preserves utilizing vinegar. For his Labor Day cocktail, Summer’s Last Call, he’s created a julep with watermelon shrub. The shrubbing process takes seven to ten days, but the result is well worth the toil. With the watermelon shrub, bourbon, mint leaves, and simple syrup are shaken and strained into a glass of crushed ice for the perfect late summer spin on the classic julep. Just garnish with a slice of watermelon and a mint sprig, and enjoy.

5. Meat Market: Mixologist Gloria Pope’s Spiced Apple
At Lincoln Road’s Meat Market, mixologist Gloria Pope is ushering in fall with her Spiced Apple cocktail made with sugar and spice and everything nice! The drink features homemade spiced vodka with a cinnamon stick, star anise, whole cloves and allspice. Mixed with ginger liqueur, apple cider, lemon juice, and simple syrup, it’s garnished with star anise. It’s the perfect cocktail to sip while people-watching at the plush outdoor lounge and cafe, contemplating what the end of summer and the start of fall means to you.