Bella Vida by Letty

drinks

Miami Culinary and Cocktail Tours

Culinary travel is the pursuit of unique and memorable experiences of all kinds.  It is making the food and drink an essential part of your travel.  When people make their travel plans they usually focus on the destinations without realizing how food and drink can immerse you in the local culture.  It doesn’t mean visiting only five star restaurants but it does mean local and interesting.   It connects you to the people which are the heart of the place you are visiting.  Learning about the food and how it’s prepared not only teaches, it connects you with the destinations history.

Miami Culinary Tours

Last weekend I took a South Beach happy hour cocktail tour which walked us through Miami Beach’s historic art deco district.  The tour involves visiting five hot spots and trying out a different specialty drink at each stop.  South Beach is known for being glam, gaudy and expensive.  For some it might even be intimidating which is why tours are such a great choice since you are personally guided to the hottest spots in South Beach by local experts.

Our Miami Culinary tour guide Richie was charismatic, entertaining and informative.  I’ve been on tours where the guide nearly put me to sleep but this was not the case with the Miami culinary tour.  Richie started the tour at a Colombian spot on Washington Avenue called Bolivar.  Since this was a cocktail tour he wanted to make sure to we had something to eat since drinking on an empty stomach will ensure it will go straight to your head.  We were served tasty Colombian style corn empanadas stuffed with potatoes and meat as well as patacon topped with deliciously seasoned chicken.  The food was authentic and very good.  Richie gave the group Spanish lessons while we ate and sipped on refajos.

Colombian Refajo

Refajo is a typical Colombian drink made with beer and cola.  I’m from Puerto Rico so I could taste the sweetness of the cola champaign immediately.  I’m not a beer drinker but this was a nice twist.  Before we left Richie wanted us to try Colombia’s national drink.  Aguardiente is a very strong alcoholic beverage made from anise and sugar cane.  The translation is fire water and is pretty accurate.  The drink has a licorice flavor and packs a punch so watch out.

Continuing on through South Beach’s colorful neon scenic backdrop we learned more about the city through Richie’s colorful anecdotes and tidbits of facts and history.  He shared many interesting facts about local icons, characters and actors.  By the end of the night the group really had a feel for Miami Beach culture and what life here is like.

Tudor South Beach

The tour went on and we got to try great mojitos at the newly renovated Larios, one of Gloria and Emilio Estefan restaurants.  My favorite part of the tour was drinking a sunset on the beautiful romantic rooftop of the Tudor as the sun was setting.  I do like vodka drinks and the combination of vodka and pineapple was divine.  Our bartender, Jason, surprised the group with a shot of coconut flavored vodka with pineapple juice.  It was delicious and had the group feeling fine.  The tour ended at the iconic Tides hotel with a fruity mango tequila drink which was very good especially if you like tequila.  As a Floridian I really enjoy learning new things and having new experiences.  It was fun meeting new people and adding new flavors to my travels.

5 Reasons to Take a Culinary Tour

  •  Get to know the local hot spots.
  • Learn about local celebrities and history.
  • Try new cuisine and cocktails.
  • Learn how to make them yourself.
  • Have fun meeting new people or take your friends on a private tour.

mct Collage

I was invited to join this tour in exchange for my honest review and am very happy to report the tour delivered on their promise of good food and drinks and an all around good time.  I recommend joining a tour to really get to know the history and even local gossip of the place you’re visiting.  It’s a great way to get intimate with the Miami Beach community and get a true taste and feel of the local culture as told by local experts.  You can check Miami Culinary Tours website as they have a variety of styles of tours to meet different foodie types.  I plan on trying the other tours in the near future.

 Have you taken a culinary tour?  What did you think?

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Apple Cinnamon Infused Water

Infused Water Apple

Instead of drinking juice or sugary drinks it’s super simple to make your own infused water.  It is certainly a healthier alternative.  Water is the best thing in the world you could drink.  By adding fresh fruit and herbs you will benefit not only in the great taste but also the wonderful nutrients your body will receive.

Health Benefits of Infused Water

Zero Calories

Lose Weight

Stay Hydrated

Cleanse Your System

Flushes Out Toxins

Maintains Regularity

Boosts Immune System

Keeps You Cool

Energize Your Body

Transports Nutrients & Oxygen

health benefits of drinking infused water

I like using my cute watermelon drink dispenser that I’ve had stored away forever.  That way when friends and family drop by they can just help themselves.  You can also use a glass for smaller portions or a bottle if you want to take it with you.

I fill the drink dispenser half way with filtered water, add the fresh fruit and herbs then fill the remainder with ice.  After three hours you will have some delicious infused water.

Ingredients:

One washed apple.  Do not peel.  Slice.  Do not eat apple seeds.

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

1/2 tablespoon of ground ginger

Apples are high in antioxidants which are disease fighting compounds.  They are an excellent source of dietary fibers which help to prevent heart disease.

Cinnamon is a powerful antibacterial and great for your tummy.  It’s also one of the top seven antioxidants in the world.  Antioxidants reduce the formation of free radicals which cause cancer.

Star anise is traditionally used as a spice and healing herb.  It helps ramp up immune function to better resist viral infections and also contains antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin A.

Ginger has a long history of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.  It contains very potent anti inflammatory compounds, detoxifies the body and boosts the immune system.

 

Have you tried infused water yet?  Have you tried this recipe?

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“It’s my motto for life. ‘Walk slowly; drink lots of water.” Haruki Murakam

“Love is the water of life, drink deeply.”  Michael Scott

“I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man.” Henry David Thoreau

 

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