New and Noteworthy in Miami for the Week of 7/09

Get the scoop on Miami’s best new cocktail lounges, restaurants, and shopping destinations…

Indulge: Elixir of love
All summer, South Beach’s Ocean Drive is absolutely sizzling. It’s no wonder Table 8 restaurant concocted what is arguably the coolest drink in town to complement the succulent plates of chef Govind Armstrong’s California-centric cuisine. The Basil 8 cocktail is made with muddled white grapes and basil leaves mixed with vodka, simple syrup, lime juice, ginger and angostura bitters. Sweet and fresh, the cocktail tastes like it might actually be good for you — too bad we know better.

Stay: Not for members only
It was once Gianni Versace’s private residence, but now Casa Casuarina is the most exclusive private club in Miami. Naturally, it’s still a magnet for celebrities and by-invitation-only elite, but guests of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at least are invited to the party. The hotel’s new $150 Ultimate Beach Experience gives Mandarin Oriental guests access to Casa’s pool, restaurants, and its private beach on South Beach, where butlers serve everything from custom-programmed iPods to chilled towels.

Play: Miami psychedelic
Yawn, bored already with Miami’s nightlife? Check out SET, the latest luxury nightclub from the visionaries behind Opium Garden, Prive and Mansion. SET does 1960s nostalgia right, with crystal chandeliers, pucci-covered sofas, and lingerie-clad dancers doing the shimmy in giant glass elevators. There’s no dance floor, so you’re encouraged to groove to the music anywhere you want — on the sofas, on the ebony tables, or on the imitation tortoise-shell bar. Wanna party like a movie star? Book the VIP “trophy room,” which holds 25 guests.

Drink: Fun with nitrogen
Steamy Miami Beach has been mired in liquid-nitrogen fog since the Below Zero Nitro Bar opened at Barton G. The bar’s cocktails are infused with LN2, which is colder than dry ice and freezes alcohol. As the smoking drinks melt, they get stronger. The drinks list includes all your favorite libations, but don’t forget your wallet — vaporous cocktails start at $21.

Shop: The queen of sole
Forget flying to Italy to have your shoes custom-made. Designer Morgan Miller can do it for you in her new Miami boutique. Customers design their own couture footwear, from bases to straps (think basic black, hot pink or leather) to bling-a-ding-ding accessories like jewels, chains, crystals and buckles. Colors run from black to fuchsia to cerulean blue. You can sip champagne while the cobbler puts it all together! Prices start at $150.

Made-to-Order What’s your pleasure?
Mixologist Albert Trummer and chef David Bouley have teamed up again, this time at David Bouley Evolution, at the Ritz-Carlton in Miami’s South Beach. Trummer built his rep for high-powered tipples at Town and Kittichai restaurants in New York. In Miami he focuses on market-fresh fruit and Cuban-inspired libations, like the $13 Key Lime Coconut Grove (coconut juice, Leblon Cacacha, cane syrup and key-lime juice). If that doesn’t impress your date, try the $45 Marie Antoinette (1985 Cristal Rose, Grand Marnier Centenario, Delamain Cognac, and secret elixirs).