Drink Your Way Back To The '80's With Miami Vice

Not that you should ever need a reason to put on a cocktail party but in case you do, we give you a weekly reason to get a few friends over.

By: Tiff Christie|September 12,2018

If you want a bit of an ’80’s theme to your weekend, then there is no better cocktail party to throw than one that celebrates the anniversary of the first airing of Miami Vice.

The hit American television crime drama series ran for five seasons on NBC from 1984 to 1989.

The series starred Don Johnson as James “Sonny” Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas as Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs, two Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover in Miami.

But as anyone who saw the show at the time would tell you, this was no ordinary police procedural. Sure, the cops got the bad guys but they did it in some of the most distinctive ’80s clothes imaginable, while speaking in a truly ’80s vernacular, when the popular ’80s music wasn’t playing.

The show was revolutionary for its time, because it drew so heavily on 1980’s New Wave culture and music. Really, it was undercover for the MTV generation and included all the visuals, emotions and energy that came with that.

While other television shows used made-for-TV music, Miami Vice would spend $10,000 or more per episode to buy the rights to original recordings.

All filming, both exterior and interior, was actually done in Miami and around Florida. Many scenes were filmed in the South Beach, where the series was to some degree credited with causing a wave of support for the preservation of Miami’s famous Art Deco architecture in the mid-1980s to early 1990s.

Interestingly, Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges were considered for the role of Sonny Crockett, but since it was not lucrative for film stars to venture into television at the time, other candidates were considered. Mickey Rourke was also considered for the role, but he turned down the offer.

Unfortunately, it seems that the show is about to get a reboot. Vin Diesel and Chris Morgan are working on a new Miami Vice that could be part of the NBC 2018–19 TV season.


For obvious reasons, this is going to be a party that’s all about the clothes. So if you’ve been waiting for the opportunity to geek out in your finest pleated pants, the this is the cocktail party for you.

Yet looking at the series now, it’s easy to think that the true crime in Miami Vice was actually one against fashion. Yet at the time, the clothes worn on Miami Vice had a significant influence on men’s fashion.

Don Johnson’s typical attire of Italian sport coat, T-shirt, white linen pants, and slip-on sockless loafers became a hit. Similarly, Crockett’s perpetually unshaven appearance sparked a minor fashion trend, inspiring men to wear designer stubble at all times.

While we might look at some of the fashion used in the now and be horrified, costume department actually went out of it’s way to ensure that the clothes they used were on trend. In terms of dressing for this party, it’s signature look is quite easy to imitate.

And don’t think the girls have an easy out, ’cause it’s satin and big shoulder pads all the way.

As long as your outfits, or some part of them, are in pale shades of pink, blue, green, peach or fuchsia, you really can’t go wrong. And in case you’re curious, the abundance of pastel colours on the show where meant to reflected Miami’s Art-deco architecture.


There is really no food that better sums up both the colours and the feel of the ’80’s than a Sushi Roll. Although still popular today, they hit peak popularity in the decade.

Crockett may have thought, as he often said, that the crooks  were ‘not selling girl scout cookies’ but what about Pac Man Oreo Cookies. These cookies revery easy to make (with no baking) but perfectly symbolise the ’80’s look.


Conveniently there is a actually a Miami Vice Cocktail. Its a bit of a hybrid drink that combines a bit of the Piña Colada and a bit of Daiquiri for drink that’s delightfully kitschy (in a slushy kind of way).

For something a little different (and not in slushy form) you could also have a look at the Miami Spice Cocktail, which is a lovely mix of juice and Spiced Rum.


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