MIAMI BEACH/NEW YORK ARTIST, SHEL KRAMER’s birthday was May 31ST and her art and career speak for themselves. She and I were frequent if not daily, customers of the Strand Restaurant on Miami Beach. It was an early oasis of style, fashion in a otherwise blighted part of what was then called Miami Beach The Strand put Miami Beach back on the map. This area later got the moniker South Beach or simply SoBe and you all know the history after that. Unfortunately Shel died of cancer, way too soon and he is survived by her daughters Susan and Alison.
Natalie Thomas was the heart and soul of the Strand Restaurant. When you walked in she greeted you and made sure you were made to feel like a part of the family. One February night in 1989 Natalie Thomas was featured in an article in Cosmopolitan magazine. It was a memorable night one of those warm and sultry Miami Beach evenings. The who’s who of Miami Beach was there. At one point in the evening Natalie said that she wanted to commemorate this evening by creating a drink called The Cosmopolitan. As she was picking the ingredients for this new drink Shel Kramer insisted that Plain Absolut be used in Natalie Thomas’ Original Cosmopolitan Cocktail Invention on February 20, 1989, and so it was. I remember Natalie giving the bartender what he should be putting into this cocktail and at the very end she said to him “make it red, I’m wearing a red dress” and they added cranberry juice. Many people were there including iconic South Beach resident Louis Canales.
Others have tried to say that they invented this drink but they are merely usurpers to the throne. So in memory of Shel, I thought i set the record straight. Natalie Thomas is the true creator of the Cosmopolitan made famous on South Beach and then the big and small screen.