These aren’t your traditional remedies
The bar opened officially on June 6th at the Albion Hotel.
Albert Trummer, the mastermind behind New York City’s similar bar concept Apotheke, hosted the opening event for Drogerie Medicinal Cocktail Bar last Thursday. Miami.com reports that though there was some initial tension with acquiring permits, Trummer was able to open in the Albion Hotel in Wynwood without a hitch.
Patrons can expect an extensive cocktail list, or as it is called at Drogerie, a “Prescription List.” with drinks separated into categories such as “Stress Relievers” and “Health & Beauty.” Bartenders in white lab coats can make you a Deal Closer, which includes vokda, mint, lime, vanilla, and some Chinese aphrodisiacs to help confirm its namesake.
The drinks are second only to the décor, with street art displayed next to works by acclaimed pop artist Peter Tunney. Trummer told Miami.com that the couches were a gift from chef Daniel Boulud, who said, “President Bill Clinton, Bruce Springsteen, and other greats once sat on these sofas.”
Drogerie is open to the public this week, and will be administering cures to the weak and weary until 2 a.m.
South Florida&rsquos Oldest Deli Reopens with a Cuban Cocktail Bar
Opening in mid-June, the new Stephen's Delicatessen will feature hand-sliced pastrami, roving hot dog carts, and Bubbie&rsquos matzo ball soup.
Growing up in Union Springs, Alabama, Henderson "Junior" Biggers had never heard the word li,” let alone eaten inside one. He hadn’t met a Jewish person, either. That all changed when he moved to South Florida in his early &apos20s.
In the 60 years since, Biggers has spent a majority of his life engulfed in clouds of smoked pastrami and corned beef. He worked his way from dishwasher to head chef, building a career inside South Florida’s oldest-operating deli, Stephen’s Delicatessen, by serving Reuben sandwiches, potato pancakes, and matzo ball soup.
lis are dying, especially in South Florida,” says restaurateur Matt Kuscher, who bought Stephen’s in 2017 with plans for a complete remodel.
Today, Biggers, whose grandson is Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem, is in his early 80s and as he’s gotten older, deli culture around the country, and especially in South Florida, has waned. It’s not like it used to be, when Stephen’s first opened in 1954 in Hialeah, a town in Southwest Miami that was previously home to a garment district and a large Jewish population.
“Junior is the heart and soul of this operation,” Kuscher says. “He’s the one who’s kept this alive. If it wasn’t for him hand-slicing meat for more than 60 years, all of this would probably be long gone. He’s responsible for keeping up one of the most historic places in Miami.”
Since Kuscher’s purchase of the deli nearly two years ago, he and Biggers are finally ready to unveil a modernized Stephen’s, complete with hand-sliced meats, roving hot dog carts, and Hialeah’s first craft cocktail bar, La Cocina. Yet Kuscher, who grew up in his grandfather&aposs deli, is also trying to preserve that old-school deli feel.
Expected to open in mid-June, Stephen’s carving corner will be the main draw of the restaurant, putting Biggers front and center as he prepares enough meat for the deli and adjacent cocktail bar.
"I make about 120 sandwiches a day," Biggers estimated in 2017. "I never would have thought this is what I would be doing at my age.”
The menu isn’t anything like Kuscher&aposs grandfather’s deli used to be, featuring an eclectic range of bagel and lox platters, Bubbie’s matzo ball soup, and hot corned beef sandwiches, to frita burgers, chicken and waffles, and key lime pie. The hot dog cart will roll around the restaurant, stocked with toppings like sauerkraut, relish, and mustard.
As for La Cocina, a discrete door near the restroom at Stephen’s will offer entrance into the speakeasy-style bar.
For the cocktail menu, Kuscher tapped 10 local mixologists, including Beaker & Gray’s Ben Potts and SBE’s Gui Jaroschy, to each create a unique drink. A sneak peek revealed the rum-based Ya Tu Sabe, and the scotch-based Pata Sucia with coconut water and lime. There will be a limited food menu, bringing together items from Stephen’s (matzo ball soup, lox, and “Jewban” Cuban sandwiches) with one-offs like buffalo chicken scraps and black bean dip with yucca chips.
“The fact that we’re opening Hialeah’s first cocktail bar is equally as exciting as bringing back the oldest Jewish deli in Florida,” Kuscher says. “I’m either the smartest or dumbest guy in the room.”
As Kuscher readies to open Stephen’s, he’s busy running a satellite outpost inside Time Out Market, which opened its first U.S. location in Miami this past May. So far, it’s been a knockout success, he says, where he fills hundreds of orders for Reuben sandwiches and matzo ball soup each week.
“Stephen’s has been in our backyard for years,” Kuscher says. “If someone doesn’t bring it to the forefront in a major way, we will lose it. I’m not going to let that happen.”
“I have so many memories around delis,” he continues. “I don’t want a world where they don’t exist in the same way, so if that means adding a bar and making it modern, that’s what we’ll do.”
The Best Canned Cocktails to Drink Right Now
These pre-mixed cocktails are the easiest way to take your happy hour al fresco.
Once upon a time, if you wanted a cocktail for your on-the-go adventures, you had to break out your own bar cart and thermos for a DIY mixology session. But now, between the rise of to-go cocktails and the increasing popularity of pre-mixed cocktail options, enjoying a truly top-notch tipple far from the constraints of your home or your favorite bars and restaurants is easier than ever. In fact, with the season for outdoor drinking (picnics, garden parties, poolside lounging, beach days) upon us, there's never been a better time to dip your toe into the world of canned cocktails.
From classics like Old Fashioneds and Negronis to esoteric options from top bars and day-drinking ready sparklers, here are the boozy canned beverages you need to sip this summer.
If you want a real "right from the bartender" taste, Tip Top's blends strike the perfect chord. They specialize in classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or this perfectly bittersweet Negroni, all in handy, single-serve 100mL cans.
Cutwater makes a variety of interesting canned cocktail options, from Bloody Marys and White Russians to simple G&Ts. For a day at the beach (or just making a day feel like a day at the beach) we like this tropical sip made with barrel-aged rum.
When a World's Best Bar winner teams up with a canned cocktail brand for a ready-made cocktail, we sit up and take notice. The result&mdasha gin based tipple with flavors of cucumber, lemon, and grape&mdashis perfect for warm weather sipping, even if you can't make it to one of the bar's NYC locations.
Your socially distanced brunch plans just got easier thanks to this pop-and-sip mimosa made with real orange juice. If you feel like mixing things up, the brand also creates a Bellini as well as Cranberry and Mango versions of their mimosas.
Think pink with a tangy, sparkling grapefruit and tequila concoction from this women-owned brand which also produces eclectic sparkling cocktails like an Apple Gimlet or a citrusy New Fashioned.
They might be relatively new on this side of the sea, but the Finnish "long drink" aka lonkero traces its roots back to 1952 Summer Games in Helsinki when was developed as a way to serve cocktails to tourists fast. The effervescent gin-based drink is flavored with grapefruit for a refreshing, "drink it all day" experience.
Want to really bring the party? This mega-sized can serves a dozen spicy twists (think: ginger, cinnamon and chili pepper) of the classic margarita that's ready to serve, resealable, and self-stable for up to 6 months.
Espresso martinis have been having a moment in recent years, and this canned, Arabica coffee-based cocktail makes meeting up with your nearest and dearest for ones easier than ever.
Back in the 1800s, concoctions of rye whiskey and rock sugar were sold for their "medicinal" value, but nowadays we think this canned blend of straight rye, rock candy, raw honey, navel oranges and Angostura bitters is just plain delicious.
Get a taste of the tropics with this canned riff on the classic Bellini made with rosé wine and organic mango and peach juices.
Want to branch out? This collection of lightly fizzy canned cocktails (one oolong tea, toasted birch, and green gooseberry-based, the other made with sour cherry, black currant, pine cones, walnut wood) is sure to shake you out of your happy hour rut.
Like spa water, but boozy. Canteen focuses on highly-drinkable, subtly flavored, canned vodka sodas without the added sugar that makes some hard seltzers overly sweet.
Simple and gluggable, this canned sparkler is made from blanco tequila and real lime juice for a flavor that feels tailor-made for poolside sipping.
Feel like you're sitting on the French Riviera with this sparkling wine canned cocktail that captures the flavor of the classic champagne cocktail in an easy, to-go format.
Whether you use it as an effortless answer to the need for a grown-up feeling mocktail or as a mixer for your favorite spirit, this sugar-free, bubbling bitters can is just the refresher you need.
The Broken Shaker
Located inside the Freehand Hotel on Miami Beach, The Broken Shaker is famous for their handcrafted cocktails, which are composed of elixirs, syrups, and infusions and made from ingredients that are hand-picked from their in-house garden. The Broken Shaker has a great reputation as one of Miami’s best bars, and it has won awards for its creativity, design, and rich ambiance. The highlight of the space is a tropical courtyard where strings of globe lights drape over citrus trees and a garden full of mint, rosemary, and lavender.
Perk Up Your Coffee Cocktails
Coffee drinks are hot year round, and they’re not just for dessert anymore. Libations that incorporate coffee can range from warming and decadent in the winter to frosty and refreshing in the summer.
The Caffe Italiano from 312 Chicago combines hot coffee with Appleton Estate rum, Demerara syrup and black walnut bitters topped with Bicerin whipped cream.
As consumers become more sophisticated about spirits and cocktails, many expect to see unique coffee drinks that go beyond the classic Irish or Mexican Coffee. Here are a few tips for creating signature coffee cocktails.
Start with the spirit
“Whiskey is an obvious choice to pair with coffee that has caramel and spiced notes—not just in Irish Coffee,” says Kenny Cohrs, head bartender at Jax Fish House in Kansas City. Mezcal, tequila and Cognac also work well with coffees, he adds, and vodka is a great way to add alcohol to coffee without changing its flavor too much.
Rum is another good fit with coffee. Italian restaurant 312 Chicago in the Allegro Hotel offers a riff on Irish Coffee called Caffe Italiano. The drink, priced at $13, combines hot coffee with Appleton Estate rum, Demerara syrup and black walnut bitters topped with Bicerin cream (heavy cream whipped with Bicerin Chocolate liqueur).
But spirits with sharp or medicinal flavor profiles, like gin, can be “tricky if not downright difficult to pair with coffee,” Cohrs says. It can be done, though.
Kate Blackman, who heads up drink recipe development at Parisi Artisan Coffee in Kansas City, created a gin-based coffee drink called the Cafe Negroni. The cocktail incorporated coffee-infused Campari, gin and vermouth, and sold for $7.50 at Parisi’s Leawood, KS, location. Blackman starts with a certain spirit she wants to use, or an existing classic cocktail she wants to riff on.
Consider different coffee flavor profiles
Bartenders are used to tasting and evaluating spirits, but some experts say you should do the same with specific types of coffees. Blackman recommends starting with notebook in hand.
Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters in Sacramento, CA, has been experimenting with nitrogenating cold-brew coffee and then pulling it through a nitro tap.
“The process often begins when I am trying to ‘define’ a new coffee,” she says. “I take notes about the sweetness, acidity, mouthfeel, flavor attributes and finish,” Blackman explains. “Often, one of those attributes sparks an idea for a complementary or contracting ingredient.”
Tweak or upgrade the classics
There’s nothing wrong with offering traditional coffee-based or flavored drinks, but you can set your concept apart by providing an exceptional or unusual twist. Irish Coffee variations include Calypso Coffee, which adds rum and Kahlua to coffee, Coffee Royale, adding cognac and sugar, and President’s Coffee, adding cherry brandy.
A craft or regional twist can also give a classic drink a jolt. For instance, Pepe Le Moko, a cocktail den run by mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler at the Ace Hotel in Portland, OR, offers an Espresso Martini made with Stumptown coffee extract, Kahlua, overproof vodka and lemon oil. The $11 coffee drink is a big seller for the bar and ties into Portland’s strong coffee culture.
Think beyond the sweet
Laura Clark, a lead barista at Kaldi’s Coffee in Kansas City and an avid cocktailian, finds coffee-drink inspiration in The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.
She recently developed a Caprese-inspired, nonalcoholic coffee drink.
“I used a Nicaraguan coffee that had notes of white grape, cherry and dark chocolate,” Clark says. “I knew I wanted to make an iced drink, and found that using the [coffee and espresso maker] AeroPress brought a juicy coffee with a ton of acidity that reminded me of tomatoes.”
She incorporated a local fig balsamic vinegar, “which added earthiness and bitterness to the drink,” Clark says. “For sweetened, I did a basil-infused sugar on the rim.”
Work with coffee reductions
A latte at Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters.
Using a coffee reduction is another way to preserve the full flavor of a java cocktail. You can make it by brewing coffee at a few times normal strength or simmering regular coffee in a saucepan until it reduces by half.
Brass Union, which opened this past June in Sommerville, MA, serves a drink called the Esqueleto. The $10 cocktail blends Espolon reposado tequila, a coffee reduction, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, lemon, Thai chili peppers and a house-made passion fruit soda.
And the Rum Line, which opened late last year in the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, serves a drink called the Cargo Ship that uses a coffee reduction from local roaster Panther coffee. The $15 drink also includes Ron Zacapa 23 rum, Batavia Arrack and mole bitters it’s served in a glass that’s been rinsed with Talisker Storm Scotch.
Consider cold or flash brewing
Iced coffee can be made a variety of ways, but flash brewing over ice can lock in sweetness and minimize acidity. “Flash brewing gives you a lighter body in the coffee than a typical cold-brew method with more oils,” says Edie Baker, co-owner of Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters in Sacramento, CA.
To flash brew, replace half the water in the recipe with ice and brew the coffee onto the ice.
Standard cold brewing has its charms as well. Instead of extracting the flavorful oils and solubles in a few minutes from the coffee using hot water, do it with room-temperature or cold water over the course of 12 hours or so. Using a Toddy maker or experimenting with traditional methods like sun brewing in a jar will result in a hearty, oily coffee compared by many to a dark stout beer.
These coffees provide a robust flavor to chilled coffee cocktails. Red Star Tavern in the Portland, OR, Hotel Monaco has a cold-brew cocktail called the Cold Pressed Andes ($10). It’s mixed with vanilla vodka, creme de cacao and Menta Branca over ice in a Collins glass topped with fresh cold-brew coffee and whipped cream.
The Cold Pressed Andes from Red Star Tavern in Portland, OR, a cold-brew cocktail with vanilla vodka, creme de cacao and Menta Branca.
Baker and her team have been experimenting with nitrogenating cold brew and then pulling it through a nitro tap, as you would do with a Guinness. The results have been stunning, she says.
“People absolutely love it,” Baker says. “First we marketed it as a ‘morning beer,’ but now we serve it all the time.”
Chocolate Fish’s nitro cold brew ($4 per tulip glass) cascades as you watch with tiny bubbles rising, with a creamy head like an oatmeal stout.
Stirred, Not Shaken
Coffee lends wonderful complexity to a cocktail—especially the light smoke of the roasted beans and the slightly tannic notes, according to Cooking Channel hosts Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark. Since you don’t want to water those flavors down, treat espresso drinks like stirred cocktails made from all liquor ingredients, such as a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned.
That means instead of shaking these kinds of cocktails over ice, you should stir them with a bar spoon and strain into a glass, with or without a large ice cube. The stirred coffee cocktail will reward you with rich flavor, Ward and Hardstark say. Here are three of the pair’s espresso cocktail recipes, all to be stirred—not shaken.
Limoncello Iced Latte
1 oz. Grand Marnier
1 oz. Villa Massa limoncello
2 ½ oz. Coffee
Splash of cream
Pour Limoncello and Grand Marnier into glass coffee cup or mug, over ice. Top with coffee and cream, stir well and garnish with whipped cream.
Orange You Glad It’s Got Tequila?
1 ½ oz. Reposado tequila
¾ oz. Orange liqueur
¾ oz. Espresso, chilled
Add all the ingredients to a tall glass or a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Stir with a long spoon for 30 seconds to a minute, and strain into an up glass. Garnish with a strip of orange peel, spiraled inside the glass.
1 ½ oz. Rye or bourbon
¾ oz. Averna amaro
½ oz. Espresso, chilled
Add first three ingredients to a tall glass or shaker. Add ice. Stir with a long spoon and strain into an up glass. Garnish with one Luxardo cherry.
Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery Now Open In Miami Beach
Just in time for the busy season, there is a new cocktail spot in Miami Beach. Opened by seasoned bartender Danilo “Dacha” Bozovic – recently named one of the best ten bartenders in Miami – along with partners Jesus Perez, Milos Velickovic, Jason Tune, Strahinja Marjanovic and Nikola Dragojevic Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery is a welcome addition to the exciting craft cocktail scene exploding all around the Magic City.
The new Miami Beach cocktail hotspot and rum destination is an intimate and sophisticated craft cocktail bar with a selection of more than 150 rums, a New York City meets Miami vibe and drinks that will appeal to both the casual consumer and the cocktail connoisseur. Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery will soon give imbibers the opportunity to learn more about their rum preferences with special local rum tastings, each composed of a selection of four Florida Rums with an introduction to their history and taste profile. These tastings hope allow rum lovers or just curious traveler a fresh insight on Florida’s Rums. The bar will also host guest lectures, classes, and demonstrations that will be available to the public
“Our goal at Swizzle is to create a world class presence mixing rum culture with a classic and traditional style of bartending,” says Bozovic, also the author of Barkeep. “We aim to offer the best hospitality and bar experience to our guests from the moment they walk in the door and are greeted with a glass of our welcome Rum Manhattan.”
In addition to the 24 seats inside the intimate bar space, and 30 seats in the neighboring lounge, Swizzle will also have an outdoor patio area by the pool with 30 more seats. The decor will include a signature mural and walls lined with photos highlighting the history of rum. These photos are meant to add a museum-like vibe to the halls where when a bartender isn’t too busy behind the bar, they will offer walk-through tours as a chance to explain the history and the meaning behind the photos.
The pool patio will be open until midnight, while the cozy indoor bar will be open until 5 a.m. daily. The carefully curated playlist, played on a gramophone, will give Swizzle Rum Bar and Drinkery a classic feel and will help set the tone with its old school throwbacks to be heard throughout both spaces encouraging a fun and casual come-as-you-are setting.
The menu at Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery will include a versatile cocktail list, with a large focus on classic and contemporary cocktails, as well as a mix of spirit-forward cocktails and refreshing tropical drinks. Scotch lovers can opt for the Newburgh Sour made with Glenlivet Founders Reserve Single Malt Scotch, black tea-infused Amaro Montenegro shaken with fresh lemon juice, Demerara syrup, raw egg white and dashes of old fashioned bitters. Those who are interested in rum will love the Hurricane made with Diplomatico Planas, Mount Gy Black Barrel, Dark Chocolate Rum Bar Overproof Jamaican Rum.
Another anticipated favorite cocktail will be the Madame Hong, originally served at Macao Trading Co. under the watchful eye of Bozovic during his tenure as bar manager at that New York City drinks destination. It’s meant to invoke feelings of the beginning of spring. It’s served in a champagne flute and with bitter notes due to its use of Campari. “The aim of Madame Hong is to mark an end to the winter and slow transition into the warmer days, even though Miami doesn’t often feel that change, it’s fun to have cocktails that can help guests imagine a change in season,” says Bozovic. “The Campari works perfectly with strawberries and lemon juice. It’s brought to life with a bit of bubbly and a small touch of Peychaud’s Bitters.”
Happy hour will be available every day from 7 to 10 p.m. featuring specialty cocktails such as a Classic Mojito, a coffee-infused dark rum Banana Daiquiri, and the vodka, fresh pineapple, and mint based Missionary Downfall. Weekly themed activations like Tiki Monday, Rum Smuggler Tuesday, and Prohibition Thursday will offer themed menus and special pricing.
A bevy of bar bites will also be available to help soak up the cocktails. Twists on Miami favorites like Serbian steak croquettes filled with pork steak rolled up and coated in kajmak and paprika with Ajvar Serbian vegetable spread served on the side. Cuban sandwiches and Jamaican jerk chicken wings promise to add a bit of flavor and flair to the menu.
Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery is located at The Stiles Hotel at 1120 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, and is open daily from 7 pm to 5 am.
Hair of the Drog5 Photos Drogerie
Sure, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
If by “spoonful,” you mean “tumbler.”
And by “sugar,” you mean “vodka, rum, whiskey, gin and whatever that blue stuff is in the corner.”
Anyway, that’s what we think. And so does this place: Drogerie, a mysterious lair of medicinal cocktails, now open at the Albion Hotel. Below, three things you should know before filling your prescription.
It’s like a clandestine opium den. For booze.
Meet Albert Trummer. He’s the guy who started this whole medicinal drink thing in NYC. Now he’s set up shop in a secluded corner of the Albion with crystal chandeliers, red velvet couches and a Carrara marble bar stocked with beakers, Bunsen burners and vials. It’s like Breaking Bad. with more hibiscus.
Trust the guys in the white coats.
They’re your bartenders/liquid pharmacists. And they’ve been studying the effects of herbs, botanicals and booze for over a decade. So relax. Flip open the Prescription List. Maybe order up one of the stimulant cocktails. Or an aphrodisiac like the Deal Closer (vodka, Chinatown aphrodisiacs, mint, lime and vanilla). Probably not covered by your PPO.
Get your recommended daily allowance of wormwood.
Ask for the Absinthe Ritual. We don’t want to give away too much, but it involves fiery herbs, cognac, rum and bright blue flames erupting over jiggers and beakers.
The Most Eye-Catching Cocktails from Coast to Coast
Even science says we eat with our eyes, so why not drink with them, too? Across the country, bars are working on presentation that grabs your attention with stunning handcrafted barware, tableside theatrics or a dose of whimsy.
Photo By: Francesco Tonelli
Photo By: Matt Taylor-Gross
The Pineapple at Matador Room, Miami
The pineapple was once a symbol of hospitality, used by colonial innkeepers to signal that rooms were available. At the Matador Room, the pineapple beckons with another message: upscale food and drinks by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Copper pineapples custom made by Absolut hold a cocktail as luxurious as the vessel: The vodka maker's Elyx is mixed with salted caramel and rosemary syrups, and dehydrated pineapples that perfume the cocktail with the fruit.
Brown Derby at 189 by Dominique Ansel Los Angeles
If you've ever wondered what it'd be like to have a drink with Dominique Ansel, wonder no more. At his palatial LA restaurant and bakery in The Grove, the Cronut creator brings his whimsical touch to classic cocktails such as margaritas and sazeracs. In a play on the brown derby, Ansel infuses whole California grapefruits with Eagle Rare Bourbon, brulees the fruit tableside, then juices it over ice. In true Ansel fashion, it's familiar flavors packaged in a novel way.
Zen Garden at RedFarm and Decoy, New York City
To match the inventive dim sum and Peking duck feast at RedFarm and Decoy, bartender Shawn Chen calls upon his Chinese-American heritage to shake up drinks such as the visually stunning Zen Garden. Mezcal and Génépy Des Alpes (a Swiss aperitif) add an intoxicating boost to honey-sweetened oolong tea. Poured into a transparent gaiwan cup, the drink arrives at the table with a pot of tea "smoke" and two small pieces of pineapple cake.
Pourover Cocktails at Quality Eats, New York City
It turns out a Hario V60 can make more than just coffee. At the trendy steakhouse Quality Eats (with locations in the West Village, Upper East Side and NoMad), beverage pro Bryan Schneider offers up two morning-inspired cocktails poured over cold-brew ice: the Ryes and Shine, with rye whiskey, demerara syrup, and orange and angostura bitters and the Breakfast Negroni, featuring aged rum, calvados, banana liqueur, amaro and Campari. Proceeds from the drinks will benefit Fairtrade America.
Smoke & Rosemary at Beau Nash, Dallas
Beau Nash is billed as a champagne bar, but the bubbly isn't quite as head-turning as the Smoke & Rosemary. It starts like any other cocktail, as bartenders mix together Tequila Avión, Aperol and rosemary syrup, but the glass has one more destination before it hits your table: a bar-top smoker that imparts the scent of applewood chips. Once it emerges from the haze, it's ready for consumption.
Tea Cocktails at The Bar at Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco
An extensive renovation breathed new life into the rooms and also the lobby bar at this Japantown hotel. Armed with inspiration from the neighborhood and her stints at Boston's Hojoko and Chicago's Three Dots and a Dash, Stephanie Ann Wheeler crafted an impressive visual impact with two cocktails, the Hello Amanojaku and Golden Milk Tea Punch. Both use tea as a base &mdash the former combines chai with Suntory Toki whiskey, and the latter combines green tea with turmeric and Beefeater gin &mdash and are aptly served tableside in beautiful vintage pots with sake cups. The Hello Amanojaku even comes with a melonpan pastry to complete the full teatime experience.
Diablo's Inferno at Here's Looking at You, Los Angeles
The six rum bowls at Here's Looking at You aren't some island-vacation tchotchkes &mdash the containers, each branded with the bar's initials, were a gift from tiki-mug maker Danny Gallardo, also known as Tiki Diablo. To fill the handcrafted bowls, lead bartender Harry Chin concocted a complex punch using mezcal, cognac and two types of rum. Pineapple, orange and lime juices add a bright burst of tropical flavor, and no drink called Diablo's Inferno would be complete without a flame.
Polar Bear Club at Sunday in Brooklyn, New York
Don't be fooled by its name &mdash the flavors of the Polar Bear Club at this Williamsburg brunch hotspot are more likely to conjure up images of a tropical island than the Arctic Circle. Barman Brian Evans combines cachaca, aquavit, coconut, pineapple, lime and pandan into a bright frozen sipper that's whimsically served in a honey-bear bottle.
Matador Red Sangria at Barton G., Los Angeles
Tired of seeing sangria served in buckets, Barton G. Weiss of Barton G. looked for a way to tie the drink back to its Spanish origins and settled on a matador. The housemade beverage &mdash a blend of red wine with fresh local grapes, apples, citrus, and fresh and dried cranberries &mdash comes streaming out of a figure constructed from pipes and dressed up to resemble a bullfighter.
Duck Bath Punch at Bitter & Twisted, Phoenix
The team at this Downtown cocktail parlor has given the term "bathtub gin" a whole new meaning. The Duck Bath Punch is a playful ode to the creative spirits making of the Prohibition era, but there's nothing makeshift about the shareable sipper. A mini ceramic tub is filled with Hendrick's gin (of course), amaro, Grand Poppy liqueur, Earl Grey tea and grapefruit oleo. To mimic a true bath, the tub is topped with cucumber air that looks just like soaking bubbles.
Pressed Cocktails at Stoke, Charlotte, North Carolina
"Pressed" is an entire category of its own at Stoke, the stylish restaurant inside Charlotte's Marriott Hotel. Served in individual French presses, the concoctions allow guests to play around with the strength and flavor of their elixir of choice. Let the South by Southwest (tequila, lime, basil, grapefruit and habanero bitters) steep longer and it gets spicier leave the In-Cider Trading's ingredients (rye, ginger, cinnamon and apple cider) to mingle and the fall flavors grow stronger.
LN2 Caipirinha at The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Miami
Be prepared for a show when you place an order at this South Beach tapas bar, where spherified olives and smoking cocktails are the norm. One such drink is the LN2 Caipirinha, inspired by a similar option offered at Spain's Michelin-starred El Bulli, where José Andrés once trained. Instead of ice, liquid nitrogen is used to chill the Brazilian rum-based drink into a boozy slushie, and it's all done from a cart that wanders across the posh chandelier-decked dining room.
Spamtastic Bloody Mary at Hula Girl Bar & Grill, Arlington, Virginia
Spam often gets a bad rap, one that Hawaii native Mikala Brennan is out to dispel at her island-themed restaurant, where the umami pork product makes its way into several menu items. Diners can wash down plain or tempura-fried Spam musubi with the house Bloody Mary, a brunch special of vodka infused with both bacon and the canned lunchmeat. The spicy drink &mdash amped up with Sriracha, Tabasco, chile water and passion fruit chile salt imported from Kauai &mdash arrives in the signature blue tin with a spear of Spam-stuffed olives.
Rumluck at The Spare Room, Los Angeles
This is no stuffy hotel cocktail lounge. Situated on the second floor of the Roosevelt Hotel, The Spare Room is a drinks den and bowling alley in one. Inside a room that almost feels like a Great Gatsby movie set, guests can challenge each other to assorted games while sipping sophisticated cocktails separated into categories like Sparklers and Dynamite. The Rumluck, however, is in a league of its own. Perched on a striking gold chalice filled with ice and flower petals, the glass holds rhum agricole, white rum, coconut, lime and Peychaud's Bitters, in what beverage director Yael Vengroff describes as a "gussied-up Ti Punch for two."
The Whaf at ArtScience Culture Lab & Cafe, Cambridge, Massachusetts
As its name suggests, there's a lot of experimenting going on at this Massachusetts restaurant, where oysters come topped with coconut snow and there's peach gel on the chicken liver mousse. One of the signature drinks has even been dubbed the "cloud cocktail" for its vaporlike state. Using a contraption called the Whaf, barman Tenzin Samdo evaporizes spirits into a fog that's trapped by a fanciful sugar tuile. The latest incarnation &mdash there have been negronis and pina coladas in the past &mdash is a minty play on the industry nightcap of whiskey and Fernet Branca that you can slowly "sip" and enjoy.
The Modernist Herbal Negroni at Grant Grill, San Diego
In a setup that resembles a science experiment, this bubbling siphon turns Campari sugar crystals, Bols Genever gin, citrus peel, rosemary and sage into a negroni base. As in the Italian apertif that inspired it, there's also vermouth &mdash but, true to Grant Grill's complex delivery, the fortified wine comes in the form of a massive ice ball.
Peppermint Snuggler at Sun Valley Resort, Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley Resort's Duchin Lounge ups the cozy factor by serving its boozy hot chocolate in a massive glass stocking. A simple, warming mix of peppermint schnapps, housemade hot cocoa and whipped cream, the off-menu sip is best enjoyed in front of a cozy fireplace.
Hooch Punch at SoBou, New Orleans
The Hooch Punch at SoBou may be the classiest way to drink from a flask. No two days' offerings are the same, with the drink changed daily to include different fruits and alcoholic bases: One day may bring a tropical rum-spiked iced tea with rhubarb bitters, while another will go low-alcohol to spotlight local kombucha with strawberry, sage and honey. All are served in an oversized metal carafe with dainty glass teacups.
Pack a Cooler at Little Buddy, Asbury Park, New Jersey
No beach town is complete without a tiki bar, and in Asbury Park it comes in the form of Little Buddy. Hidden behind the Brickwall Tavern, the boozy bungalow pours tropical elixirs that boast a potent punch. The Pack a Cooler, a bubbling blend of rum, pineapple, passion fruit and an entire bottle of Chandon, comes with a warning: It's meant for "five to six brave souls."
Treasure Chest at Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago
When the Treasure Chest hits the floor, all eyes are on it. It's impossible not to stare as the massive alcohol-filled trunk makes its way around Three Dots and a Dash &mdash which is exactly what beverage director Kevin Beary intended. A blend of fresh fruit juices, three types of rum and a whole bottle of Dom Perignon, the group cocktail is garnished with loads of tropical fruit, orchids and &mdash because it is a treasure, after all &mdash shiny gold coins.
Puff Puff Pass at Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, Austin, Texas
Austin's famed Ramen Tatsu-Ya spun off this James Beard-nominated izakaya, where Japanese drinks and drinking food are the focus. Like its noodle house sibling, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya draws on Chef Tatsu Aikawa's Japanese-Texan background, offering culture-crossing fare like sticky-rice tamales and chili-cheese takoyaki. On the drinks front, there are classics like highballs and sake, but the house favorite is the Puff Puff Pass. Beverage director Michael Phillips spotted the adorable fish-shaped cup at Portland, Oregon, tiki bar Hale Pele and brought one back to Texas, filling it with a meld of sweet potato shochu, aged rum, grapefruit and five-spice bitters.
First Call at The Lobby Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida
For bourbon lovers, it pays to arrive early at The Lobby Bar. Each morning, the head bartender starts a new infusion of the American whiskey, adding his spirit of choice with fruits and spices &mdash and occasionally even bacon &mdash to a 4-foot-tall contraption that sits at the bar's entrance. The liquor steeps for six to eight hours, and once the lounge opens, it's served on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests can enjoy the infused bourbon on the rocks or in any of the bar's signature cocktails.
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Drinkhouse Fire & Ice (1672 Collins Ave. 305-534-2423): Drinkhouse Fire & Ice is actually two bars in one. Walk through the unmarked black door to enter the fire lounge, where your bartender, Flip, literally juggles flames. The cocktails are imaginative and intricate, like the Glacier Water ($15), which comes with its own mini iceberg and ship, or the Shocktail ($18), a gin-and-lemonade concoction served with a Szechuan button &mdash a dried flower found in South America, Africa, and Asia. Once consumed, the tiny bud sets your taste buds tingling, taking your tongue on an acid trip of sorts, which enhances the flavor of the drink. Once you've finished your drink at the fire bar, suit up in the faux fur hats and coats provided and step into the 23-degree ice bar. Queen Elsa ain't got nothing on this frozen wonderland, filled with ice sculptures, crystals, and changing light displays. Enjoy a vodka, served in a shot glass made of ice, and take some selfies before heading back to the warmth of the fire bar for a soul-soothing spiked hot chocolate.
The Drawing Room (1801 Collins Ave. 305 531-1271): The Drawing Room, located in the lobby of the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, is filled with beakers and bottles identified only by numbers. Those are Albert Trummer's elixirs, the bar owner's own inventions, made from herbs, flowers, and fruits. Trummer's "cocktail prescriptions" are specially designed to cure what ails you. So whether you need to relieve stress, kill pain, or increase your libido, there's a drink that fits the bill. The mixologist, who collaborated with culinary bigwigs like David Bouley and Geoffrey Zakarian, was the genius behind New York's Apotheke and Theater Bar and has taken his skills to Miami Beach. "Doctor" Trummer recommends the House Medicine ($15). "It's made with my elixirs. I mix my vanilla, orange, and rhubarb elixirs that are made with secret herbs and finish it with my absinthe essence to create a pure and natural absinthe cocktail found nowhere else in Miami."
Repour Bar (1650 James Ave. 305-913-1000): Isaac Grillo, best known for his extravagant cocktails at Haven, opened Repour at the Albion Hotel about six months ago, after years of searching for the right venue. Here, Grillo has created a mountain-lodge feel by fashioning the bar from Colorado lodge pole pine and using frozen river rocks in place of ice in some of the cocktails. The bar menu changes monthly, and drinks are posted on a whiteboard that takes up the better part of the back wall, with drinks divided into different rooms, each with their own personality. Your best bet is to go with a libation from the "garden," where the featured drink is made with herbs and vegetables grown on Repour's patio. The Carrot Patch ($12), for example, is made with Botanist botanical gin, carrot, ginger, turmeric reduction, and celery bitters. The spicy-sweet elixir is an instant pick-me-up and the best way possible to get a dose of vitamins.
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company (237-B 20th St. 305-763-8217): Sweet Liberty is billed as a neighborhood bar, but don't think you'll find the usual Budweiser-and-chicken-wing action here. The powerhouse trio behind Sweet Liberty &mdash restaurateur David Martinez, Blackbird Ordinary's Dan Binkiewicz, and world-class bartender John Lermayer &mdash have taken the "everybody knows your name" concept to new heights, with skillfully created plays on the American pub. If you're looking for an après-beach bite, Lermayer suggests a fried green tomato salad ($9), paired with a glass of rosé on tap ($10). If you're looking for something boozier, Sweet Liberty's old-fashioned is made in the classic style, "a simple and delicious mix of Four Roses bourbon, Angostura bitters, and just a touch of sugar." Sweet Liberty also sells bar tools and bitters in case you're inspired to try some home mixology.
The Regent Cocktail Club (1690 Collins Ave. 786-975-2555): Step back to a time when sultry songbirds sang jazz standards and vest-clad bartenders carefully constructed cocktails for discerning clientele. The Regent Cocktail Club at the Gale has the vibe of an intimate speakeasy you've probably experienced only in movies. Here, you'd almost expect F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald to come tumbling in for an aviation or a manhattan. Head partner and managing bartender Julio Cabrera (who is as well known for his dapper presence as his bartending skills) is lauded for his precise daiquiris, but he recommends the zombie ($14). "It's a long, refreshing, and colorful tiki drink, and also the most important," he says. Like all zombies, this potent potable comes with a bite. "It's a very powerful concoction, made with three different kinds of rum. I don't think you would need to order a second one."
Broken Shaker (2727 Indian Creek Dr. 305-531-2727): Though Broken Shaker isn't technically located in South Beach, it's worth the five-minute cab or Uber ride to experience Miami Beach's most decorated bar. Located poolside at the Freehand Miami, the Shaker has been named one of the world's 50 best bars, nominated for a James Beard Award, and received the Best American Hotel Bar Spirited Award at Tales of the Cocktail this year. With all of that recognition, the bar hasn't lost its cozy, unpretentious vibe. People don't come here to show off their designer duds, but to enjoy the booze. Drinks are straightforward, relying on fresh herbs grown on the premises, house-made bitters, and good spirits instead of tricks and foams. Partner Gabriel Orta suggests the smoky margarita ($10), made with mescal, fresh lime, agave, and a spicy salt rim.
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Some say the love of a good cocktail is all about the bartender experience -- the bartender actually making your drink, from scratch, right there in front of you. But at Sweetwater, the art of kegging and pouring a pre-made concoction is a great solution for some drinks according to Iglehart.
Indeed, he doesn't disappoint with his selection, currently offering two stellar examples of a smart kegged cocktail done well. The cocktail on tap works best with certain liquors, specifically gin, whiskey, liqueurs, vermouths and bitters. Choose the Amor y Amargo, a combination of equal parts gin, Galliano (a sweet vanilla-anise flavored liqueur with subtle citrus and woodsy herbal notes), Fernet Branca (a bitter Italian liqueur laced with pungent botanicals) and orange bitters. Or go for the Wolfbangs, a heady cocktail of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Aperol (an Italian aperitif) and orange bitters.
"Not many people realize we've been doing this for over a year. We were the first in Palm Beach County, if not the entire state," Iglehart told Clean Plate Charlie during a recent interview. "We started [batching] drinks to deal with the expected crowd, so we were able to serve literally hundreds of drinks a night using that technique. When we're busy, it saves time for certain drinks [that do well kegged]."
Here in South Florida, we're further behind the pot curve than Durkin would like.
While law currently makes possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana a first-degree misdemeanor in Broward County — punishable by a maximum jail term of one year and a $1,000 fine, as it is throughout much of Florida — Durkin is readying his Fort Lauderdale-based distillery for the day marijuana is legalized both on a state and federal level.
To do so, Durkin created a recipe he's dubbed Sour Diesel Fwaygo — named for his favorite strain — a cannabis-infused white rum flavored with lime and honey that offers imbibers a dose of activated Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive element of marijuana.
With the scent of a "fresh bud, similar to Sprite," the resulting spirit could be used to make flavorful cocktails that offer a "subtle body high," says Durkin.
So how do you get weed-infused liquor? Science!
Most old-school recipes call for mixing dried cannabis with a high-proof alcohol and storing the mixture in a dark space for several days or weeks. But Durkin says there are two problems with this method.
First, plant matter creates a thick, murky liquid that tastes (and smells) like swamp water. Second, without heating the marijuana to release the THC, the liquor is unable to absorb the potency of the cannabis.
"It's a waste of perfectly good alcohol and weed," says Durkin. "Instead, I want to create an infusion that's not only potent but also clean-tasting enough to mix well in a cocktail."
Rather than infuse buds into his rum, Durkin has perfected the process of decarboxylating weed — a fancy word for heating the marijuana at a low-enough temperature to activate the THC. From there, he uses a heat-tolerant whipped-cream container and a nitrous oxide charger to force active marijuana compounds into his Fwaygo rum. The potency varies but averages seven grams (or a quarter-ounce) of cannabis for 750 milliliters.
And, voilà: the creation of what could be South Florida's first THC-infused rum. The resulting product would be fresh-tasting with herbal, citrusy notes Durkin likens to herbs like rosemary, sage, or even hops.
Durkin has even experimented with a few cocktail recipes he thinks will work well with such a product his favorite he calls the "Dank & Stormy," a shot of Sour Diesel Fwaygo mixed with ginger beer and fresh-squeezed lime juice and sweetened with a touch honey.
"It's not enough to get you blasted, but it will give you a nice, relaxed feeling," says Durkin. "A pleasurable high."
According to New Jersey-based mixologist, author, and "cocktail whisperer" spirit expert Warren Bobrow, cannabis-infused cocktails like Durkin's Dank & Stormy are the future of mixology, what he expects to become a growing trend as the decriminalization, legalization, and normalization of marijuana occurs nationwide.
Bobrow — whose parents are University of Miami alumni and former Miami residents — recently met Durkin during his return to the Magic City for the 2016 Rum Renaissance Festival that took place April 15 through 17. The two discussed the potential for future professional collaboration.
"We were talking about cocktails with cannabis infusions and how recipes like mine — mixed with premium liquors — can be a match made in heaven," says Bobrow. "When you mix marijuana and alcohol together, they play beautifully together."
He should know Bobrow's most recent work is called Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics, a 160-page book featuring 75 cocktail recipes that use cannabis. When it hits store shelves June 1, it will be the first of its kind, according to Library of Congress records.
"To be clear, I'm not promoting this from the distillers' level but rather on the bartending level — creative bartenders interested in the homeopathic history of cannabis as a medicinal tonic, the same recipes that were being used right up until the 1940s," says Bobrow. "I believe, with this book, I'm in the right place to help make history."
Durkin hopes to make history too — as the first Florida distiller to legally brand and sell a cannabis-infused rum. Despite the fact that he can't promote, bottle, serve, or even make Sour Diesel Fwaygo as such, more than anything else, Durkin says his goal is to open people's minds to a different — and equally pleasurable — cannabis experience.
"From a bottle instead of a bong," says Durkin. "It's a great way for people who have never smoked — or don't want to smoke — to experience all the benefits of marijuana."
While it may seem ludicrous to think the federal regulators will ever allow the two substances to be combined and sold in the same product, the idea actually isn't that far out there. Right now you can find a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing it to be regulated and taxed like alcohol, meaning The Food and Drug Administration would have the same authority over marijuana as it does for alcohol.
As the regulatory landscape surrounding cannabis changes, distilleries already skilled at making a quality, cannabis-infused product will have the upper hand, adds Durkin.
"First and foremost, I'm an advocate for legalizing marijuana," says Durkin. "I believe that — in the next 5 to 10 years — cannabis will be a federally regulated substance and — like Warren — I see an opportunity to make an innovative and delicious product, while also making history."