This post has come about through the inspiration of my sister Stacie who traveled quite a bit this past spring for business, and found herself in Florida more times in 2016 than in the cumulative 26 years I’ve lived here. Stacie is one of those people cocktail lists have been created and written for, she reads them, and orders off them. I, on the other hand, completely ignore them. If I’m going to have a cocktail, it depends on my mood, and even then I usually stick to the classics, such as vodka martinis and Aperol Spritzers. If I’m feeling adventurous, or in need of a very adult cocktail I take the bourbon route. I ask the bartender to make up something for me, because with the renaissance of the bourbon cocktail culture so much creativity has been birthed that I’m not usually disappointed with whatever is recommended or made for me, plus it only takes two really good bourbon cocktails to take its full pleasurable effect.
Having spent quite a bit of time cocktailing with Stacie over the past few months, I’ve given cocktail lists more than a passing glance but quite frankly, I seem to be more cocktail savvy with sissy on the adjacent barstool. I follow Stacie’s lead, and we seem to have a jolly good time! Below are some of our favorites, and some on our hit list for her next travel go-round.
South Florida Food and Wine Aperol Spritz
Stacie and I are the Champagne sisters. We could drink Champagne all day, every day, and we have Champagne stories that go on for days, including the one from seven Christmas’ ago to prove it. So it’s only fitting that I begin with my all time favorite sparkling wine cocktail.
Spicy Peach Margarita by Justin Himmelbaum at Park Tavern Delray Beach
Every now and then you come across a cocktail that mirrors its maker. The Spicy Peach Margarita is without a doubt, a cocktail with personality. This original cocktail created by Justin Himmelbaum, is very much like its creator, sweet, yet spicy, creative, and thoughtful and oh so much fun to sit with and enjoy.
“Tijuana Street Corn-er” by Bob Higginbotham
This is a play on a Daiquiri called the “Tijuana Street Corn-er”, created by Bob Higginbotham, creator of Bar Brawls, and Host/MC of Shaken. The inspiration for this cocktail comes from various different sources. The first being Higginbotham’s summers that were spent in Rhode Island, where corn seemed to be everywhere from pizzas at the legendary Alforno to the Scallop Chowder at The Mooring. Additionally, the Rhode Island transplant finds daiquiris to be the quintessential summer cocktail; now being in South Florida, Higginbotham spiced it up a bit with the addition of the Ancho Reyes liqueur.
“Tara-gone to the Woods” by Patrick at 13 American Table Boca Raton
While I try to not play favorites, and be as neutral as possible, there’s always a standout something for everyone. And “Tara-gone to the Woods” at 13 American Table is my go-to cocktail. Patrick, made this for me, one very indecisive happy hour afternoon, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s rich in flavor with its many layers, each complimenting the other, no one flavor is overdone or overpowering. A sophisticated cocktail, or as I refer to it, an adult cocktail that packs a wallop. Food is highly recommended with this drink.
Muddle one orange slice and 2 bourbon soaked cherries in a cocktail shaker
add 2.5 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon into the cocktail shaker
add .75 oz Honey Tarragon Syrup into the cocktail shaker (Fresh Honey, Tarragon, Simple Syrup reduced for an hour)
Simple Syrup equal parts water and sugar, heated in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved
add 2-3 drops of bitters into the cocktail shaker.
add hint of lemon zest
Stir (NOT shake)
Rim the glass with the lemon peel used before strain and pour over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange and cherry.
Blazin Cucumber at Tap 42
Nothing says cool and refreshing like a cucumber; put it in a cocktail and you’ve got a grand slam. Stacie and I discovered this cool cucumber cocktail at the Boca Raton Tap 42 one steamy summer night while sitting on their outdoor patio. What is ideal about this cocktail is that it can be made in batches making it perfect for that endless pool sipping cocktail.
Cucumber Puree: Two options here. To make multiple cocktails, you can go ahead and make a batch of puree, but keep in mind it will only keep about 2-3 days before it starts tasting like a pickle. For this, use 3-4 sliced cucumbers (or however many it takes to fill the blender), then add water about 1/3 of the way to the top. The idea is to use the least amount of water you need to get everything to blend. Blend well and strain through a fine mesh strainer for best results.
For just a few cocktails, you can make a smaller batch by blending sliced cucumber with just enough water to get everything pureed, then strain it. You can also simply muddle cucumbers in each cocktail, but you won’t get the green vibrancy that you do from making a puree
Bring water to a boil, add basil and stir in sugar. Turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain basil out.Keep chilled. This will keep for weeks.
The Sunset Sidecar Martini is a favorite among locals; a most refreshing summer cocktail to beat long, hot summer days in South Beach. Fresh mint leaves, fresh orange slices, Agave and Makers 46… all shaken over ice into a frosted martini glass.
2 oz. Makers “46”
5 Fresh Mint Leaves
1 squeeze Simple Syrup
0.25 oz. Agave Syrup
1 Orange Slice
Method: Place orange slice and four mint leaves into mixing glass – muddle well. Add simple syrup, agave and Makers “46.” Add ice and shake well. Pour into martini glass with no rim and garnish with one mint leaf.
Garden Essentials Cocktail at The Palms Hotel & Spa Miami Beach
Essensia Restaurant & Lounge is a leader in Miami’s farm-to-table movement, sourcing fresh, seasonal ingredients from local Florida farms and an on-site Organic Chef’s Garden. Essensia’s signature “Conscious Cocktails” are made using organic or craft spirits, seasonal produce and fresh herbs
1 Campari Tomato
2 basil leaves
1 pinch of salt
1.5oz Crop Vodka
.75 lemon juice
Method: Muddle 1 campari tomato, basil and salt (a light pinch). Add all other ingredients (excluding orange flower*). Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 6 seconds. Then double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an Orange Flower*. *Peel about 8 inches or more from an orange. Then roll tightly into a roll and allow one side to slightly unravel. When ideal rose shape is formed stab a bamboo pick through all layers to keep in place. Wedge 1-2 small basil leaves to give it more a rose like quality with leaves.
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