When it comes to indulging in a favorite cocktail, old traditions are rarely trifled with. A tried-and-true cocktail menu staple, the classic martini is known for its simplicity, elegance, and timeless appeal. Typically made with gin or vodka, vermouth, and a garnish such as an olive or lemon twist, the martini has undergone many variations over the years and has become one of the most iconic cocktails in the world. Today, some of the hottest dining destinations in Fort Lauderdale and Miami are forgoing pre-established rules and stirring up new versions of the martini, showcasing unexpected flavor pairings and fresh ingredients that make the case for rule-breaking as the new cocktail recipe standard.
At AVRA – the glamorous new Greek restaurant located at Acqualina Resort & Spa, a crown jewel in Sunny Isles’ glossy strip of multi-million-dollar luxury high-rise residences and hotels – the Santorini Martini transports those who sip it to the cerulean views of the southern Aegean Sea. While this cocktail is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to taste, leave the mixing to the experts. Two muddled cucumbers stirred with three basil leaves, Giffard Crème de Pamplemousses Rose liqueur, lemon juice, agave, Hendrix Gin and cucumber vodka make this a refreshingly light and complex elixir for even the most seasoned cocktail aficionado. Avragroup.com.
NO MAN’S LAND
The team at Fort Lauderdale’s No Man’s Land believes consumers are gravitating towards the nostalgia of classic drinks while appreciating a modern twist. “We are seeing a resurgence of classic drinks on cocktail menus with riffs that encourage an exploration of different ways to experience these favorites,” says Memphis Garret, CEO of Garret Hospitality Group. A perfect example is the cocktail parlor’s Bougie Martini. A mix of Grey Goose Vodka, onion brine and simple syrup is accompanied by a dollop of caviar, crème fraiche and chives. “The brine and salty notes from the caviar seamlessly create an exceptionally lavish treat,” says Felipe Freire, the bar’s resident mixologist. Nomanslandftl.com.
Home of the tangiest martini, the Tomatini, LPM reinvented the martini as a light, fragrant and savory incarnation that celebrates the attention to detail the upscale French Riviera-inspired eatery is known for at its Brickell area space. Created by Jimmy Barrat, a Nice native and award-winning bartender, the vermillion-hued concoction is a savory mix of ripe Campari tomatoes, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, a touch of sugar and Ketel One Vodka. The result is fresh, slightly tart and simply perfect. Lpmrestaurants.com.
A perfect balance of sweet, sour and herbal notes, La Palabra Verde is a highlight of the bar menu presented at the celebrated Basque eatery, LEKU MIAMI. A take on The Last Word, a classic cocktail that originated in the early 20th century and has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity, this homage bypasses the original gin base for tequila and a dash of earthy Ancho Reyes liqueur while keeping the magical combination of maraschino liqueur and green Chartreuse that make this delicious cocktail enjoyable at any time of the day. Lekumiami.com.
Grace Kimmel, bar master at Burlock Coast at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, found the inspiration for the aptly named Grace’s Key Lime Martini while on a weekend sojourn in the Florida Keys. A tribute to the iconic tart pie, think of this as a sweet spin to a standard happy hour. Light enough to sip and enjoy, Kimmel’s version includes a boozy mix of vanilla-flavored Stoli vodka, Don Q coconut rum, Godiva white liqueur, Frangelico liqueur, simple syrup and lime juice, shaken on ice and served to be enjoyed to ultimate satisfaction. Ritzcarlton.com.
CAFÉ LA TROVA
The award-winning Buenavista cocktail, created by master cantinero and Café La Trova co-owner Julio Cabrera, is one of the most popular drinks at Miami’s Calle Ocho neighborhood mainstay. Made with Bombay Sapphire gin, cucumber, mint, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, and sugar, the innovative beverage is perhaps Cabrera’s greatest masterpiece in a menu replete with standout selections that have kept Café La Trova on a long list of awards lists including 50 World’s Best Bars and the recent semifinalist nominations for the annual James Beard Awards. Cafelatrova.com.
By Terry Zarikian.