Next Tuesday our third of six episodes of Tavern Tastemakers goes live on oceandrive.com featuring world-renowned artist Michele Oka Doner, conjurer of the spirit of the ocean and the soul of Miami Beach, the place where hers first opened and where father, Kenneth Oka, was a judge and Mayor. The Schwartz family’s midcentury modern gem they purchased years back is her childhood home, tucked away off Bayshore Golf Course — brimming with its history and full of new life and art of its own.
And there is so much art to celebrate now in Miami, thanks to our honored guest. Earlier this month Michele visited from New York City to debut her costumes in the Miami City Ballet’s new production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, fittingly set under the sea, and to open a new show at Perez Art Museum Miami, “How I Caught a Swallow in Midair” on March 24 (on view until September 11, 2016.) More on this here when her episode airs on April 5.
We will toast all these beautiful things that evening from 6-8PM at Cypress Tavern’s Tastemaker Cocktail Hour with beautiful cocktails to match, designed for our visionary enigma by Jen Massolo, an admirer and percolating well of creativity in her own right. Our dear friend, a spirits expert and the founder of consulting company The Liquid Projects, offers two bright and refreshing drinks inspired by Michele’s art works, The River of Quintessence and A Walk on the Beach.
We concern ourselves with the latter here, named for the mother of pearl, bronze, and terrazzo installation meandering travelers through the American Airlines terminal of the Miami International Airport.
The treasures in the sand that fascinated and nurtured Michele as she was growing up on Miami Beach now dazzle newcomers with their whimsical brilliance and wash those of us familiar with these charms — colorful sunsets, the hurricanes, thunderstorms, tides, the flora and fauna — gently back to shore. There’s really no better way to be welcomed home, gliding over this glittering magic carpet of jewels.
A Walk on the Beach — honey-ginger syrup, lime, fennel
This cocktail is delightfully light in its non-alcoholic form as it was designed for Michele on the day of her interview. Add 1 ounce (or more if you desire!) Tequila Avion Blanco or Reposado for a spirited version.
Makes one drink
2 ounces Ginger-Honey Syrup (recipe below)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Dash of fennel bitters
1.5 cups sparkling water
Lime zest and mint sprig for garnish
Add syrup, lime juice and fennel bitters to a tumbler filled with ice and vigorously shake. Strain into a collins glasses built with crushed ice and top with sparkling water. Finish with lime zest and a mint sprig.
Makes about 2 cups of syrup
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons raw honey
2 cups boiling water
Steep ginger, mint, and honey in the boiling water. Allow to cool and strain into a quart container. Keeps for a while sealed in the refrigerator, but shouldn’t last long given all the cocktails and sodas you’ll want to make with it. Great pantry item for your home bar.