Once Upon a Cocktail: Throwing Back a Classic Exercise to Suit Both Enthusiast & Curious Barflies

With respect to those that came before, and laid the groundwork for what a House Cocktail is all about and how it comes to be, we present the classics. New to the Michael’s Genuine bar, a devotion to the old standards that never go out of style and always inspire our creative juices.  Beginning today for the immediate future, enjoy our roadmap to explore them with Gabe Urritia of @spiritedmiami and our #mgfdbar team.  You’ll find a portrait shot on-site for Instagram and why you should care according to people and cocktail books we trust in the caption, from origin myths to the specialness that makes them memorable.

The first sip is one familiar in name but an outlier perhaps as a go-to.  Rolls off the tongue smooth but maybe has fallen out of favor.  From now on that changes, at least for me.  I’ve come upon an unlikely new favorite. “Sin azucar” for cafe con leche fix in the morning, but not so after 5pm.  The Sidecar effectively delivers a balanced tangy punch because it’s deeply dusted in sugar.  No longer are rims reserved for salt in my book.  Cheers to that!

Amara at Paraiso is Spectacular on July 4th with a Miami Backyard BBQ & Biscayne Bay Fireworks View

You ain’t seen nothing yet.  Biscayne Bay has unfurled some pretty dramatic sights since Amara at Paraiso opened in January, from dreamy sunsets to electric summer storms.  But a week from this Wednesday, that all floats to the wayside when our quintessential Miami waterfront restaurant gets lit for the first time with unimpeded access to our city’s fireworks displays across the bay… and so much more to celebrate summer’s favorite holiday for food!

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., taking both reservations and walk-ins for indoor and outdoor seating, chef Michael Paley adds a succulent line up of “Backyard BBQ” specials a la carte as a supplement to the also available regular dinner menu. The outdoor bar and grill are fired up for the occasion.  So is sommelier Amanda Fraga, with Veuve Clicquot Brut “Yellow Label” Champagne by the glass for $15.  DJ Savy Fontana joins us later on to set the mood.

Guests can also order La Caja China, a whole pig roasted under the coals served with accompaniments and choice of fire-kissed bread or tortillas, or go for a bold, exotic twist on American classics in a Chorizo Cheeseburger with smoked paprika aioli or Butifarra hot dog with pickled veggie slaw. Grilled Oysters, Grilled Corn, and Watermelon Salad with mint and spiced pepitas, make it a meal.

Crossing of Biscayne Bay featuring all AmericanMaker’s Mark and a fresh Mexican mixer.

Enjoy a commemorative special cocktail in The Crossing of Biscayne Bay for $13, the spark that happens when bourbon meets housemade horchata, a magic agua fresca of rice, sugar and cinnamon, topped with a crispy orange.  Buckets of Cusqueña are available 5 for $20, or $5 a bottle. Whether you join us on the lounge chairs at the beach or cozy up to a booth inside, it’s going to be a festive night!

Amara at Paraiso is located at 3101 NE 7th Ave in the Paraiso District of Miami’s East Edgewater neighborhood. For reservations, please call (305) 702-5528, email reservations@amaraatparaiso.com or visit Open Table here.

Stirring Things Up for Negroni Week at Michael’s Genuine® & Amara at Paraiso

If you’re a lover of a cocktail that leans a little bitter, you’ll want to visit the bars at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink and Amara at Paraiso ASAP.  It’s Negroni Week, the annual celebration of our favorite early evening Italian ritual that piques the appetite for all things nocturnal – especially poppable bar snacks like cheesy yuca puffs.

Amara at Paraiso’s trifecta of sultry red deliciousness.

Beginning today through Sunday, both restaurants have a list of special twists on this classic cocktail known for its amaro bite but celebrated for its exquisite balance.  We can and do conjure the classic at a moment’s notice — 1:1:1 of equal parts sweet vermouth preferably Carpano Antica, gin and Campari — but this week gives us a little license to get creative, and the juices have been flowing!  A portion of proceeds from each cocktail purchased will be donated to causes close to our hearts — at Amara assistant GM Maria Pottage offers 3 specials which support Outside In, helping homeless youth and marginalized people move towards improved health and self-sufficiency.  Michael’s Genuine’s bartender Jorge Hernandez offers a new negroni each day as its “Market Special” to benefit Wellness in the Schools, a national non-profit we work with in Miami that teaches kids healthy habits to learn and live better. Menus are listed below, so plan accordingly.

Below, pictured left to right.

Amara at Paraiso ~ Special Negroni List (13)
Negroni at Paraiso – Sotol por Siempre, Barsol Perfecto Amor pisco, Campari, orange peel
The Agroni – Campari, Russell’s Reserve bourbon, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, lemon, aqua fava, bitters
Negroni Punch – Macchu pisco, Campari, Aperol, pineapple juice, rosé, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth

Today’s special at Michael’s Genuine.

Michael’s Genuine ~ Market Special Negroni (12)

Monday –
Botanist Gin
Lychee Infused Cocchi Americano
Campari
Rinomato
St Germain

Tuesday –
Gin Mare
Sage Lime Syrup
Campari
Massican Dry Vermouth

Wednesday –
St George Terroir
Peach Infused Campari
Combier
Antica Carpano

Thursday –
Ransom Old Tom Gin
4 Roses Small Batch
Campari
Antica CArpano

Friday –
Botanist Gin
Passion Fruit Syrup
Campari
Massican Dry Vermouth

Saturday –
Love Eden Gin
Campari
Averel Sloe Gin
Cocchi Americano

Sunday –
Classic Negroni

Summer at The Cypress Room Shines in The Beverage Book

Cool off from Miami’s heat with something new and refreshing at our elegant American dining room and bar in the Design District!  Beginning today, The Beverage Book at The Cypress Room features six new cocktails from Aperitifs and Classics to Specialty Housemade. Also, for the first time the restaurant offers nightly-changing cocktail and spirits pairings for its 5-course Tasting Menu in a “Bartender’s Choice,” available for $40 additional, plus tax and gratuity.

Inspired by the classics and summer in the Magic City, TGHG Beverage Director Ryan Goodspeed reimagines old school cocktails through a modern American lens.  Pouring into vintage bar books and cocktails lists from as early as 1895, Goodspeed can usually find a home for a new idea he’s had or a new ingredient he’d like to feature.

“The beverage program at The Cypress Room is unabashedly spirit driven and careful calculation goes into each drink,” says Mr. Goodspeed.  “Cypress cocktails have a depth and texture to them. They are well-mannered, but get straight to the point!”

Beginning with light and refreshing Aperitifs (11), Four Rosés blushes with Chef Schwartz’s favorite, featuring rosé wine, Lillet rosé, Dillon’s gin-based rosé liqueur, rosebud and hibiscus flower water and a lemon twist. Lonely Negroni combines Miller’s Westborne gin, Campari, Aperol, JuJube syrup, lemon and orange peel. Classics (12) add a Whiskey Sour with WhistlePig rye, Cardamaro, lemon, simple syrup, egg whites and orange bitters, and Singapore Sling shakes Fords gin, Cherry Herring, Cointreau, Benedictine, pineapple, lime, angostura and a maraschino cherry. Specialty Housemade (14) includes Brewster highlighting the final harvest of the lychee season with vodka or gin, simple syrup, lime and cilantro. And every summer needs an anthem, so for Cypress it comes in the form of Summer’s Soda, a clear-as-a-summer’s-day elixir packing a punch with Highwest Silver Rye, Dolin Blanc, lemon, and lemongrass-lavender-chamomile syrup.

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Christian and Ryan, a meeting of the beverage minds over the TCR bar.

Cocktail and spirits pairings at The Cypress Room change nightly based on the 5-course tasting menu of the evening. Each day before dinner service our chefs review the dishes with Bartender Christian Carnevale and General Manager Amanda Su who perform some improvisational magic exercising their smarts and a little creative license for good measure.

Christian says, “The guests at The Cypress Room are looking to see what we can do. They are genuinely interested in what they’re drinking – whether it’s from a wine glass or a highball. They want to test our knowledge. These pairings give us an opportunity to converse with the Tasting Menu, show off what we can do and get creative! Our focus is on guest experience, everything is thought of beforehand, needs are anticipated and tailored to you.”

And if you were to ask Ryan, what makes a good cocktail? He’d say, “if you keep going back for more!” And we sure will, see you at The Cypress Room!  What will be your summer cocktail go-to at The Cypress Room? Follow us on Instagram and Twitter at @thecypressroom and tag us on your next visit. New summer hours offer dinner Monday through Thursday, 6-10pm and Friday and Saturday 6pm-12am. The restaurant is closed Sundays.

The Cypress Room is located at 3620 Northeast Second Avenue in Miami’s Design District. Reservations recommended by calling 305.520.5197 or emailing reservations@thecypressroom.com. For more information, including current menus, please visit thecypressroom.com.

Summertime at the Genuine Bar

Summer is not complete without cocktails. We thus met with The Genuine Hospitality Group’s Beverage Director, Ryan Goodspeed, to review four newly added cocktails to the menu at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. I call him our chemist. Ryan has been involved in the beverage industry for 20 years and we could not ask for a more passionate and sincere mixologist. His combinations are carefully crafted and his love for the process can quasi be tasted in every sip. Ryan’s overview describes the complexities of each of these drinks, which were born out of classics. Despite their history, he emphasizes that where you finish is never where you started, which makes each cocktail so very original and genuine.

Let us begin! The Far East Cocktail is ideal for island time, in Ryan’s words. It entails a mixture of Tanqueray Malacca Gin, mango infused Ancho Chile Liqueur, muddled mango and lime. Note that this style of Gin is sweeter with hints of citrus, unlike a traditional dry gin, which makes it the perfect summer companion. The Ancho Chile Liqueur is truly the magic touch as the mango infusion was Ryan’s will. This detail yields a cocktail with sweet and bold flavors with some spice as well. Here is the scoop to impress your friends at home:

Recipe:

  • 1 ½ oz Tanqueray Malacca Gin
  • 1 oz Ancho Reyes infused with Mango
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • ½ cup chopped mango

Glass: Coupe

Ice: Regular

Garnish: Mango peel rolled & skewered

Method: Combine ingredients in shaker. Muddle. Add ice. Shake and double strain. Garnish.

Our next cocktail, The Fiddler, is iced to the rim, to stay cooler, longer. Moreover this drink pays homage to our genuine motto: fresh, simple, pure. How? It combines Rittenhouse Rye 100 proof, Ferrand Dry Curacao, fresh grapefruit and basil, both sourced from South Florida. It is inspired by the Mint Julep cocktail, made popular at the Kentucky Derby, but this version clearly emits Miami flavors. Ryan recommends enjoying The Fiddler on your back porch, as this gem is both refreshing and easily constructed.

Recipe:

  • 1 ½ oz Rittenhouse Rye 100 proof
  • ½ oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 1 ½ oz grapefruit juice
  • 3 large basil leaves

Glass: Generic Berliner Tulep

Ice: Crushed

Garnish: Basil sprig

Method: Combine ingredients in shaker. Add ice. Shake and double strain into glass full of crushed ice. Garnish.

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Rye once again steals the show in our next offering, The Barrel Aged Waldorf. Ryan’s twist from the traditional Waldorf, is to substitute Pernod for a Absinthe, which offer anis notes, and age the drink in a barrel. The beverage matures for 2.5 months in medium charred American Oak, which creates complexity. As this cocktail is free of juices, the focus is on the spirits, but more so on how elegantly the flavors interact. Ryan recommends Carpano as the vermouth of choice for this cocktail, due to the apricot and honey essences. Ryan’s version is aged, but you can create your own with the same recipe, without the aging process. Below are the details on how to get down to business:

Recipe:

  •  1/4 ounce Pernod
  • 2 ounces Bourbon or Rye
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters

Glass: Coupe

Ice: Regular

Garnish: Lemon Twist

Method: Add ingredients to mixing glass full of ice. Stir for 10 seconds. Strain into coupe. Garnish.

Tradewinds Punsch

Tradewinds Punsch

Lastly, the Tradewinds Punsch brings the whimsical side of summer to life. It features Kronan Punsch (yes, the spelling is correct), a Swedish liqueur made of sugar cane and spice, and is well complimented by citrus and ice (sorry for the rhyme). A classic punch would make use of gin and brandy, but Ryan opts for Puncsch and Bols Genever, a form of “malt wine”. Therefore, when passion fruit and lemon are added, the result is a refreshing,  balanced yet tangy tropical awakening. Directions to pure pleasure follow:

Recipe:

  • 1 ½ oz Bols Genever
  • ½ oz Velvet Falernum
  • ½ oz Kronan Punsch
  • ½ oz lemon
  • 2 oz Passion fruit (jiggered with seeds & pulp)

Glass: Coupe

Ice: Regular

Garnish: Lime Twist skewered

Method: Combine ingredients in shaker. Add ice. Shake and double strain. Garnish.

Ryan believes that every cocktail emerges from a classic, but we are always welcome to experiment with modern approaches. Enjoy making these at home, or better yet, enjoy them from genuine hands at Michael’s.