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Classic Cocktails With a Twist

Recent cocktail trend reports indicate that cocktail mixologists are returning to the classics. Most agree that some aspects of classic cocktails are changing, though.

The Modern Martini
Miami’s own master mixologist and Bombay Sapphire brand ambassador, Milo Rodriguez, was recently back in town teaching fans of the Sony Ericsson Tennis Classic how to create another classic: The Ultimate Martini. It’s made with Bombay Sapphire gin and Noilly Prat vermouth, with green olives and a lemon twist for garnish. Modern versions are often made with vodka instead of gin, floral liqueurs and fruit juices, such as the Lychee Martini with dragon fruit vodka, elder flower liqueur and lychee juice at 8 Oz. Burger Bar.

Jonathan Pogash, cocktail developer and mixologist says, ”Some classic cocktail recipes can no longer satisfy modern-day palates—some contain ingredients that are no longer available; others are just too strong or bitter—so ingredients need to be subbed out and a bit of experimentation must take place. With fresh fruit and herbs in abundance nowadays, classic cocktails are being modified to include them.”

Mojitos Restaurant
mixes up a classic version of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite with mint, lime juice, club soda and rum. Tommy’s Mojito at Blue Martini is made with Tommy Bahama White Sand Rum rather than the usual golden rum. For ecology-conscious tipplers, the Treetini Mojito at Lucky Strike is made with Veev Açai spirit subbing for the rum. For every Treetini Mojito purchased at Lucky Strike, a tree is planted on the drinker’s behalf and Veev makes a donation to rain-forest preservation. Meat Market has the Cucumber Southside, a grown-up, not-too-sweet mojito, made with Hendrik’s gin, muddled mint, cucumber and lime juice. At The Living Room at the W Hotel, the Blueberry Kumquat Mojito is made with Flor de Caña Grand Reserve Rum, simple syrup, fresh lime, fresh blueberries, mint, kumquats, club soda and blueberry juice.

Recently mixologists across the country, including Richie Petronzi of The Living Room at the W South Beach Hotel, have been using edible florals in cocktails. His fun, modern twist on an old-time favorite, the classic Collins, is the Lavender Raspberry Collins, made with Bombay Sapphire gin, fresh lemon juice, fresh raspberries and club soda, plus lavender syrup, which boosts the flavor of the botanicals in the gin.

The classic Cosmopolitan, made with lemon vodka, triple sec, fresh lime juice and cranberry, was made famous by the TV show and movie, “Sex and the City,” when Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw, ordered the drink when out with her girlfriends. The Martini Cosmopol-Italian, created by Giuseppe Gallo, mixologist and Martini global brand ambassador, subs in the new Martini Rosado, a blend of red and white wines, aromatic herbs, flowers, fruits, exotic woods and spices, for the triple sec. Gallo makes it with Grey Goose L’Orange, Martini Rosato, lime juice, cranberry juice, and garnishes it with a flamed orange zest. Sip it at Ana Capri and Christy’s.

Master mixologist Jacques Bezuindenhout at
Area 31 created the Epic Sunset, subbing in Belvedere Orange Vodka in place of lemon vodka. He adds Grand Marnier, Campari and passion fruit juice instead of cranberry juice. He says, “The Campari adds a crisp bitter orange twist but does not dominate the cocktail. The drink finishes with the orange blossom from the Belvedere on a high note.”

The Aviation, an elegant, classic cocktail, popular in the days of early aviation pioneers, started popping up again recently at trendy bars. Grey Goose Master Mixologist Nick Mautone created a variation, the L’Orange Polo Mallet, especially for the annual polo matches on the sands of South Beach. The classic is made with gin, maraschino liqueur and lemon juice; some recipes also include crème de violette. Nick’s version, available at the Bleu Bar at the Fontainebleau Hotel, subs in Grey Goose L’Orange in place of the gin, and leaves out the crème de violette.

Jamie Evans, mixologist for Oxley Gin (recently launching in the Miami market) says, “Our modern twist on the Aviation is the
R.A.F. (Royal Air Force), available at Por Fin, which uses Oxley Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, lime juice and lavender syrup, with a lavender stalk for garnish. The lavender enhances the floral body of Oxley, the only gin which uses Meadowsweet as an ingredient.”

The Lavender Raspberry Collins at The Living Room at the W South Beach
2. The Lychee Martini at 8 oz. Burger Bar
3. The Modern Margarita at Oceanaire and the River Lounge
4. The Polo Mallet at the Fontainebleau
5. The Martini Cosmopol-Italian at Ana Capri and Christy’s
6. The Epic Sunset at Area 31
7. The R.A.F. at Por Fin
8. The Treetini Mojito at Lucky Strike
9. The BlueBerry Kumquat Mojito at The Living Room at the W
10. The Kiwi Caipirinha at Tempo at the Marquis
11. The Breakfast Caipirinha at Sushi- Samba
12. The Sidecar at Prime Italia