It’s hard to say no to celebrity chef Michael Mina’s signature duck fat fries. They’re truly everything you’ve ever wanted in a snack and many of Miami’s most sophisticated diners flock to his restaurant to satisfy their cravings for the trio of flavors.
Now, there’s a more compelling reason to make your way to Bourbon Steak. The brains behind the Mina Group’s bar program are unveiling a new cocktail menu in Miami, which is a short list of rousing recipes incorporating fresh ingredients and new techniques from the ever-evolving world of cocktails.
Renowned mixologist Carlo Splendorini flew in from Michelin-starred Michael Mina in San Francisco to bring cutting-edge concepts from one of the country’s most competitive cocktail scenes. Working closely with Peter Roca, Bourbon Steak’s head bartender in Miami, the duo devised a list of eight new drinks including an outrageously unique pick-me-up called the “Japanese Whisky Ceremony.”
Behind the scenes, fresh peach slices are marinated in homemade simple syrup with a couple of mint sprigs. The show moves tableside upon request when a bottle of 12-year-old Yamazaki whisky is presented along with the peaches, a Bordeaux glass, two-inch ice cubes and a butane torch. Guests are cautioned to keep their hands off the latter.
The server chars the peaches (a popular fruit among tops chefs across the country right now) for about 40 seconds and then places the glass over them to coat the interior with the aroma of the fruit. This lasts about a minute or until the server instinctually knows it’s time to turn over the glass, drop in the ice cubes, pour the whisky, and serve to the thirsty guest.
The idea is for the gentle fragrances of peach and mint to waft over the nose as the whisky is sipped. At $24, this may seem like a pricey choice; however, the thoughtful ceremony makes it a must-try at the start of your meal.
Due to its acidity and tartness, the elegant “Gipsy” pairs nicely with the Ahi Tuna Tartare appetizer, which is also served tableside with ancho chile, bosc pear and sesame oil. The bosc pear is an extremely interesting variation of a classic pear. It has a crunchy yet tender texture as well as a sweet and spicy taste.
Another highlight on the new menu is the “El Burro Ardiente.” Don’t be mistaken, it’s not the funny name that makes it stand out. This cocktail is serious. With mezcal, ruby port, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, ginger beer and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters, the contrasting flavors work together to deliver a balanced complement to any aged cut of beef.
The new menu wouldn’t be complete without a bourbon cocktail to fit the namesake. The “Bourbon Mule” is a refreshing take on the classic “Moscow Mule,” a recipe that single-handedly made vodka popular in the early 1940s. Bourbon Steak’s version incorporates bourbon, a peach liqueur (there it is again), homemade honey-basil syrup, fresh lemon juice and ginger beer in a Collins glass, which eliminates any risk of looking kitsch with a traditional copper mug in tow.
Grab a seat at the chic bar any night of the week from 5 to 8 p.m. for the restaurant’s “Raise Your Spirits” happy hour, featuring several of the new cocktails at a discounted price ($9) for the month of October. Each drink comes with complimentary truffle popcorn, but we know you’ll be too busy with your fries.
– Galena Mosovich is the lead writer for cocktail culture for Miami.com