Whew! After a long, grueling winter filled with blizzards, sleet, and subzero conditions, we are so glad to welcome spring officially today.
OK, so there were no snowstorms in Miami. But there were at least four days when we had to turn the space heater on -- and that's enough for us to know we are not sorry to see winter go.
Besides, we just needed an excuse to have a cocktail.
We're seeing a trend of fresh cucumbers, berries, and herbs muddled into our spring cocktails, making these libations refreshing and multilayered.
Toast to a new season tonight with these delicious spring cocktails either at the bars and restaurants that create them or at home with the included recipes.
Toro Toro's Carnaval Cocktail ($12)
The caipirinha goes to Carnaval with the added fruitiness of strawberry and passionfruit. This cocktail is pink, sexy, and potent.
3 whole strawberries
3/4 oz.passionfruit purée
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. of Leblón cachaça
Shake and strain into rocks glass with ice.
SushiSamba's Chu-Cumber Martini ($12)
We're seeing a cucumber trend, but it's the shochu, a Japanese distilled beverage (call it sake on steroids), that sets this martini apart from the rest.
2 cucumber slices
1 level bar spoon of sugar
1 oz. shochu
1/2 oz. St. Germain
1/2 oz. Hendrick's Gin
2 oz. lime juice
Gently muddle cucumber and sugar. Mix shochu, St. Germain, Hendrick's, and lime juice. Shake with ice, pour, and garnish.
Cecconi's Barrel-Aged Negroni ($14)
Cecconi barrel-ages its classic negroni, which imparts hints of wood into the Italian favorite. You can make a younger version at home if you're impatient.
1 oz. Oxley gin
1 oz. Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth
1 oz. Campari
Build in a rocks glass, add ice, and stir alcohol together slowly.
Garnish with orange slice.
Kiucumber Cocktail ($14)
The kiwi, cucumber, and basil complement each other well in this spring-green martini.
3 pieces kiwi
2 pieces cucumber
1 piece basil
2 oz. Ketel One vodka
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. St. Germain
splash simple syrup
cucumber ribbon for garnish
In a shaker tin, muddle kiwi, cucumber, and basil. Add all liquid ingredients. Add ice and shake for eight to 10 seconds. Strain into martini glass and garnish with a cucumber ribbon.
Villa Azur's Pavan Spring Breeze ($12)
Can't hop a jet to the South of France to celebrate spring? This is as close as you can get in Miami Beach. Made with Pavan, a French liqueur made with muscat grapes and orange blossom, this drink is light and deceptively drinkable.
2 oz. Pavan
1 oz. vodka
3 lemon wedges
6-8 sprigs cilantro
Muddle lemon, cilantro, and cucumber
in a mixing glass and top with ice. Add liquid ingredients and shake very well. Pour through a mesh strainer into an iced highball or chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cilantro and cucumber.
Devon Seafood & Steak's Cucumber Dill Martini ($10)
We love the dill in this cocktail. It pairs perfectly with a good steak.
2 oz. Hendrick's gin
2 oz. fresh cucumber juice
1/4 oz. simple syrup
1 dill sprig
Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Strain into martini glass with sugared rim, and garnish with dill.
Living Room's Crimson Cooler by Scott Beattie ($14)
Scott Beattie's cocktails are not only delectable but also beautiful. Before taking a sip, pause a moment to enjoy the way the berries, mint, and edible flowers look in the glass. It's almost a shame to drink this work of art -- almost.
¾ oz. Hangar One Buddha's Hand vodka
¾ oz. vodka
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. ginger shiso galangal syrup (see below for recipe)
1 oz. Bundaberg ginger beer
Combine the vodkas, juice, and syrup in a mixing glass and stir. Add the the blueberries and enough ice to fill the mixing glass. Cover and shake a few times. Add the ginger beer and pour into a tall Collins glass. Garnish with mint and serve.
Ginger Shiso Galangal Syrup (makes one cup, enough for 16 cocktails)
1 cup simply syrup, chilled
2 drops essential oil of ginger
2 drops essential oil of galangal
1 drop essential oil of perilla (shiso)
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Combine the simple syrup and essential oils in an airtight container. Cover and shake well to mix the oils into the syrup. The syrup will keep for about two weeks refrigerated in the airtight container.