As every Southerner knows, adding a shot (or three or four) of bourbon makes for a mighty fine barbecue sauce. But adding a shot of barbecue to your bourbon? That's a new one on me, y'all.
So, when the invitation came to check out the Edge Bar & Steak's new bar menu that included sampling their new bourbon-based BBQ Collins, how could I refuse?
I should make it clear I was going out of sheer curiosity and the lure of a freebie, as I actually feared I would hate this drink. I kept imagining myself taking a sip, then mad-dashing to the ladies room where I would violently spit it in the sink with an obnoxiously loud, "ka-ka!"
Pairing barbecue with, oh, a tomatoey Bloody Mary, for example, seems logical. But barbecue marrying into the kinda-sweet, kinda-sour Collins family? I just couldn't get my arms, or taste buds, around that notion.
So, when the tall, sunny yellow drink with its rust-colored powdery rim was plunked in front of me sans straw, I braced myself. And mentally counted the steps to the ladies room.
Then I took a deep breath. And sipped.
A savory pop of heat immediately zapped my mouth. And before you can say "yum!", the chilly, almost-fruity Collins was sliding down my throat.
I sat the glass down and waited for my brain to scream, "Ladies room, NOW!" Instead it gleefully exclaimed, "Drink more!" And I dutifully obliged.
In fact, after about five minutes of sip-pause-sip pausing, I realized I'd finished off half the glass and had better lay off off, lest someone confuse me for a journo in need of a 12-step.
The final consensus? I liked the BBQ Collins. A lot.
One reason it works is because, except for a subtle hint of barbecue bitters, the barbecue is confined to the glass rim in the form of a dry rub -- the House's own, no less. You won't find any ketchupy red stuff swirling in your drink, as I had initially feared. Whew!
With that said, the BBQ Collins is so busy, flavor-wise, that one is enough. OK, two, if you insist. Whatever, it's definitely not the kind of drink you'd slam down one after the other after getting a pink slip or Dear Jane text.
If, on the other hand, you want your drinks a deux, be sure to check out the Edge's new happy hour featuring two-for-one well drinks. (Every day, even weekends.) New munchies include steak kabobs and oysters on the half, priced at a buck each.
Because the word "cheap" and the Four Seasons -- the jaw-droppingly magnificent hotel that's home to the Edge -- go together about as well as the aforementioned ketchup and bourbon, let's just call this happy hour "affordable." Extremely affordable. And believe it or not, unpretentious.
While the bar crowd wasn't exactly dancing on the tables and woo-hooing at the top of their lungs, they did appear to be having a fun, albeit civilized, time, nonetheless. The vibe is chill, chatty and, at the same time, sophisticated. I mean, it is the Four Seasons, ya know.
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My advice? A happy hour worth checking out. But if you go, avoid driving. Not just because drinking and driving is a serious legal no-no-- you already know that, right? But because parking at the Four Seasons garage is $3 per half hour. That's right. Ten cents a minute.
So, yeah, I found coughing up $9 for a smidge over an hour, to be a teensy bit (over)pricey, even for Miami. But in light of the good time I had at The Edge's happy hour, totally worth it, just the same.