We've come to expect high quality ingredients and technique in fine dining kitchens around town, so why shouldn't the same principle be applied behind the bar? It is now thanks to a new focus on natural spirits, supporting mixers and special touches, as well as precision in drink-making. We checked out Fratelli Lyon Driade and EOS, two establishments who are taking this mission to heart.
Fratelli Lyon Driade's Retro Ice and New Aperitivo Service
Back in the 1800s, barmen would take an icepick to blocks of ice, hacking off large chunks to slow melting and thus thwart cocktail dilution. The more perfect the chisel, the better the bartender. Lyon got its liquor license two weeks ago today, and even rapper Ice Cube would be
jealous. Behind the brother's bar, Chris and Cricket pile certain drinks high with machine-made frozen beauties, each exactly 1.5 square inches. Almost too perfect for real life. But don't arrive expecting the sequel to Cocktail. The entertainment at Lyon is its adherence to measurement of each shaken, stirred and layered concoction. This is a free-pouring and flare-free zone.
Lyon polishes its potions with hand-made single-batch scotches, single-estate vintage tequila and locally made gins. A favorite is one Cricket just dreamed up yesterday, soon to be a specialty drink on the menu: Le Montecarla ($TBD,) featuring Nicolas Lavender Gin from Tampa (via distributor Artisan Brands,) thyme simple syrup, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur and fresh blueberries. Its prominent feature is a sensuous bouquet of herbs from the lavender spirit and infused simple syrup, matched brilliantly with a subtle sweet tang from blueberry.
Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 5 - 8pm. Specialty pricing is available for house cocktails, wine and beer. Pricing for cocktails is as follows: $5 from 5-6pm, $6 from 6-7pm and $7 from 7-8pm. Fratelli Lyon Driade, 4141 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami (Design District); (305) 572-2901
Bitter is Better at EOS with Grapefruit Superstar
On a recent visit for dinner, a cocktail made an impressive cameo: the Grapefruit Superstar ($14,) named after its carambola (star fruit) garnish. The
modifying cordial in this drink is again the smittening St. Germain Elderflower
Liqueur, produced in France in batches and numbered with a vintage year, like a fine wine. Herradura Silver, a less
aged tequila, plays an important role in releasing the flavors of this cocktail. It's a nice departure from the usual candy-in-a-martini glass to which we have unfortunately become accustomed in Miami. Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 oz. Herradura Silver Tequila
3/4 oz. of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz. of Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
2 oz. Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
Build Ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice,
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shake vigorously, strain in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a star
fruit slice on the rim.
The creator of this drink iss Ryan Magarian and tweaked to perfection by Freddy Diaz, Head Bartender at Club 50 Viceroy.
EOS, where you can find the Grapefruit Superstar, does not have a Happy Hour; however Club 50, The Viceroy's 50th floor lounge, does on Thursdays from 6-8pm, with $10 specials for the sponsored drink plus a free welcome drink. They also have an extensive menu of hand-crafted cocktails that cause a stir, like the Dark & Stormy, Floradora and Mango Bellini (regularly priced at $12.) EOS at The Viceroy, 485 Brickell Ave., 15th Floor, Miami (Brickell); 305-503-4400.