While the festival may have "wine" in its moniker, cocktails have a prominent place in the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SoBeWFF), particularly this year. In fact, Miami's mixology scene has become so significant that Garden to Glass was born.
The event, hosted at the lush Miami Beach Botanical Garden, was hosted by Emeril and featured local all-stars Bar Lab and My Ceviche. Attendees sipped copious quantities of creative concoctions, from ancho-chili infusions to herbed up gimlets.
Emeril took his bartender duties seriously. Guests were greeted by the BAM! man, pushing cocktails and posing for pictures. His signature drink: Emeril's Tohouptail, was a fruity mix of Sammy's Beach Bar rum, Liquore Strega, thyme & citrus juice, fresh lemon juice, elderflower syrup, orange flower water and pasteurized egg white.
Don't mix your liquors was an adage soon forgotten, what with the myriad of concoctions being stirred, shaken and poured throughout the garden.
There was Zuma's fig and vanilla caipirissima: Botran Reserve, vanilla syrup, fig puree and lime -- and their potent watermelon and fennel martini: 50 Pounds London Dry gin, fresh watermelon and fennel.
There was American Harvest's tangy gimlet: organic vodka, lime juice and a pinch of various fresh herbs, shaken, then topped with a sprig of fresh basil.
And Botran's Garden Party: Botran, lemon juice, cassia syrup, fresh ginger and Goya apricot.
And most important of all, Miami's Bar Lab boys, Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta. Using home-grown herbs, the team was cooking up a whole menu of creative blends. Our favorite? The Ron De Punch: fresh rosemary and sage, pressed pineapple juice and bitters mixed with Ron Viejo de Caldas, eight years old. We dug their Oaxacan Palate, too: blood orange, smoked ancho chili and Coriander bitters mixed with Zignum.
My Ceviche was also serving up light bites: roasted corn, octopus ceviche and the like.
By night's end, drunken attendees were dancing to Gangnam Style. Yes, really. Funny what a little fresh-grown goodness'll do to ya.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.
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