Cocktails & Spirits

SushiSamba's Cocktail Program Tweaked: Lighter, Fresher Flavors

SushiSamba is going through some changes. The sexy Brazilian/Japanese fusion restaurant has opened a new location in Coral Gables, with many items specially made for the City Beautiful.

SushiSamba is revamping its cocktail program with the help of Richard Woods, head of spirit and cocktail development for SushiSamba Restaurants.

What's new on the menu? Lighter cocktails that "enhance rather than mask" the spirits. Woods has a twofold mission: Create new cocktails and rework classic favorites to make them more current, modern, and flavorful.

Read also:

- SushiSamba Opens in Coral Gables: Brazilian, Japanese, and Sexy

Woods is based out of London, where he also runs the bar program for Duck and Waffle. He said that many of SushiSamba's signature cocktails were created more than a decade ago and that tastes have evolved since then.

"A lot of feedback at the recent Coral Gables friends-and-family event was that the cocktails were too sweet, the flavors were too powerful. I said that we have to do something. This is why we do friends-and-family, so we can tweak the recipes. We can make syrups less sweet, citrus less sour, infusions less or more potent -- depending on the comments."

The difference between London and Miami drinkers? Woods found that Miamians like their cocktails fruity and fresh -- with a kick.

"It's nice that a lot of food that we import to London is grown in a lot of people's backyards here. We use a lot of kaffir lime leaves in our cocktails. In London we buy a pound at a time for about $17. Here, the general manager and the owner joked about having a row of trees. I'm marginally jealous of that. There's also lots of muddled fruits, and your measure is different from our measure in London, so that makes for stronger drinks here."

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss

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