This past summer, Sweet Melody, a craft ice-cream concept, popped up across Miami restaurants with whimsical flavors such as Brie and apricot, and pecan and bourbon. Now owner/creator Mike Romeu's ice cream is being packed into more than just cups and cones.
Romeu says he's tired of conventional ice cream and eager to push the boundaries, which means fusing his flavors with just about anything edible. First up: cupcakes and cocktails.
"There's so much you can do with it," he says. "You have to find your niche in this business or else you'll get lost in the shuffle."
For the past few months, Romeu's Sweet Melody and Miami cupcake giant Misha's Cupcakes have been working on a cupcake-and-ice-cream mashup. Though a final product hasn't been decided yet, the two have seen increased success with ice-cream-infused cupcakes.
"It takes a little time for a product to develop, especially because it's different from what her customer base is used to," he says of Misha's. "If our collaboration does well, the goal would be to have it be available in her six locations."
For now, the treat can be found in limited quantities at Misha's flagship in Coral Gables. The two are taste-testing other products as well.
"We're still experimenting," he says. "We want to come up with a product that we're most happy with and will sell the best."
Romeu has partnered with Employees Only, an award-winning New York bar/restaurant opening inside the Washington Park Hotel complex in Miami Beach. With the help of in-house mixologists, Romeu is working on a variety of ice-cream-based cocktails.
"Right now we're playing with my signature vanilla bean ice cream," he says. "It's very versatile and has a floral flavor, which works beautifully with alcohol."
Cocktail and ice-cream flavor profiles are expected to rotate, but Romeu believes a vanilla-based option will always be available. The first cocktail is expected to launch before the end of the month.
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Sweet Melody ice cream will also be available at farm-to-counter eatery Dirt. According to Romeu, one vegan variety will be stocked at all times.
"Nicole [Votano] at Dirt has the same mentality as I have," he says of the chef. "It's all about working with local and supporting local."
A Sweet Melody storefront might happen in the near future too, sooner than he ever imagined, Romeu says. Exact details have not been announced.