Albert Trummer's Drawing Room Bar & Lounge is scheduled to open at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach in October. The lounge, along with Morimoto South Beach, is destined to put the resort on Miami's culinary map.
Trummer, an Austrian-born mixologist, has worked with some of the best chefs, including David Bouley and Geoffrey Zakarian, and opened New York hot spots Apotheke and Theater Bar. The "apotheker" also opened Drogerie, a mad scientist's lab of libations at the Albion Hotel in SoBe last year. Drogerie has closed, with an announcement on its Facebook page that "Trummer's Drogerie Pharmacy Bar MIAMI is moving to a new Beach location this summer!!!"
Drawing Room's concept of "ancient remedy meets modern mixology" sounds similar to his Drogerie concept of elixirs shaken by bartenders in lab coats, but the new space will be grander.
The bar, which turns the hotel's daytime library into a lounge, features Tennessee granite columns, leather couches, and brass cocktail carts wheeling the bar's special "selection of house medicines" to patrons. The gist is to order a "cocktail prescription" made with Japanese ingredients, fresh fruits, botanicals, and secret potions under categories like Stress Relievers, Pain Killers, and Aphrodisiacs -- all things Miami residents need on a regular basis.
We asked Trummer to explain his expansive, artistic, and psychotropic vision of a cocktail bar.
New Times: Does this replace Drogerie, your bar that is supposed to move to another location in Miami -- or is this a different concept?
Albert Trummer: The first year was strictly considered a pop-up to showcase my cocktail "art" as an exposition. Drogerie was something that the Rubell family allowed me to do while I was searching for a long-term location. When I left New York, I always wanted to continue the refinement of my skills with Apotheke, and this is the next result of that endeavor.
Is Drawing Room the new incarnation?
I could not pass on such an opportunity to work alongside such creative food and beverage teams both at Morimoto and the Shelborne. A chance to transform their space every evening into my own large Apotheke and once again create some fantastic medicinal cocktails was truly an exciting offer.
Explain apothecary and designer cocktails to us. What should we expect from the Drawing Room?
It is just that, a designer cocktail. No cocktail will be identical as they are all designed on the spot based on the herbs and oils we have on hand that day -- as apothecary, the "chemist" in nature plays into our daily creations. All the knowledge and background I have gained from my global travels and studies, along with the great new team I am assembling, will help me deliver the next-level cocktail to an already-refined clientele.
You worked with David Bouley and Geoffery Zakarian. How did their culinary skills influence your cocktails?
The techniques and international variety that David and Geoffrey utilize every day in their kitchens truly helped me to enhance my palate for experimenting with herbs and spices that you might not expect to be tasting, let alone drinking.
When working with herbs that have medicinal qualities, does alcohol inhibit or enhance the original herb's effects?
Alcohol is the vehicle and helps to enhance the herbs' and botanicals' flavor and essence. The blending and apothecary of the techniques brings a positive reaction for the customers' nutritional and immune systems.
When creating your cocktails, do you work with a spirit or an herb first or look for an effect (aphrodisiac, healing)? What is your method of creating a cocktail?
Since winning the Gourmand International Award for Best Health and Drinks for my cocktail book, I have stayed steady in combining an approach that utilizes both methods. Working with herbal specialists from around the world has allowed me to be able to create effects that can be naturally stimulating and invigorating as well as relaxing and medicinal. There is no one approach, and that is what I find inspirational about my craft.
Your cocktails will be made on carts. Can you describe the experience a little more?
I have always believed that it is the personal touch that truly keeps the customer coming back. I think a lot of that has been lost over the years, so in addition to the standard bar, I am taking my concept back to the more personal one-on-one feel of the 1950s tableside service -- something, truly, that has been missing in this industry for a while.
What will we be drinking at the Drawing Room?
We are adding to my classic menu, and working in Miami gives us a great access to markets with fresh and all-natural South American herbs and botanicals. For example, we already have a new approach on the mojito. It will be enhanced with some of our special secret house elixirs that will give the rum a more refined and aromatic approach, as well as cleansing and health benefits.
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