As every Southerner knows, adding a shot (or three or four) of bourbon makes for a mighty fine barbecue sauce. But adding a shot of barbecue to your bourbon? That's a new one on me, y'all.
So, when the invitation came to check out the Edge Bar & Steak's new bar menu that included sampling their new bourbon-based BBQ Collins, how could I refuse?
I should make it clear I was going out of sheer curiosity and the lure of a freebie, as I actually feared I would hate this drink. I kept imagining myself taking a sip, then mad-dashing to the ladies room where I would violently spit it in the sink with an obnoxiously loud, "ka-ka!"
Pairing barbecue with, oh, a tomatoey Bloody Mary, for example, seems logical. But barbecue marrying into the kinda-sweet, kinda-sour Collins family? I just couldn't get my arms, or taste buds, around that notion.
So, when the tall, sunny yellow drink with its rust-colored powdery rim was plunked in front of me sans straw, I braced myself. And mentally counted the steps to the ladies room.
Then I took a deep breath. And sipped.
A savory pop of heat immediately zapped my mouth. And before you can say "yum!", the chilly, almost-fruity Collins was sliding down my throat.
I sat the glass down and waited for my brain to scream, "Ladies room, NOW!" Instead it gleefully exclaimed, "Drink more!" And I dutifully obliged.
In fact, after about five minutes of sip-pause-sip pausing, I realized I'd finished off half the glass and had better lay off off, lest someone confuse me for a journo in need of a 12-step.
The final consensus? I liked the BBQ Collins. A lot.
One reason it works is because, except for a subtle hint of barbecue bitters, the barbecue is confined to the glass rim in the form of a dry rub -- the House's own, no less. You won't find any ketchupy red stuff swirling in your drink, as I had initially feared. Whew!
With that said, the BBQ Collins is so busy, flavor-wise, that one is enough. OK, two, if you insist. Whatever, it's definitely not the kind of drink you'd slam down one after the other after getting a pink slip or Dear Jane text.
If, on the other hand, you want your drinks a deux, be sure to check out the Edge's new happy hour featuring two-for-one well drinks. (Every day, even weekends.) New munchies include steak kabobs and oysters on the half, priced at a buck each.
Because the word "cheap" and the Four Seasons -- the jaw-droppingly magnificent hotel that's home to the Edge -- go together about as well as the aforementioned ketchup and bourbon, let's just call this happy hour "affordable." Extremely affordable. And believe it or not, unpretentious.
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While the bar crowd wasn't exactly dancing on the tables and woo-hooing at the top of their lungs, they did appear to be having a fun, albeit civilized, time, nonetheless. The vibe is chill, chatty and, at the same time, sophisticated. I mean, it is the Four Seasons, ya know.
My advice? A happy hour worth checking out. But if you go, avoid driving. Not just because drinking and driving is a serious legal no-no-- you already know that, right? But because parking at the Four Seasons garage is $3 per half hour. That's right. Ten cents a minute.
So, yeah, I found coughing up $9 for a smidge over an hour, to be a teensy bit (over)pricey, even for Miami. But in light of the good time I had at The Edge's happy hour, totally worth it, just the same.