Miami’s cocktail scene gets an infusion of New York glamor
When New Yorkers flocked to Florida last year– –many with one-way tickets– –A number of branded restaurants also made the trip south.
At the end of 2020, Marcus Samuelsson opened another branch of his successful restaurant in Harlem red rooster in the neighborhood of Overtown. Then came the new Major Food Group outposts carbon, Altamarea Group Osteria Moriniand the announcement that Keith McNally and Stephen Starr are bringing the Meatpacking District icon Pastis to the city.
New York’s influence on Miami’s drinking scene was inevitable, says Sondre Kasin, head bartender for Cote Korean Steakhouse, one of the newer transplants that to open In Miami’s design district earlier this year. “Where Miami used to focus on tropical flavors and juice-driven cocktails,” he says, there is a noticeable shift towards menus with upscale classics prepared with high-quality ingredients.
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Like the Flatiron Original, opened by Simon Kim in June 2017, Cote Miami was a hit from day one, thanks in no small part to its powerful beverage program, which includes a 1,200-bottle wine list.
Kasin is from Norway and worked in Oslo before moving to New York in 2018-Which This also includes the restaurant’s underground cocktail cave Undercote-he spent months researching the city’s bar culture to create a model that blends a New York spirit with a sensitivity to Miami.
Bring glamor to the New York Steakhouse
Kasin’s menu brings together classics like Cote Fashioned, the steakhouse that picks up an old-fashioned (Four Roses Bourbon, Oleo Saccharum, Angostura Bitter) with original creations designed to connect with the local community.
The right martini (whether with Absolut Elyx Vodka, Plymouth Gin or both) is sought after by Miami guests as a symbol of the old-fashioned New York steakhouse style. “We are very proud to present this as a good start to the night,” emphasizes Kasin.
The unlikely bestseller
When casino created The Heat with Arette tequila, Chinola passion fruit liqueur (the brand’s founders are based in Miami), lime juice, coffee, and aromatic agave syrup, he wasn’t sure how guests would react. “It’s a mix of so many layers and flavors. At first I thought it might even be too much, ”he says. “But it became a bestseller.”
Switch to lighter flavors
In New York, Cote diners tend to order cocktails with deep, concentrated flavors, like Casino, like Casino observes. “The first thing we noticed in Miami is that tequila is the best-selling spirit,” he says. “The people here love the fresh profile,” so there were more agave-based drinks on the menu.
Other newcomers from Miami are the Nordic Piña Colada (Bacardi 8 Rum, Aquavit Line, pineapple coconut water, lime, Angostura bitter) and the Cote Green Bull (Belvedere vodka, fallen pony, Midori, Korean ginseng, taurine, guarana, champagne) . .
New York’s enduring brand
Kasin is back at his home base in New York full time but still travels to Miami to support the talented staff at the Cote Bar. “Working with a seasoned team like we did in Miami was about getting everyone on the same page,” says Kasin, noting how staff training was focused on service and attention to detail. While New York has lost bartending talent to other regions, cities like Miami will continue to benefit, he believes: “I think it’s positive that there has been a movement in people … New York has been the hub of hospitality and bartending for so long and it’s great to see the New York influence on the bar and restaurant scene elsewhere. “
Esteban. Photo by Gary He.
Alia Akkam is a writer who deals with food, drink, travel, and design. She is the author of Behind the Bar: 50 Cocktails from the World’s Most Famous Hotels (Hardie Grant) and her work has been published on Architecturaldigest.com, Dwell.com, Penta, Vogue.com, BBC, Playboy and Taste is a former editor at Edible Queens, Hospitality Design and Beverage Media. Alia is from New York and now lives in Budapest. Follow Alia @behdria.