Things to Do in Miami: SOBEWFF Spike Your Ice Cream With Salt & Straw February 23, 2020
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Imagine dipping into a bowl of your favorite chocolate chip ice cream and a side of bourbon on the rocks.
Now imagine a couple of bourbon toppings poured directly into the ice cream, with each bite being richer than the last. That will bring Tyler Malek, co-founder of Portland, Oregon-based ice cream parlor Salt & Straw, to this year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
Malek is hosting the festival’s first juicy ice-making event – Spike Your Ice: Ice Cream and Spirits Making Master Class – which reinterprets the most popular flavors of Salt & Straw with bourbon, whiskey and scotch. Malek is accompanied by Miami mixologist Gabe Urrutia, author of Miami Cocktails: An elegant collection of over 100 recipes inspired by the magical city and named in Wine Enthusiast’s “Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers of 2019”.
“Honestly, I’m so excited to be in Miami and see chefs experiment and innovate,” says Malek. “I firmly believe that Miami should be ranked as America’s top food city and I am honored to join these ranks and learn what makes this city unique.”
However, for the founder of Salt & Straw, mixing alcohol in ice is nothing new. Malek believes in the power and taste that go into incorporating various spirits into ice cream.
“Alcohol has a really unique way of capturing, extracting, and infusing flavors, which is great for ice cream,” he says. “A key example of this is vanilla extract. One of the most ubiquitous ingredients for ice cream is really just an intense form of amaro.
“The fat in ice cream has a unique way of carrying flavors and holding them to your palate,” he adds. “When we work with delicate, rare ingredients like a single barrel malt whiskey, the experience is vastly improved when the fat is the means by which this whiskey reaches your taste buds.”
Apart from the fact that you combine ice cream with alcohol and pour it on, the rest of the event will surprise the guests. All Malek will say is that there will be five cocktail ice cream concoctions that will be cooked, learned and tasted in equal parts.
Photo courtesy of SOBEWFF
“I love the booze-and-ice cream trend,” he says. “For me it combines the art of handcrafted ice cream with the science of mixology. The production of juicy ice cream is based on top spirits to encourage creativity and create a dynamic taste experience. “
Malek has built an empire from his unique flavor creations, including ice cream flavors like foie gras and sea urchins. And now that he’s gearing up to open the first two Salt & Straw locations in South Florida – in Coconut Grove and Wynwood – this spring, he’s using SOBEWFF to understand what’s to come for the brand.
“Our goal is to identify and work with the city’s most popular artisans, from bakers and chocolate makers to artists and nonprofits. Then we understand the flavors, ingredients, techniques and heritage that make these individual partners unique. From there, we imagine how we’d put them on the menu and create an ice cream that is as captivating as it is provocative. “
For example, Malek is working with Wynwood Brewing Company’s Laces IPA on a beer-infused ice cream. Over the past year, he’s tested several iterations of the upcoming beer ice cream and went back and forth with the brewers at Wynwood Brewing trying to figure out how to create a flavor that pays tribute to the brew.
“Our creation process was very unique and required a lot of input and support from the brewers at Wynwood Brewing,” he explains. “Beer is actually not concentrated enough to withstand the high fat content of ice cream. Therefore, in the development process, it is necessary to find out how the taste can be deconstructed and reassembled in a sweet, creamy form so that the brewer’s original creation is exactly reflected in each ball. “
“We want to create flavors that really reflect Miami and embrace the community here,” he adds. “To me, our most popular and successful ice creams are often the ones that make us think – when we look at the flavors, ingredients, and visions that develop.”
Spike Your Ice: Ice Cream and Spirits Master Class hosted by Salt & Straw and Gabe Urrutia. Sunday, February 23, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., SGWS Wynwood, 2105 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets are $ 95 via sobewff.org/salt.
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Clarissa Buch is a reporter and food critic who has covered Miami for more than half a decade. Her work focuses on food and culture (and food culture).