In preparing this summertime feature and walking our tree-lined streets around town, SOMI Magazine visited with six diverse establishments: Town Kitchen & Bar which is celebrating its eleventh year in SOMI; Il Vaporetto Italian Restaurant, at the entrance to our shopping and dining district at Sunset Drive and US1; Shula’s 347 Grill on Red Road which has been serving up great steaks and drinks for five years; Sports Grill on Sunset Drive, east of Red Road, known for its kick-back neighborhood bar and great wings; ROK:BRGR which has taken the area by storm for its great burgers and rocking Sunday brunch, and lastly a new restaurant TacoCraft, another JEY Hospitality Group concept, and destined to be another great SOMI spot.
You’ll find that summer that adds a fancier spin to cocktail hour. Get inspired with our featured SOMI summer cocktails. Try your hand at preparing these and serving these tasty cocktails at parties and cookouts all summer long.
More than the creating of a particular specialty drink, it’s obvious that the experience, professionalism and commitment to excellence behind the bar is paramount and much appreciated. Some refer to themselves as bartenders, others mixologists and one is a certified sommelier. You’ll get to meet them all.
Restaurants will be offering these special “SOMI Summertime Cocktails” at their bar. And with the recipes, you can also grab a shaker and some ice and have at it!
Our first stop is TOWN KITCHEN & BAR, a “neighborhood joint” that’s been going strong since it opened in our town center eleven years ago. TOWN has unique appeal with its industrial design, large outdoor lounge area and two private dining rooms. The menu features CIA graduate chef Michael Altman’s “global comfort foods” in various portion sizes meant for sharing, and is known for its busy Sunday Brunch. The full liquor bar features signature martinis, a large craft beer selection, and over 40 wines by the glass. TOWN KITCHEN & BAR has received the Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” rated wine list for the past nine years.
And its behind the bar that we met Rayne Butler who “loves what she does.” Rayne has been in the hospitality bueinss for ten years and it’s her “passion to cheer people up, make friends and pour an incredible cocktail.” Most of her own cocktail creations are derived from her name, and hence we have: “SOMI Summer Rayne” pictured in the article headline.
From there we went on to the other end of town to visit Il Vaporetto Italian Restaurant located at the corner entrance to our shopping and dining district on Sunset Drive and Dorn (SW 59) Avenue. Il Vaporetto (Italian for Venetian water taxi) opened its door at the end of September and its popularity is growing for its exceptional Italian menu of classical favorites, attentive service in a fine-dining setting. The wine and cocktail program is run by Christian Aporta, a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Masters Sommeliers and a mixology background for more than 15 years. His path to Il Vaporetto has included Michelin Star Tribeca restaurant in NYC, Pisco Mixology bars, and working with Italian, French and many other cuisines.
Christian is at home behind the bar fashioned to look like a water taxi. It’s here that he has prepared fifty infusions and twenty flavored syrups. With his sommelier studies, he understands the complexity of creating a special cocktails and blending spirits like vodka, grappa, gin, and Aquardente. Come visit the water taxi on Sunset and have Christian prepare you a cocktail to order.
For our SOMI Summertime Cocktail, Christian has prepared a Richland Rum infused with orange bell peppers, egg white, lime juice, and simple syrup. This is an American Rum from Georgia, and especially chosen for its light flavor, perfect for summer.
The search for our summertime libation brought us to the other side of Red Road and a visit to Shula’s 347 Grill and Sports Grill.
Shula’s 347 Grill is named in honor of Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula, the winningest Coach in NFL history, with 347 victories! Shula’s 347 Grill follows a long line of successful restaurants, all founded on the same famous tradition of Shula’s Steak Houses. Shula’s 347 Grill has everything from gourmet salads to fresh specialty fish, and exclusively serves Premium Black Angus Beef® burgers and the best beef money can buy, The SHULA CUT® steaks. SOMI’s Shula’s 357 Grill is owned by the Grove Bay Hospitality Group, which is making its presence known here in Greater Miami.
Sarina greeted us from behind the huge center bar where she is “proud to be an original team member of the Shula’s 347 Gables family.” A native to South Florida by proxy, Sarina is an avid wine lover and enjoys over 20 years’ experience in the restaurant business. She is most passionate about the hospitality industry and genuinely loves her work.
At SPORTS GRILL we met up with Alex Fitzgerald and Jose Uipan who have been in the hospitality business for the majority of their adult lives, each of them learning the ins and outs of the bar business from the likes of TGIFridays, fine dining establishments and other local spots. With their experience they are very well ranged in maximizing the guest experience at Sports Grill.
For almost thirty years, Sports Grill is a known staple in Miami. The South Miami community welcomed them nearly five years ago. Sports Grill focuses on the guest experience and serves what are known to be the best wings in Miami! Rotating craft beer taps and an expansive variety of spirits further their goal to ensure everyone leaves happier than they came.
Fitz and Jose paired up to create the ultimate “SOMI Afternoon Delight” which is served up by Monique, who has worked in SOMI for many years, formerly at Dan Marino’s. And as Fitz and Jose say: “Won’t you join us for a drink!”
Our last two stops in town were to ROK:BRGR and TacoCraft, both created by JEY Hospitality Group out of Fort Lauderdale.
ROK:BRGR serves 18 signatures burgers made with a blend of locally sourced certified Angus beef. The menu also features a variety of American comfort food dishes and delicacies made with the best quality ingredients. The restaurant’s full service bar offers a variety of craft beers, hand-crafted cocktails and premium wines.
And the newest entry in SOMI is TacoCraft, a boutique taqueria and tequila bar serving modern interpretations of Mexican street food classics prepared with the best local sustainable ingredients. The menu features tacos made with hand-crafted tortillas, classic Mexican appetizers and entrees and serves more than 150 types of tequila and mescal as well as a selection of craft beers
Nicholas Carmona, ROK:BRGR’s GM created both the summertime cocktails featured in this article. He is very passionate about his cocktail creations and taking on new responsibilities in building a new brand here in SOMI, as he will also be overseeing the operations at the next-door neighbor TacoCraft. He was been in the restaurant hospitality business for the past twelve years and started bartending while studying in Madrid. He served as Beverage Director at Grove Gardens and also worked at Cindy Hutson’s Ortanique in Coral Gables.
So over the summer months visit our SOMI restaurants, meet up with the folks behind the bar and enjoy these summertime cocktails.
………………………………………………………………………………………………Compiled and edited by John Edward Smith
SOMI SUMMERTIME COCKTAILS BARTENDERS
LET’S HEAR FROM YOU
Do you have another summertime favorite(s) at area bars and restaurants?
Or perhaps you have you own summertime creation…
Let us know.
Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Cocktail