The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2012

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Late-Night Cocktails at M-Bar at Mandarin Oriental, Miami Is there such a thing as it being too late for a Martini? Apparently not, especially when your customers are the jet-setting, hard-to-impress type. Miami���s Mandarin Oriental M-Bar has a family of new late night, hand-muddled cocktails meant to mesh with the after-hours dim sum and sushi menu. And mesh they do. Chilled with Japanese moldings of fruit juice ice, one of most popular is the Lychee��Pear Tea with Grey Goose La Poire. The E-Money is made with Ketel One, Chambord, strawberry One of the signature cocktails in Priscilla Young���s gin-focused bar program. ���I set out to create a gin experience,��� she says. Project G + T As a destination for global travelers, Mandarin Oriental has always set a high bar for service. In addition to hotel guests, the restaurant also caters to the local Financial District crowd for lunch and a regular clientele of downtown residents for happy hour, where ���Project G + T��� is well underway. Bar Manager/ Mixologist Priscilla Young created the program, which is based on a light of Gin and Tonics crafted from artisanal gins designed to help uninitiated gin drinkers zero in on one that���s to their liking. Young���s gin-based seasonal cocktails include local products such as Distillery No. 209���s Passover Gin, small-batch gins like Rusty Blade and Comb 9 and the classic lavor proile of Bombay Sapphire. ���I set out to create a gin experience, one that very often starts with a classic gin like Beefeater 24, which acts like a bridge to gins with different lavor proiles,��� says Young, whose Gin and Tonic cocktails are priced at $10; her artisanal cocktails run from $13 to $16. With an entire program based on gin, Young declares, ���If you���ve got a new gin in your portfolio, I want to taste it.��� Kosta has continually created excitement around wine for her clientele and made wine an integral part of the property���s beverage program. Well-known for her annual series of high-proile winemaker Signature Martinis add sparkle to latenight nibbles at M-Bar. Guillermo Gordillo, Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at Mandarin Oriental, Miami is inset. liqueur, lime and cranberry juice, fresh sour mix and sparkling wine, while the Tropical Island contains Mount Gay, Elderlower liqueur, pineapple, basil and soda. There are just ten signature Martinis in all, and such restraint comes with a big payoff. The cocktails are all unique in Miami, which is saying a lot in a town where last week might as well be last century. Far from terminally hip South Beach (the hotel is on swanky Brickell Key, with arguably the best views in all of South Florida), M-Bar caters more to the classy than the trendy. Mandarin Oriental food and beverage staffers say guests often initially come to the property for the atmosphere but keep coming back for the cocktails, especially celebrities, who love to be irst on scene. Just ask the Mandarin Oriental Spa, rated the only ive-star spa in the entire state. ���We put this new cocktail menu together with the late-night menu and in-room dining in mind, says Guillermo ��� Gordillo, Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, ���and it suits our customers, which range from tourists to businesspeople to heads of state. ���Kelly Merritt ��� december 2012 / the tasting panel / 81 PHOTOS: KELLY MERRITT A List for the Digital Age dinners, Kosta invites producers from around the world to present their wines paired with luxe dinners prepared by Chef Mali. Like many luxury hotels, Mandarin Oriental has its own private-label wine, and Kosta is now pouring the third vintage of Prelation, a Pinot Noir that she and a handful of sommeliers from other Mandarin Oriental properties spent three days creating at Hirsch Vineyards on the Sonoma Coast. Prelation 2010 is a blend of four clones from four separate lots that she and her peers crafted into a signature wine. ���Prelation means to rank something higher or to set it above something else, and that���s what we���re doing with our beverage programs and service every day; we���re setting the bar high and reaching for it,��� says Kosta. With the renovation of the hotel and restaurant, Kosta took the opportunity to upgrade her program by migrating the Brasserie S & P wine list to the iPad. ���People are already comfortable with this platform, so it���s easier for them to navigate and provides more detail than a traditional list.��� The sleek iPads aside, the thoughtful attention Kosta paid to Chef Mali���s cuisine in creating the wine list is just another of her fortes. It���s evident that for this Barossa Valley native, one who rarely pauses in one place for long, the renovation of the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco resulted in innovation for her Brasserie S & P team.

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