by john heinz
The sweaters are packed away and the crowds of tourists have thinned. With the Miami winter a distant memory, the spirit of this summer belongs to Grey Goose L’Orange. Introduced to a discerning American public in 1997, Grey Goose vaulted instantly to the top of the superpremium vodka market and hasn’t budged since. Distilled from winter wheat with the purest artesian spring water and bottled in Cognac, France, the marque still leads the flock, dominating top shelves from Beijing to Bordeaux.
Falling gastronomically somewhere in between is Azul, the Mandarin Oriental Miami’s divine Asian- and Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and bar. While of course Grey Goose’s other tempting offerings—Original, Le Citron and La Poire—are on hand, it’s undoubtedly L’Orange (created from the essence of the Florida orange, naturally) that embodies summer most at Azul. Here we chat with resident mixologist Jack Araque about sea- sonal offerings, the future of vodka and what goes best with L’Orange.
What drinks are big this season? The saketini and lychee martini are both quite popular at Azul right now.
Those are two very modern cocktails. Is mixology becoming more complicated lately? Actually it’s the opposite: We’re noticing that our guests prefer to taste the quality of a high-end product, rather than mixing it too much. They’re favoring the simpler martinis and shaken cocktails.
And does vodka rule at Azul? Yes. Grey Goose is consistently the favorite at both the bar and the tables. I often suggest pairing L’Orange with our Maine lobster salad with hearts of palm, grapefruit and avocado.
What’s your recommendation for the perfect summertime cocktail? I’d say our Floridian martini, made with Grey Goose L’Orange, triple sec, pineapple and cranberry juices and sour mix—and of course garnished with a Florida orange slice.
Azul at Mandarin Oriental Miami, 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami, 305-913-8358; mandarinoriental.com/miami
photograph by hamid kootval