Living in a tropical paradise like Miami, I am forever tempted to create a “new” kind of TIKI cocktail.
With my Seasonal Rum Punch, the idea was to use some of the classic ingredients usually found in TIKI drinks but in a decidedly more elegant form that would register in a high-end cocktail environment. One sip and you’ll see that you are getting all the flavor of the tropics but with a freshness and spiciness not typically found in a transparent punch.
Seasonal Rum Punch
By Valentino Longo
1 oz. Pineapple Infused Mezan XO Rum*
1/2 oz. Ripe Banana Syrup**
3/4 oz. Citric Acid
1 1/2 oz. Stroh 160 Pea-Flower Chai Tea***
Preparation: Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass except the Pea-Flower Tea. Strain over a large block of ice. Then slowly add the Pea-Flower Tea and serve.
*Pineapple Infused Mezan XO Rum
Cut one ripe pineapple in slices and leave it in a bottle of Mezan Rum for 8 hours. Strain and re-bottle.
**Ripe Banana Syrup
Cut 2 ripe bananas in slices and simmer with 500 gr of sugar and 250 ml of water for 20 min.
***Stroh 160 Pea Flower Chai Tea
In 600 ml of hot water steep 2 Chai Tea Bags and 8 gr of Pea Flowers. Add 1 3/4 oz. of Stroh 160 for 5 minutes. Strain and bottle.
Meet Valentino Longo
CHILLED 100 Member, Miami
Valentino is a native of Rome, where, of course, all roads lead. One of those roads took him far away from his home in Italy to London. There he perfected his barman’s skills at The Ritz Hotel then moved on to the Bam Bou Speakeasy where he expanded his responsibilities to include preparation of house-made ingredients, staff training, and more. He jumped the pond in 2017 and landed at the prestigious Le Sireneuse Champagne Bar in The Four Seasons Hotel, Surfside Miami.
The bar concept Longo has created there is built around “perfumes”—a.k.a., “edible aromas”—that he sources from a Chicago-based “cocktail apothecary.” Like a stylish couple headed out for an evening, every one of his signature cocktails gets a spritz of aroma enroute to the guest. Longo was inspired by scents that he noticed during a two-month backpacking trip in Japan. “The first thing I noticed whenever I walked into a place was the aroma: candles in a spa, seafood in a fish market.” The result? A “different style of cocktail that people don’t expect.”
The perfume concept is particularly well suited to the Four Season’s Surfside’s legendary address. “The Surf Club was the place that hosted Hemingway and Sinatra back in the day. It was very extravagant. Four Seasons wanted to do something different here, and management has been very open minded. They’re pushing me to be creative.” With that, his motto is simple: “When people go to a restaurant, they expect something different from the chef, not from the bartender. My goal is to surprise them.”
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