It’s hard to overstate Michael Schwartz’s effect on Miami.
The chef has been opening restaurants in the city since 1994, but it was his flagship, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink that changed Miami’s food scene for good. Its philosophy of simple and affordable food made from fresh and local ingredients garnered a James Beard Award in 2010 and helped to put the city of Miami on the national culinary map and to revitalize its Design District, which has today become the vibrant home of dozens of art galleries, high-end shopping destinations, and more restaurants.
Schwartz’s empire now encompasses several restaurants, a pizzeria chain called Harry’s and even a set of Michael’s Genuine Pubs aboard Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class cruise ships. And with the 10-year anniversary of Michael’s Genuine coming up this March, we asked the eminent chef to share his favorite cocktails in Miami.
Gin & Tonic at Bazaar Mar
Spain is infatuated with the Gin & Tonic, so it’s no surprise that Schwartz recommends the version of the drink served at the Miami outpost of famed Spanish chef José Andrés. “The Gin & Tonic is a simple drink, so the ingredients need to be chosen with care,” Schwartz says. “And José’s is just a little more special.” The cocktail here is made with Scottish Hendrick’s Gin and Fever-Tree Tonic, and comes with an elaborate garnish of citrus peel, juniper berries, and fresh lemon verbena.
Boulevardier at Edge Steak & Bar
Aussie chef Aaron Brooks, who Schwartz says “makes me proud to be a chef in Miami” runs this farm-to-table steakhouse in the city’s Brickell neighborhood. (Schwartz and Brooks also work together on the charitable program, Wellness in the Schools, which teaches local schoolkids about the importance of healthy eating.) A great partner for a steak is the Boulevardier, which is a twist on the Negroni that replaces the gin quotient with rich whiskey. Bonus tip: Drop by during what Schwartz calls the best happy hour in the area for half-off cocktails and two-for-one appetizers every day from 4 to 7.
Rum Old Fashioned at The Regent Cocktail Club
While South Beach used to be more of a nightclub, bottle-service kind of town, a new generation of watering holes, like The Regent Cocktail Club, are leading a mixological makeover of the city. Housed in a renovated Art Deco hotel, the bar offers a menu of enduringly popular standards and live jazz most nights. Schwartz orders the spot’s signature Old Fashioned made with sweet and tropical rum: “It’s a Miami-appropriate twist on the classic,” he says. “What’s not to love?”