Smart Cocktails: Literary Libations
For those who appreciate culture, cocktails at The Betsy South Beach evoke far more than South Beach sun-and-fun. Known for its commitment to philanthropy, arts, culture and education, The Betsy has turned to literature to inspire its cocktail program.
This classic cocktail from the 1860s is steeped in tradition, and one of the preferred drinks of H L Mencken, who said: “Drinking with skill and taste is no more a natural art than love; either it must be learned by the onerous process of trial and error, or it must be taught.”
A favorite of chef Laurent Tourondel, this drink was featured in Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, and named after Vesper Lynd, the original Bond girl. It first appeared when Bond asked for “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold. Then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”
The classic rum cocktail was created in the 1930s at the storied Cuban haunt, El Floridita for Ernest Hemingway, who said: “I drink to make other people more interesting.”
This cocktail uses becherovka, the storied Czech spirit that gained fame at Café Arco, the distinguished literary cafe in Prague, where Franz Kafka used to hold court and sip it.
The Betsy's literary commitment – and physical footprint – will expand dramatically this fall when they open the renovated Carlton Hotel wing. Among the new offerings is Poeti, a trattoria from Tourondel, offering elevated renditions of Italian classics. Its entryway will contain the engraved poetry of twelve poets who shaped Miami’s literary legacy, including Langston Hughes, Donald Justice, Campbell McGrath, Richard Blanco, Julie Marie Wade, Carlos PIntado and Muhammad Ali, among others. Tourdondel's LT Steak and Seafood is The Betsy's signature restaurant.