Foodie Find: Botánico Gin & Cookhouse
The warm and modern space brings the best cocktail of Spain to Coconut Grove.
Just as botanicals will elevate the distinct flavor of gin, the arrival of Botánico Gin and Cookhouse has given Coconut Grove a fresh and sophisticated zest. It’s a warm and modern space, which at night shines a twinkle of light over the thick marble bar, grey leather chairs and the black lacquer finishes — including the trim on the giant glass roller doors that, with tropical Miami weather, will open up the dining room to the fresh air of Cocowalk. The word’s gotten out and on a casual Tuesday several Miami social stars were spotted dining there including Josie Wang with a guest at one table and Lori Rombiero at another.
As the restaurant’s name indicates, the featured ingredient here is gin – there’s even juniper in some of the food – and the cocktail list contains offerings to mix the star spirit with tonics such as elderflower, Mediterranean, aromatic, Indian, citrus and cumber varieties in drinks that also contain the likes of lavender, lemon, hibiscus flower, nutmeg and lemon grass. Our selection was based on the one containing the superior label, which was the Bombay Sapphire (from England, the menu would like you to know) with Indian tonic, juniper berries and a lemon wheel.
“Gin is a big trend in Europe and Latin America,” says owner Ricardo Ordóñez, who is a Latin music executive and sommelier pursuing his passion for food with his partner, Gerardo De Negri. “The way we do it is similar to the South of Spain, straight and simple with good herbs, good tonic and good gin.
The food with menu items that are global selections with local ingredients. To start, there’s Ecuadorian shrimp ceviche made with a tomato-lime marinade or a vegan option with fresh mushrooms and hearts of palm. From the Tartares, don’t miss the salmon, which is wild caught with capers, cucumber and shallots. Though there’s both tuna and steak options prepared in their traditional and most tasteful fashions. For salads, the standout is the Nicoise with thick strips of seared ahi tuna, Kalamata olives and hard-boiled eggs.
To keep the global concept grounded for locals, there’s a sandwich selection that puts angus beef on a sesame seed bun, red-wine braised short ribs with picked carrots and jalapenos on a baguette, and southern style pulled pork with pickled onions and cabbage slow on a pretzel hoagie.
For entrees, select a steak, such as a center cut filet or an angus ribeye grilled with Bearnaise sauce. The grilled Spanish octopus is succulent with EVOO, smoked paprika and beet puree and the jumbo sea scallops are a sensation with lemon ginger cream sauce. There’s also grilled branzino with Greek fish sauce and pan roasted chicken with citrus sauce and thyme.
Do not – we repeat – do not skip dessert. The botanico key lime pie is made with juniper, which pulls down the sweetness while the churros con chocolate are warm, crispy and covered with powered sugar. There’s also the traditional key lime pie and gelato.
Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic with Lavender
2 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin
Ground lavender sprinkled
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Brett Graff is SocialMiami.com’s managing editor and has been a journalist covering money, people and power for over 20 years. Graff contributes to national media outlets including Reuters, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Maxim, and the PBS show, Nightly Business Report. A former U.S. government economist, her nationally syndicated column The Home Economist is first published in The Miami Herald and then on the Tribune Content Agency, where it’s available to over 400 publications nationwide. She is broadcast weekly on two iHeartRadio news shows and is the author of “Not Buying It: Stop Overspending & Start Raising Happier, Healthier, More Successful Kids,” a parenting guide for people who might be tempted to buy their children the very obstacles they’re trying to avoid.