Designing the quintessential summer cocktail is more of an art than a science. Sure, there’s always some trial and error involved, but truly capturing summertime in a glass ultimately depends on a mixologist’s instinctive touch — blending in a hint of this, adding a splash of that, and finishing it off with a sprig of something special.
No matter a drinker’s taste or disposition, there’s most certainly a cocktail for that at Acqualina Resort & Spa, thanks to a talented team of expert mixologists. From creative twists on time-tested classics to completely reimagined renaissances of flavor, the staff at AQ Bar specializes in hand-crafting the buzziest drinks of the season, as delightfully colorful as they refreshingly delicious.
According to AQ Bar’s Lead Mixologist Ana Maria Mejia, “the most important rule of mixology — the rule that supersedes everything else — is that balance is everything.” It’s all about harmonizing acidity, sweetness, bitterness, and booze.
And as a mixologist who’s involved in every step of the cocktail creation process, Mejia would know. When she’s not infusing house-made syrups and serving up her latest inventions for guests, she can be found plucking fresh basil, rosemary, mint, and sage from Il Mulino’s herb garden, exploring Miami farmers markets for seasonal fruits, or swapping ideas with fellow mixologists to stay ahead of what’s in vogue.
“My inspiration comes from my curiosity in always looking for new trends and recipes,” she explains, “and of course we try them with our regular guests, who are the best critics.”
To help invoke the spirit of summer, Mejia is happy to share some of the signature cocktails she’s most excited about this season.
Starting simply with what she calls a refreshing explosion of flavors, The Pink Camouflage blends fresh blueberries and rosemary extract syrup to complement the piney overtones of gin for an extremely sippable warm-weather companion.
For connoisseurs of smoky flavors, the experts at AQ Bar will recommend The Undiscovered Genius, a classic Old Fashioned concocted with Maker’s Mark, orange bitters, and black cherries. The drink’s true brilliance is revealed after it’s smoked with cherry woodchips, unleashing its singular notes for a satisfying, distinguished tasting experience.
After a relaxing day on Sunny Isles Beach, Mejia likes to prescribe The Radiant Babe, a bubbly, invigorating fusion of organic raspberries muddled with mint, then topped with a spritz of champagne and served in a chilled martini glass.
Those looking to savor a zesty cocktail while raising a glass to the iconic pop art of Roy Lichtenstein (which happens to be tastefully fixed to the walls of AQ Bar) should order The Whaam, a sweet and spicy synthesis of passionfruit puree, muddled jalapeno, basil, lime juice, silver tequila, and Cointreau.
Of all the enticing options on this season’s cocktail list, though, Mejia is perhaps most enthusiastic about The Dream Forget About, a cocoa-inspired variation on the piña colada made with fresh coconut water, white chocolate liquor, and chocolate bitters — perfect after long walks on the beach.
And last, but certainly not least, Mejia has just the ticket for cocktail lovers wanting to test their own mixology skills at home this summer — a recipe for the light and citrusy fan-favorite Tuttomondo:
1 oz Ketel One vodka
¾ oz Limoncello
¾ oz Aperol
1 oz lemon juice
Shake all ingredients well and serve in a martini glass.
Whether you’re seeking a fruity libation or a Miami-inspired imbibement, you’ll find yourself in good company among Acqualina Resort & Spa’s mixology staff. Step into the stylishly eclectic ambiance of AQ Bar to try their latest summer creations, or let them personalize a drink of your choice.