For myself, liquor and time have always been intimately intertwined.. Specifically, in my more pedestrian gin-guzzling days, I appreciated the lack of time necessary for me to reach what I (and few around me) saw as an acceptable level of intoxication when projected forward by the fragrant fumes of often overly cost-effective distilled spirits. Liquor allowed me to buoyantly bypass the wine-and-beer buzz of my compatriots and enter what can only charitably be described as an adventurous frame of mind. But to sit and savor a straight liquor? To lovingly and lusciously labor over its imbibing as one would a fine wine or particularly mixologically mesmerizing craft cocktail? I knew it could be done, but I just didn’t know how. And it seems in the nightclub, shot-soaked cultural milieu of the Miami drinking scene, I wasn’t alone. I needed an outside expert, an exotic exemplar of fine spirits, to guide me (and you) down this devotional path. “To taste this cognac is to taste time itself.” It’s the kind of sentiment that, when uttered in a European accent, can seem almost overly-continental, a saccharine and bland semi-transcendental aphorism impossible to argue for its ambiguity. But when uttered by expert cellarmaster and artful alchemist Baptiste Louiseau, a proud member of a fraternity of cognac masters whose pedigree stretches back generations, sentiments that would normally fall flat on jaded ears ring with an unmistakable aura of sincerity. The youngest cellarmaster to ever spearhead the coveted Louis XIII brand, Louiseau understands the proper steps needed to savor a cognac as coveted as Louis XIII. The first, and most integral step? Take it slow. Just as a top-tier spirit has taken years to reach your glass, so should your approach be equally as languorous. Next, put that nose to work. Just like a fine wine, an ace liquor has a bouquet endowed with profiles and notes that tell a story entirely their own. The third? Just a drop. With fine liquors, take only the lightest of sips initially. Allowing the liquor to fully envelop your tastebuds in the proper atmosphere can result in a mindset much more mellow than the adrenaline-pumping frolicking of the nightclub shot-set.
There are two synonymous strains of Magic City drinking culture: The first is a furious shot-soaked cavalcade; the second, the sedentary, yet studious spirit drinking so evocative of long-lived executives relaxing after a lifetime of labor. Looking for the latter? Taurus Beer & Whiskey House is a Grove standby forever recognized for its superior spirit selection. Tastes run a little South of the Border? Then Brickell’s La Cueva and its uncountable array of top-notch tequilas is the choice for you. And if you’re looking for a stogie with your select sip, look no further than refreshingly retro pseudo-Cuban lounge Rumbar @ Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, offering over 50 different types of rum with your roll.