South African mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout (more on his name later) has slung cocktails at major events for celebs like Padma Lakshmi and James Franco. Now he’s brought his liquid talents to the newly opened Lantao Social Club at the Surfcomber Hotel. You can see and taste a few of his latest concoctions for yourself 6-9 p.m. Sunday for a Swim Week party benefiting Dress for Success. Bezoudenhout (pronounced Bezu-guhn-hawt) talked to us before the event about all things happy hour and beyond:
What is the “hot” drink right now?
The old classics like the margarita and mojito are not going anywhere just yet. I do see more bars adding a Pimm’s Cup to their lists. It’s a very classic English warm weather drink of Pimm’s liqueur, ginger beer or lemon/lime soda with garnish like cucumber, mint and strawberries, and served tall. What I love about the drink is that you can tweak it in various ways. Give it a extra kick by adding gin, rum or tequila. You can leave out the soda and finish it with champagne for that elegant twist.
This city is a sweatbox year-round, though. Have you noticed that our adult beverage choices are different here?
Miami loves rum so you tend to see more things like the classic daiquiri or punches. The heat demands more tropical style refreshing cocktails. Miami is pretty vibrant so the drinks should be fun and attractive.
What makes a perfect drink?
Cocktails should be simple with fresh, quality ingredients that hit balanced taste points. Fresh herbs, housemade syrups and quality liquor. Most important is if it’s made perfectly, it should make you crave another.
What is your personal favorite?
For me it is the Negroni. Just three ingredients. Campari, gin and sweet vermouth. An Italian classic perfect for the summer. It has bright flavors and lots of complexity that prepares you for a night of good food and drink, which leads to happiness.
Your last name is interesting. How often do people misspell it?
Oh, you have no idea, misspell and mispronounce. You can see the fear on people’s faces when they have to call my name out. It’s quite funny, and I have some good fun with it. It starts plenty of enjoyable conversations.
What kind of stuff is on the Lantao menu?
We use quality ingredients with a nod to some very exciting Southeast Asian flavors. We have a Smoking Maguey that is a riff on the margarita, but with mescal and served straight up with a smoked-paprika rim.
Where do you like to hang out in your down time?
If it is just a beer and a shot I am looking for, then Clarke’s is the place to get a pint of Guinness and a shot of Redbreast Irish whiskey.
Party info: RSVP@socialmedia305.com