Serious Eats: Drinks
Happy Hour, Miami: Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
Located in Miami's Design District, Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill occupies a healthy stretch of the road, its external parcel transformed into a shady garden of untamed vines, weathered benches, and strings of hanging lights. In the thriving new urban center of the city, the laid-back patio harbors the work-, art-, and shopping-weary; fortifying both body and wallet with specials on food and drinks.
The concept at Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill is built into the name. What isn't necessarily implied is that the majority of the dishes fall under the tapas umbrella. And nothing says happy hour like tapas. Tapas were, after all, Spain's brilliant answer to "how can you keep bar patrons sober enough to keep drinking longer?" Free small plates of food, of course! Sadly, tapas, even in Spain, are rarely free anymore, but Sugarcane nods to the spirit of the philosophy with a reduce priced happy hour snack menu.
As for the drinks, the 'signature libations' drop from $12 to $7 from the hours of 4 to 7 pm, Monday through Friday. The Blackberry Toast mixes Jim Beam with muddled blackberries; a full-bodied and sparingly sweetened cocktail that gets an aromatic lift from the adorning rosemary spike.
At the opposite end of the cocktail spectrum, there is the ultra-light and refreshing Eden. It's a blend of Herradura tequila, lime, and cucumber juice finished with celery bitters and cilantro. This verdant number is an oasis of a drink in the Miami heat. It's citrusy and briny in a lovely way.
The drinks cover the full range of salty, sweet, bitter, herbaceous, spicy, and everything in between, and there is a complimentary snack to be found for any of the cocktails. The shishito peppers (normally $7) are just $3 during happy hour. The blistered, thin-walled peppers are a sweet-hot gamble. Prepared simply, they get slightly charred in hot oil and are finished with a healthy sprinkle of coarse salt. They're a great drinking snack (particularly when you have a cooling cucumber cocktail to rescue you from the hot ones).
Not part of the happy hour reduction, but equally affordable, are the pig ears ($4). Thinly sliced and fried, these ears are supremely satisfying. The fried slices get thoroughly coated in a barbecue seasoning that, in terms of flavor, goes above and beyond any chip dust. In the world of pig ears, these porky, sugar and spice covered bites are sublime.
With so many hours of happiness, it is easy for a pre-dinner stop off at Sugarcane to turn into a full night out on their patio. And that's just fine, because there is plenty of variety to keep it interesting the full night through.