Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mixologist Mix Off at the Ritz Carlton's Dune Oceanfront Burger Lounge

There is nothing more relaxing than sipping a refreshing cocktail while feeling the ocean breeze lightly caressing your face. Wait, what about sipping four refreshing cocktails; all made with Grey Goose Vodka's newest flavor, Cherry Noir, as their "secret ingredient"? This newly launched flavor features the signature vodka we all know and love, blended with the rarest and freshest cherries found in the French Basque Country. That is exactly where my latest adventure took me when I attended the Mixologist Mix Off hosted at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, at Dune Oceanfront Burger Lounge this past Sunday. This fabulous-on-so-many-levels event was the official launch of Social Key Biscayne.

The Mixologist Mix Off consisted of a friendly, one-on-one competition between bartenders from the resort's four restaurants. The task was to create a signature cocktail containing Grey Goose's Cherry Noir, and the favorite among the crowd was the winner. After tasting all four cocktails, and more than once if necessary, we voted for our favorite by dropping a token at their table. Let me tell you a little about each of the contestants and their creations.

Yoshi's Sherry Raspberry Dreams

The first one I tried was Yoshi's majestic cocktail: Sherry Raspberry Dreams. Yoshi is the incredible mixologist from Cioppino and his signature drink blew me away. He created a tantalizing foam with the vodka and some jello that made the drink seem like not only a cocktail, but a delicious dessert! Mmmm...very refreshing and tasty. Not only was the drink amazing, but Yoshi entertained the crowds with his great personality and obvious joy of mixing.

Alex's Cherry Noir Sling

Next, I walked on over to Alex Rodriguez's table to try his special treat.  Alex, from RUMBAR, created the Cherry Noir Sling. Besides the vodka, it contained cherry liquor, grenadine and was topped with seltzer water and lime. Fruity and cooling on a hot Miami afternoon!

Frank's Island Paradise

Two down, two to go. I mozied on down to try Frank Smith's appealing concoction, Island Paradise,  which reminded me of a beautiful sunset as it swirled in the glass. It was divine! Frank, from Cantina Beach, added a splash of midori to his creation (among other ingredients) preparing the perfect summer drink.

Geno's Dual Cherry Breeze

Finally, I walked over to the last contestant's table (or swerved, I'm not really sure): renowned mixologist Geno Marron, from Dune Oceanfront Burger Lounge. He was right at home in more ways than one, as he shook and mixed and explained to all how his mystical, magical fusion, the Dual Cherry Breeze, was as refreshing as the "gentle breeze that caressed our brows" on that gorgeous Sunday afternoon. It had Grand Marnier, cherries that had been marinated for over 2 weeks, cherry brandy and Prosecco. Very creative and very cool!

Once everyone had had the opportunity to try all the cocktails, and had voted for their favorite, the winner was announced. The prize was a $150 gift certificate, however, all contestants received a mixer for their amazing work. And the winner was....drumroll please....Frank Smith from Cantina Beach!! Congratulations and I say we all go celebrate with a round of Island Paradise.

Frank Smith, Winner of Mixologist Mix Off

Of course, I am the Foodaholic so my adventure would not be complete if it did not include some good, mind-blowing food. You didn't think I was just going to talk about the alcohol, did you? Right after the spectacular Mix Off, we grabbed a nice table in front of one of their flat screen T.V.s to enjoy the remainder of the Miami Heat basketball game (we won by the way) and had us some dinner. While deciding on what to order, they brought us their signature lavash crackers with a bowl of hummus and a bowl of chopped olives.

Half of a Mediterranean Burger and Kobe Beef Slider

Dune's menu includes appetizers, salads, and gourmet burgers. We decided to share two items: their Kobe Beef Sliders and their Mediterranean Burger. The Kobe Beef Sliders were two per order and were incredible. They came with Foie Gras, Baby Arugula, and Balsamic Roasted Onions and were served with a side of french fries. The meat was well seasoned, juicy and grilled to perfection. The Mediterranean Burger was just as appetizing and came with Prosciutto, Manchego Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Onions and Pesto Sauce. Also served with french fries, it was a generous size and absolutely delicious.

Needless to say, we had a great time at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne. If you're looking to spend a lazy afternoon in the sand, enjoying great-tasting food and a breathtaking view, check out Dune Oceanfront Burger Lounge. They have events planned all the time and you'll love it. One tip though, they do close at sunset, so you want to make sure you come early enough to enjoy yourself to the fullest. For more information, you can call them at 305-365-4500 or visit the hotel's site at

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