Yet another cocktail lounge has opened in Miami Beach, though this one is attempting to stand out by specializing in gin drinks. Gin and Collins is located at the AC Hotel Miami Beach, replacing what was once an unnamed bar.
The cocktail menu, created by lead bartender Nikos Mantzaridis, features variations of the gin and tonic. "[There are] six different types of gin and tonics and six different kinds of gins," Mantzaridis says, "so each gin has its own type of flavor.
"One of the gins we're using is Bombay East Sapphire," he adds, "and [they are] making for us only a tonic syrup, so the tonic we're using is really unique. Nobody has that around."
Gin and Collins' signature drink, the ACGT, is named after the AC Hotel. It's served with the special tonic and Bombay East Sapphire plus an orange peel and a lime wheel. Other gins used in the bar's cocktails include Hendricks, Gin Mare and St. George Botanivore. Each gin drink costs $11.
For people who don't drink gin, three $12 cocktails are available. They include Raise the Sails, with silver rum; Smoked Last Word, with mescal; and Blinded Buck, with bourbon and ginger beer. Four beers from M.I.A. Beer Company rotate on the taps as well as four wines. These cost from $6 to $8 a glass.
Mantzaridis describes Gin and Collins as intimate, with 11 seats at the bar and a few leather couches near a pool table. "The music is pretty chill," he says. "Some nights, we're doing flamenco parties. ... It's not only fancy, [with] someone having to be all dressed up to show up. It's pretty laid-back. It's open for anybody."
Happy hour will begin in mid-January, Mantzaridis says, with five gin-based cocktails on special from 9 to 11 weeknights. The bar will create a specialty drink during happy hour, though it won't be sold at a discount. Mantzaridis says he plans to start serving the specialty drinks as early as next week.
The food menu features Mexican and Caribbean flavors such as Mini Cubanos ($6), chicken tinga tostadas ($6) and tacos ($12).
Gin and Collins is open 5-11 p.m. Monday-Friday and 5 p.m.-midnight Saturday-Sunday at 2912 Collins Ave., in Miami Beach. Call 786-264-4720 or go to "Gin + Collins" on Facebook.