The owners of Stiltsville at Biscayne Bay lure diners with a specialty cocktail
To Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, Stiltsville is more than just a cluster of historic, pastel-colored wooden houses. About a mile south of Cape Florida, it’s where the “Top Chef” couple shared their first kiss more than five years ago. It’s also the name of their popular Sunset Harbour restaurant.
Stiltsville Fish Bar, an upscale seafood shack created by McInnis and Booth, brings refined Key West-inspired fare to Miami Beach. Facing Biscayne Bay, customers dine on cherrywood-smoked fish dip and crispy coconut shrimp while kayaks, sailboats and yachts cruise by.
In addition to the restaurant’s meat and seafood menu, which includes a surf n’ turf burger loaded with butter-poached lobster and grilled beef, Stiltsville offers an innovative lineup of cocktails. The Mermaid Formerly Known as Janine is one of its most popular drinks. True to its name, it’s served inside a mermaid-shaped copper cup available only at Stiltsville—with a sparkling red-brown mermaid at the top, a straw built into its side leads to a sweet concoction of vodka and passion fruit.
“The mermaid herself is named Janine,” McInnis says. “She’s absolutely gorgeous, of course. Our dear friends at Elyx Vodka gave us the copper cups. They’re truly one of a kind, and we’re the only restaurant ever to have them.”
The recipe calls for Absolut’s Elyx vodka blended with St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, a dash of lemon juice, some Earl Grey tea syrup—made by steeping tea bags inside a simple syrup—and a pour of passion fruit juice. The combination creates a pleasantly sweet, tart and zesty mixture.
The restaurant, a partnership with Grove Bay Hospitality Group’s Francesco Balli and Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, opened in September 2017 as the couple’s second Miami concept. The two, who recently got engaged, also run an outpost of their popular New York City fried chicken restaurant, Root & Bone, located near Stiltsville, inside the Shelborne South Beach.
The Mermaid Formerly Known as Janine
3 ounces Absolut Elyx vodka
1/2 ounce St. Germaine elderflower liqueur
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce passion fruit juice
3/4 ounce Earl Grey tea syrup (Earl Grey tea bags steeped in simple syrup)
Splash of Champagne
Mix all ingredients (except Champagne) in a shaker, then pour over ice. Top with a splash of Champagne.