Being innovative is nothing new for the staff at Sushi Garage, whether referring to its Japanese cuisine or even the way it presents its cocktails. The creative minds behind the Miami Beach restaurant (1784 West Ave.; 305.763.8355) proved that in July when they introduced the Toki Can—a fruity-fresh drink made with Toki whiskey, blackberries, simple syrup, Chambord, cranberry juice, micro shiso (a Japanese herb) and mint—served in a glass jar designed to resemble a tin can.
This isn’t the first time they created something special out of a common object—the facility itself used to be a car body shop in Sunset Harbor (hence the name Sushi Garage). They turned it into a roomy Japanese establishment with a school of metallic koi fish sculptures dangling from the ceiling, creating the illusion that the green and salmon-colored objects are swimming.
Since opening about two years ago, Sushi Garage always pursues ideas to make its menus stand out. When it comes to creating new drinks, the restaurant doesn’t rely on a mixologist; instead, the team collaborates on cocktails based on what they like, adding their own twists to common blends.
The Toki Can is a perfect example.
“The big thing that’s coming around is the highball, which is whiskey and soda, and we just wanted to go the other the way from that,” says Tim Sandoz, director of operations at Sushi Garage. “Not ‘stray away,’ but kind of make things a bit different.”
One of these twists was to combine Toki whiskey with fruit. After tasting it, Sandoz says that there was “an air of freshness that was kind of missing.” So, the team crushed mint leaves and mixed it into the drink—thus solving the problem.
“In Miami, it’s so hot and humid,” Sandoz says. “We wanted something that you can drink and not get overwhelmed by the sweetness of it.”
1 1/2 ounces Toki whiskey
3/4 ounces Chambord
1/4 ounces simple syrup
10 mint leaves
Put blackberries and mint in the glass. Add simple syrup and Chambord and mix. Pour Toki whiskey and stir. Add ice and top with cranberry juice. Add crushed ice. Garnish with blackberry, mint stem and micro shiso.