Since opening in 2016, Phuc Yea (7100 Biscayne Blvd, Miami) has become one of South Florida’s most innovative establishments, constantly finding new ways to push boundaries––especially cocktails. The dimly lit restaurant in the Miami Modern Architecture District specializes in an eclectic mix of Vietnamese-Cajun cuisine, slinging cod bao buns and crawfish and shrimp pho, alongside lychee martinis and margaritas.
“We base all of our recipes on classic cocktails but always add our own Southeast Asian riff to them,” co-owner Aniece Meinhold says. Cocktails call for unique mixes of freshly squeezed juices for sweetness and vibrancy, teas for floral notes and spices for warmth and complexity.
“The names are always ‘inspired,’ too,” she notes. “After all, diners are coming to a restaurant called Phuc Yea. We live in pun. It’s important for us to always make people laugh and smile. Quality and craft without pretense.”
Offerings include the Tear of a Tiger’s Eye, with bourbon, whiskey, tiki bitters and flaming lime; the Phuc It, Just Eat Me, a strawberry martini with jasmine-infused rum, sherry, basil and lime; and the Ladyboy from Hanoi, a cucumber martini with cucumber mint vodka, cilantro and lemon essence.
“The process [for making a cocktail] starts with an inspiration, something concrete and traditional,” Meinhold says. “Then we start to integrate the ingredients, such as what base spirit to use, as well as citrus and juices, and spices.”
On average, it takes Phuc Yea about four months to conceive a new cocktail program. As for the secret to creating the perfect drink, Meinhold says they’re still trying to figure it out.
“To me, the perfect cocktail has to be balanced, and I need to want to order a second one. It also depends on my mood and what I’m doing or eating. Sometimes you feel like a flip-flop, sometimes you feel like a stiletto. Same with a cocktail.”