Puttin’ on the glitz
There’s a unique way to experience the fascination and luxury tucked inside Gianni Versace’s former Ocean Drive mansion, now called Villa Casa Casuarina. It doesn’t involve spending upward of $2,000 for a hotel room. It also doesn’t involve tuning into the newest season of “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.”
Versace’s former kitchen has transformed into a swanky speakeasy called the Onyx Bar. Overlooking the mansion’s pool and garden areas, the space is stocked with craft cocktails, fine wines and numerous gourmet bar bites.
“One would think after working here for five years that the fascination about the mansion would wane,” says Chauncey Copeland, general manager at Villa Casa Casuarina (1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach). “But it doesn’t. It gets rekindled every day for me. It’s a very special place.”
At the Onyx Bar, food and drink defy customers’ wildest imaginations. Take the 24 Karat Golden Margarita, the bar’s most popular cocktail order. It’s similar to a traditional margarita, blended with tequila, orange and lime juice. But at Onyx, each pour is adorned with real—and edible—gold flakes. There’s also the Coco Casuarina, a sweet and refreshing blend of coconut milk, rum, vodka and fresh cinnamon. Then there are Versace Blue (which calls for blueberry vodka and fresh blueberries) and Passion in the Mansion (made with passion fruit vodka, passion fruit seeds and prosecco).
No matter when customers visit the Villa Casa Casuarina, Copeland says the experience at the Onyx Bar will remain the same. “It’s about making a minimal impact on the work of art that is the Villa Casa Casuarina,” he says. “It would be like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.”
24 Karat Golden Margarita
1½ ounces Don Julio Blanco or
El Cartel tequila
½ ounce Grand Marnier
¾ ounce lime juice
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce orange-infused syrup
½ ounce orange juice
Shake and strain into wine glass with salt rim. Garnish with orange, lime and gold flecks