It’s almost the winiest, foodiest time of the year! The South Beach Wine and Food Festival kicks off next week, and this year more than ever, it’s not just about wine or food, and not everything takes place on South Beach. We found a few events that break the mold.

The South Beach Wine and Food Festival returns for its 16th year!

Lee Schrager, Director of South Beach Wine and Food Festival: “We have an event for everything that you want to do.”

The festival attracts more than 65,000 foodies to its 85 plus events over the course of five days — and we know, it can be a bit overwhelming.

Lee Schrager: “We always encourage people not to do too much. Although we’d like to sell everyone lots of tickets, I think for the ultimate experience, pick one signature event you want to go to at nighttime, and really go there and enjoy it.”

This year more than ever, the festival is expanding into Fort Lauderdale. They’re even doing a Broward version of the popular Drink Miami event fittingly called Drink Fort Lauderdale happening in the FATVillage Arts District on Friday night.

The theme is Cocktail Time Machine, featuring drinks from different eras. Lilt Lounge inside the Epic Hotel is taking on the future.

Spencer Taliaferro: “I wanted to do a different approach to tequila, kind of a tequila punch, thinking almost tiki style, but with a futuristic approach.”

The drink is called Illumination and what’s most different about it is how you drink it.

Spencer Taliaferro: “We’re going to be serving it in a vessel like such. I think the standard glass is getting boring.”

Illumination starts with two ounces of tequila then…

Spencer Taliaferro: “Fresh squeezed lemon juice.”

A housemade black peppercorn syrup then…

Spencer Taliaferro: “This is an African nectar syrup that we made.”

The sweetness of this ingredient plays well off the spiciness of the peppercorn. Add some ice, shake it up, strain it and finish it off with an IPA foam and some pop rocks and there you have it, the future is here!

Over at the Ritz Carlton Bal Harbor, Chef Paula da Silva’s got big surprises in store for the Wine and Food Festival’s Bloody Mary Brunch.

Chef Paula da Silva: “This Bloody Mary, I pulled it out of the hat.”

It starts with tomato juice — then.

Chef Paula da Silva: “A little cumin, a little horseradish, olive juice, Worcestershire, Cholula.”

A healthy shot of vodka is added. The concoction is all shook up, and poured into a Mason jar.

Chef Paula da Silva: “And then I top off with Corona to give it that effervescence and make it light. Beer and Bloody Mary’s just the perfect combination.”

Chef will also be serving a one-of-a kind waffle, topped with a salad, porchetta, bacon and a grated hard-boiled egg.

Chef Paula da Silva: “You know what I never heard of? A salad on top of a waffle, but it’s Bloody Mary and it’s brunch and anything goes.”

Customer: “They were both delicious. It was one of the best things that I have ever eaten.”


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