José Andrés will bring a touch of the Minibar spirit to the masses with Barmini, a cocktail lab adjacent to the tasting menu-centric restaurant that will open Feb. 15.
"You can eat to live, but also, you can drink to survive," said Andrés of the concept, which will feature a rotating menu of about 100 experimental cocktails. Bartenders will use molecular gastronomy staple techniques like airs and foams to bring a twist to classic drinks like Rusty Nails and Whiskey Sours. There will also be entirely new creations, such as the "Mezcaleros Brew," which uses mescal, kina, honey syrup, Belgian triple beer and an orange twist.
The concept, according to the chef, is partially inspired by his memories of peering through the window of the French restaurant La Grenouille in New York, back when he was younger and in the Navy, and couldn't afford the place. The chef thought at the time, "Wow, I don't belong there, and if I did belong there, I didn't have the money," he said.
So Barmini, while still requiring advance reservations, will offer cocktails priced between $14 and $20, while bar snacks will range from $5 to $16, making it an alternative to the $225-per-head Minibar. Details on how to make reservations weren't immediately available.
There is a window that peers into Minibar, visible from the bar. Minibar customers will continue to finish their evening in the space, as they have since the restaurant opened. Drinks are served in a number of unique antique glasses that the chef has collected over the years.
Juan Coronado of ThinkFoodGroup will oversee the cocktail program with the company's research and development director Ruben Garcia. Some of the bar snacks will be past Minibar creations, such as Andrés' spin on the Philly cheesesteak.
Andrés had been promoting the concept through a #Josehasasecret Twitter campaign leading up to the unveiling of the bar Monday evening. The chef coordinated with Spanish designer, Juli Capella, as well as local architecture firm CORE — both worked on Minibar and the revamped Jaleo as well. Focal points include a flower-shaped booth, a cactus-shaped couch and a wall behind the bar featuring antique glassware.
Here's a video that looks inside Barmini.
Barmini by Jose Andres