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Miami Centurion Lounge: the Beverage Selection

Here’s at Le Chic Geek, we cover News That Really Matters* so when Michael was headed to the Miami Centurion Lounge’s opening, I asked him politely if he would mind imbibing the offerings to do a review of what you’ll get there.

*I’m pretty sure I stole this from a big news company with heavily guarded trademarks.

You’ll recall, he reviewed the San Francisco Centurion Lounge’s drink offerings.  And while those were more Napa focused (gee I wonder why), this list definitely has some Florida touches.

Access to the Centurion Lounge is by having an American Express card.  Centurion and Platinum Card holders enter free with two guests.  Otherwise, it’s $50 per person with the American Express card.

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Entrance to the Miami Centurion Lounge
Entrance to the Miami Centurion Lounge

Jeanne asked me if I might be naïve and stupid brave enough to try all of the drink menu items at the newly opened Miami Amex Centurion Lounge.

Miami Centurion Lounge Bar…similar to other CL bars, but much more seating space
Miami Centurion Lounge Bar…similar to other CL bars, but much more seating space

Since I didn’t have enough cash to make good on the Superbowl bet I lost to her last January (Why did the Seahawks call for a pass play on the 1-yard line?!? Hand the damn ball off to Marshawn Lynch!), I figured this would be a starter to paying off my debt.

Drink Menu at the Miami Centurion Lounge
Drink Menu at the Miami Centurion Lounge

As it so happened, an Assistant General Manager from the San Francisco Centurion Lounge was in Miami to help with the opening day festivities. Since he knows my “regular” drink at SFO, he offered to make me an off-menu item consisting of Prosecco, grapefruit juice, a touch of St. Germain, finished with a grapefruit rind garnish, served in a champagne flute. It would have been rude to turn down a 9:30 am refresher beverage from my friend, so I started with that. Yum!

A refreshing off-menu beverage created by my friend
A refreshing off-menu beverage created by my friend

I decided to start with the cocktails first, then the wines, then the beers. I don’t know why, I just did. Maybe I figured that it would look less weird to other patrons than having a beer before noon. I dunno, I’m grasping at straws – just work with me here, would ya?

Navel Gazer: Absolut Mandarin Vodka, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau, Orange

Navel Gazer
Navel Gazer

A light drink, but with a slightly bitter aftertaste and kick. This would pair well with lunch (and ideally, not something too salty). Personally not my favorite, but that’s because I’m not a big fan of the Lillet Blanc aperitif wine.

Key Lime Gimlet: Botanist Gin, Lime Juice, Paradigm Lime Curd

Key Lime Gimlet
Key Lime Gimlet

Tasty, but very sweet. Almost too sweet. It was like drinking a key lime pie, which, hey, given the name of the drink makes sense. I consider this more of an after-meal dessert drink.

Adding lemon curd to make the Key Lime Gimlet
Adding lemon curd to make the Key Lime Gimlet

305 Special: Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila, Aperol, Lime Juice, Grapefruit Juice

305 Special
305 Special

So named for the original Miami telephone area code, this specialty cocktail was in my opinion the best of the three. Refreshing, not too sweet, can be paired with a meal, but absolutely fine as a stand alone beverage.

After the cocktails, I was still standing (well, sitting, but you know what I mean), so it was onto the wines.

Starting with the bubbles and whites
Starting with the bubbles and whites

Prosecco: Nino Franco “Rustico” from the Veneto region, Italy
If you like bubbles, unless you are a Centurion card member (in which case you can have Veuve Cliquot) this is the standard serving. I like bubbles, but I thought this sparkling was just OK, but not spectacular. If I can’t have Veuve as a “lowly” Platinum card holder, then I much prefer the Mumm served in the SFO Centurion Lounge.

Pinot Grigio: Terlato Family Vineyards, 2013 from Sonoma County, California
I thought this wine was “young,” meaning the finish is not as smooth and the taste was a tad bland. Pinot Grigios are supposed to be light, but even though it was fruity with a hint of apricot, it was not as refreshing as I was expecting.

Sauvignon Blanc: Loveblock 2013 from Marlborough, New Zealand
This was my favorite of all of the white wine offerings. Refreshing, just enough body and flavor, but still light. I could drink this all day (you know, if I weren’t already drinking the rest of the menu for the whole day).

Chardonnay: Tangley Oaks 2013 from Sonoma County, California
Chardonnays have fallen off of my personal preference list, primarily because I find that so many Chards are over-oaked in the barrels, and this wine was no exception. If one is looking for a full-bodied white wine, then of the four options in the lounge, this is the one, but again, it’s very oak-ey.

Moving on to the reds
Moving on to the reds

Sangiovese + Merlot: Mazzoni Rosso Toscana, 2011 Tuscany, Italy
This red had a very “Earthy” finish, as is customary with many Tuscans and Super Tuscan wines. It had a strong bouquet and was tasty, with a hint of cherry/berry taste, but not quite as smooth going down. But if one is a fan of Tuscans, this is a solid choice.

Malbec: Bodega Tamari Reserva, 2013 Mendoza, Argentina
Of the three reds, this was my favorite. Full-bodied, but still not too heavy, also with a strong bouquet. Though a 2013 vintage, a mature wine with a smooth, non-Earthy finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon: The Federalist, 2013 Lodi, California
My least favorite of the three. I found this Cab Sauv to be a bit heavy, and the taste was overwhelming for my preferences. That having been said, if I were going to do a wine flight tasting on a future visit, I think all of the reds outpaced the whites on offer at the lounge.

And finally, the beers on tap
And finally, the beers on tap
After 11 beverages, we had to move to sample tastes only
After 11 beverages, we had to move to sample tastes only

Presidente Light
As its name implies, this is a very light, watery tasting pilsner. Frankly, if you choose this beer, you might actually be better off with water.

Islamorada Ale
As ales tend to be, this was a more robust beer, with full taste and body. A much better beer than the Presidente, in my opinion. My favorite of the three beers on tap.

Goose Island IPA
If one is a fan of hoppy beers, this is the best (and only) choice on tap for you. You can have any color you want as long as it’s black. My love of hoppy beers tends to wane after a while (or maybe it was after having 13 drinks), so I can’t say this was my favorite, but having had this beer before, I do know that I like it, I just wasn’t in the mood for an IPA at the time.

So that’s it intrepid Le Chic Geek readers. Thanks for reading along and joining in on the journey!

Anyone planning on visiting the Miami Centurion Lounge soon? If so, I’d love to hear your opinions and get your tasting notes for comparison!

Edit: For a take on the lounge from the perspective of family travel, check out Mommy Point’s post on this, also featuring a review by Michael.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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3 comments

  1. Great review. First drink sounds interesting.

    The Chianti at the DFW club is my favorite, precisely because of the “earthy” real-aged-wine finish.

    The NY State Riesling at the LGA club is another favorite.

    • Thanks for your comments, Tom! Yeah, that first drink is an “unofficial, official drink” at the SFO lounge that I helped get on the menu. In SFO, it’s called “The Lauren,” and if you ask any of the bartenders there, they’ll no how to make it (the recipe is on a laminated card behind the bar…). Safe travels to you, and hope to see you in a Centurion Lounge, soon!

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