Miami's Ten Best Bartenders
|Julio Cabrera via Facebook|
|Julio Cabrera and friends.|
But, bartenders, like chefs, have many different levels of expertise.
While the person who pops your Budweiser can at a beach shack might be considered a bartender, there are others for whom building a beautiful cocktail is an art form. These are the people who make pilgrimages to bourbon distilleries in Kentucky and to Oaxaca to study mezcal plants. Their thirst for knowledge about spirits is rivaled only by their passion to make the most delicious cocktail they can.
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Miami has come a long way in a short time. As little as five years ago, the best you could get in these parts was a "Goose and Bull" or a frozen blender drink made with corn syrup-laden mix. Now, there's a community of bartenders growing herb gardens, muddling fresh fruit, and using cutting-edge culinary techniques to make sophisticated and delicious creations.
These ten mixologists are the very reason why so many songs and stories were written in -- and about -- bars.
Over at the patio bar at Bloom in Wynwood, Jaren Rivas is holding court. Juggling two shakers, he suggests a bourbon cocktail to a visitor from New York, kibbitzes with two young women at a nearby table, and pours wine at the service bar. But don't think it's all fun, games, and a show at Rivas' bar. Southern Living magazine just called his Tequila Beets cocktail Miami's best nightcap. There's substance behind that flash.
|Ben Potts via Facebook|
A Miami native, Ben Potts has an MBA from the University of Miami and could probably be a CFO at some Fortune 500 company if he wanted. But what he wants to do is make beautiful cocktails. Blackbird Ordinary in Brickell could be mistaken for any dive bar. But look closer and you'll find a space that grows its own herbs, fruit, and mints to be used in inventive cocktails named after flying creatures. It is there that Potts can finally let his creativity soar.