Jim Meehan guest bartends and Julio Bermejo talks tequila at The Broken Shaker during South Beach Wine & Food Festival week in Miami Beach
The Dead Rabbit cocktail bar from New York also makes an exclusive pop-up appearance at Patpong Road
Make time for Meehan
If you're smitten by cocktail culture, your palate will perk up when you hear the name Jim Meehan. The James Beard Award-winning bartender and managing partner of the famed speakeasy PDT (short for "Please Don't Tell") in New York's East Village will be behind the stick, as they say, at The Broken Shaker. Miami Beach's cocktail haven in the Freehand (2727 Indian Creek Dr.) presents Meehan as part of its impressive programming for South Beach Wine & Food Festival week.
Meehan, in a rare appearance south of the Mason-Dixon, will be at your service mixing classic cocktails courtesy of Grey Goose from 5 - 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21. The superstar is the author of the "The PDT Cocktail Book," which is revered as the modern-day authority on how to be the best bartender and how to run the best bar. If you get the chance to watch him make drinks, pay attention to the precision with which he handles his bar tools and his presentation style. He's known around the world for being meticulous. If you get the chance to chat with him, understand that he considers himself a "reserved Midwesterner," who runs a "reserved bar" that he designed to feel like a living room.
He told me two years ago, during one of just a few visits to Miami, that "it's so interesting to come to a place like this. In a city where you don't wear a lot of clothes, things are really different." After all, his bar is tucked away in a dark basement, far removed from our tropical scenery.
"It's so much easier to serve a drink when you take away nature's beauty," said Meehan. It sounds like he thinks Miami's natural glamour might distract from the artistry of his drinks, but we're sure he'll do just fine this Friday.
"One of the things that I have yet to pull off is a bar with a view," he admitted.
Dreams do come true, Mr. Meehan!
Julio Bermejo, another heavy hitter in the spirits industry, will be giving a seminar on tequila featuring Don Julio and a Mexican lunch from 1 - 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20. Bermejo co-owns Tommy's Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco and is most famous for creating the quintessential West Coast margarita using fresh, seasonal ingredients in the '90s. His "Tommy's Margarita" replaced orange liqueur with the natural sweetener agave nectar and the world fell in love.
The Dead Rabbit pops up at Patpong Road
A relatively new and highly acclaimed New York cocktail bar will grace Miami Beach with its presence at Patpong Road atop Khong River House (1661 Meridian Ave.) this weekend. Recognized as Liquor.com's "15 Best Bars to Visit Before you Die," The Dead Rabbit will bring its old school Irish-American vibe with historically accurate cocktails from the 19th century made by co-owner Jack McGarry (the 2013 Tales of the Cocktail "International Bartender of the Year") and his team. This pop-up is scheduled for two nights only -- Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 from 8 p.m. till whenever. You'll have to know someone to gain access, so start doing your due diligence now.
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