Miami’s cocktail culture is as diverse as its night scene. The mixologists, who conjure up top-notch creations, are on the frontlines of what turns a good party into a great one. They set the standard of what’s hot and what’s not. And when the drinks are smoking just as much as the dance floor, the mixologists make sense as to why an eight-ounce drink costs $20.
Terrance Barnhill, 36, a bar manager at Wall Nightclub on Miami Beach, explains that when it comes to mixology, it’s about the experience.
“Mixology incorporates a culinary aspect and a heightened level of skill to maximize the overall flavor of the cocktail,” Barnhill say. Nothing is off limits. Cayenne pepper, ginger, mint leaves are among the different ingredients you can find in your next cocktail.
Click here to see pictures of our cocktail creators and their drink.
Mixologist: Liko Miles
Living Room Bar, The W Hotel
2201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Living Room Bar, The W Hotel
Miles has been creating cocktails for more than 12 years. His preference is to go against the traditional heavy cocktails from the east coast to create more refreshing and savory flavored drinks. He uses ingredients such as passion fruits, cucumber blends, cayenne and jalapenos. Miles creates specialty cocktails based on Living Rooms Bartenders Choice menu, which consists of 30 different ingredients.
The menu breaks down cocktails into three different categories: Bitters, herbs and fruits and vegetables. The bitters such as, lemon, peach and grapefruit are used for flavoring as opposed to relying on excess or artificial sugars. Herbs such as sage, basil, mint and rosemary provide a visual sensation to enhance the smell of the cocktail and presentation. Fruit and vegetable juices like orange, pineapple, lychee and passion fruit give the cocktails volume and substance.
If you end up bar side at his locale, he suggests springing for Cucumber Collins cocktail that’s made with Square One cucumber vodka, lemon juice, yuzu juice (a sour Japanese citrus fruit), fresh cucumbers and pickled blueberries.
“The Cucumber Collins is a great tasting cocktail,” Miles says. “It’s refreshing which work well with the summertime season.”
Mixologist: Dean Hall
Bar: Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
2550 N.W. 2 Ave., Miami
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
Hall enjoys using any and every ingredient he can get his hands on, whether its lemon grass, honey even bacon caramel. He even welcomes the challenge of using ingredients customers thought they didn’t like and presenting it in an entirely tasty way. On any given night, Hall will be darting from behind the bar and into the kitchen on the hunt for a new flavor to infuse into a beverage.
“I believe that providing a great experience is a team effort,” he says. “I like to incorporate the kitchen crew to get them involved in the specialty creations, as well.”
Anyone down for a cocktail adventure can find Hall most nights at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. This summer he says spring for the Kiwi Rush, a light tropical fruit flavored cocktail made with Brandy Green Chartreuse (herbal liqueur) lemon egg whites, vanilla bean sugar and kiwi syrup.
“When you think of summer, you think of bright and colorful creations and that’s what a Kiwi Rush looks like.”
Mixologist: Lloyd Stennette
Bar: Yard Bird Southern Table and Bar
1600 Lenox Ave., Miami Beach
Yard Bird Southern Table and Bar
If you’ve had a long day on the job and you just need a drink and someone to talk to, then Lloyd Stennate is your guy.
“I’m all about listening to people’s problems,” he says. “I enjoy socializing with people and I like to find out about their day and make them feel relaxed as possible and provide a great experience.”
Stennette has been serving for five years and enjoys pouring up cocktails using rum and vodka because he says they’re easy to mix. But he’s up for any challenge.
Stennette recommended drink for the summer is Yard Bird’s very own, Southern Revival, made with buffalo trace bourbon, sour passion fruit juice, simple syrup, lemon juice and a hint of basil.
“ I always like to coincide with the season, “ he says. “So ,summertime is always a perfect time for something refreshing.”