22. Robert Montero of the Cypress Room
New Times' Best of Miami 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Short Order is serving up the top 30 tastemakers in the 305. These people have helped shape the Miami food scene into what it is today. We began with number 30 and will lead up to the county's number one.
Even though Robert Montero has been bartending for more than a decade, both his career and the craft cocktail movement in Miami ignited only a few years ago. Montero started at Sra. Martinez, Michelle Bernstein's Design District tapas restaurant in the heat of this new phenomenon. Since then, he has worked at some of the best bars in Miami, including Clarke's, Blackbird Ordinary, and the Broken Shaker.
He's also won numerous awards and bartending competitions and represented the United States at the Marie Brizard International Cocktail Competition in Bordeaux after winning at both local and national levels. When Montero is not competing or making beautiful drinks at the Cypress Room, he strengthens the local bartending community by serving as membership director of the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG) Miami chapter.
The most influential person in my career has been:
Dale Degroff. He made me one of the best margaritas I ever had a few years ago (at a seminar hosted by my employer at the time) using only three ingredients. He was one of the first people to teach my that simple and fresh is always best. As such, I credit him with turning me onto the use of fresh ingredients.
When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is:
The special grilled wings at the Hammocks Sports Grill... a special shout-out to my main man, Scotty.
What does Miami need more of?
Miami needs more bar owners who are willing to ditch the powdered, mass-produced mixers for fresh ingredients and more bartenders whose pride in their craft is more important to them than the cash they are putting in their pockets.
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
The word "martini" being bastardized into meaning any drink that comes in a cocktail glass. There is actually no such thing as a martini glass. A true martini is made with either vodka or gin and vermouth.
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
You'll have to wait and see...
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Doing what I love and loving what I do.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
Jerry Thomas, Dale Degroff, Steven Olson, Winston Churchill, and my paternal grandmother.
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