Miami's Ten Best Bartenders

There's joy in making a great cocktail.
There's joy in making a great cocktail.
Courtesy of Hunter PR

Anyone can get behind a bar and mix a drink. For that matter, anyone can walk into a kitchen and prepare a meal. We've all cooked for ourselves at home, haven't we? But bartenders, like chefs, have many different levels of expertise.

Though 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. They 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.

See also: Miami's Top Ten Chefs

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 delectable creations.

These ten mixologists are the reason so many songs and stories have been written in -- and about -- bars.

See also: Miami's Ten Coolest Cocktails For The Dog Days of Summer

Miami's Ten Best Bartenders
Ben Potts via Facebook

10. Ben Potts

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 mint to be used in inventive cocktails named after flying creatures. It is there that Potts can finally let his creativity soar.

9. Isaac Grillo

Haven Gastro Lounge. The name itself describes a place that must serve inventive drinks. Isaac Grillo does just that, thinking of the most decadent, inventive, and outrageous libations to pair with chef Todd Erickson's equally imaginative cuisine. Using rare ingredients, and even precious metals, Grillo shakes up some of the most artistic and tasty cocktails in Miami. Grillo was crowned Miami's Ultimate Bartender at Magic City Casino after beating out seven other master mixologists and winning bragging rights and a $5,000. Haven was also named Best Gastropub in 2012 by Miami New Times.

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