South Beach's creative cocktail scene is growing with the announcement of Isaac Grillo's Repour Homemade Cocktails at the Albion Hotel .
Grillo, who was named the Ultimate Miami Bartender by Magic City Casino, is opening his own establishment in the former Drogerie space at the boutique Lincoln Road hotel. The bartender-turned-bar-owner is doing a complete remodel to make the space homey and inviting. "My vision of having just a superchill environment is really taken from growing up in Colorado," he says.
Grillo, best known for making extravagant liquid-nitrogen-infused and gold-plated cocktails at Haven, knows this is the right time and place for his new endeavor. "I've always wanted to open my own bar. I've been trying for years now, and this happened to work. It's a great location; it's a great opportunity. This is a new chapter for me. I'm pretty excited."
The bartender says he and his friends and family did all the work on the space, which is scheduled to open February 2. "My friend Ruban cut down a lodge pole pine in Colorado. Right now there is a beetle killing these trees that will eventually wipe them out, but they also leave beautiful markings on the trees. Ruban drove the tree to Miami and hand-cut shelves that will hold all my liquor."
Other personal touches include an old portrait of Grillo's grandfather as a tribute. "Without his support, I wouldn't have been able to open this business. He also drank Jim Beam for 80 years, and I have a special homage cocktail in his honor."
In addition to that special cocktail, Repour will feature a tea service with cold tea cocktails for two, served in kettles alongside Grillo's mother's teacups and saucers. Accompanying this boozy tea will be liquor jams. "Right now on my shelf I have a strawberry ginger with AfroHead rum and Root liquor, and a mixed berry with Campari and sweet vermouth."
Cocktails will also feature fresh herbs from the bar's own garden. "I'm growing a variety of fresh herbs, including spicy basil, pineapple sage, and chocolate mint. I will be continually expanding this garden and exploring interesting ingredients."
Ice is am important component of a well-made cocktail, and the mixologist will explore interesting ways to cool your drink, including using a sphere of coconut water in a glass of AfroHead XO rum and using Colorado river rocks to chill fine spirits. Grillo says the rocks are "like whiskey stones but in their raw form and will be frozen to take the place of ice cubes in our stirred cocktails from the garden."
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Cocktails will change monthly, and Repour will also feature a patio on which to enjoy your drinks. Although a menu isn't set, expect cocktails to cost about $12.