Food All-Stars

12. Julio Cabrera: Gentleman Bartender

New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue arrives June 19. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

Julio Cabrera has been working as a bartender for as long as some of his customers have been alive. But bartending is in the blood of this Cuban native, who has been making drinks and training other bartenders for nearly a quarter of a century. Long before the "mixology" renaissance, Cabrera was crafting fine cocktails while others were pouring rum and Cokes in plastic cups.

See also: Broken Shaker, Regent Cocktail Club Nominated for Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards

Cabrera graduated as a trainer in hotel and tourism in Nicosa, Cypress, in 1991, and hasn't stopped since, working in Italy and Mexico and participating in the International Bartender's Association World Cocktail Competition in Slovenia 2002. In 2008, Cabrera helped create the cocktails for Michelle Bernstein's Sra. Martinez. Today, Cabrera can be found making the perfect Papa Doble at The Regent Cocktail Club -- when he's not filming a mixology competition (America's Bartender), winning a national competition like the Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, or landing a GQ cover. Whether its touring a distillery to learn the backbone of his craft or mentoring up and coming bartenders, Cabrera does it with style and grace.

Soon, Cabrera heads to New Orleans' Tales of the Cocktail, where his lounge and team are nominated for several "Spirited" awards.

Tasty Tidbit

Julio Cabrera's role as bartender extends far beyond the reaches of The Regent Cocktail Club. The dapper bartender has led educational trips to Cuba, guiding groups of mixologists and rum enthusiasts to the classic bars of Havana, including a pilgrimage to the grave of Constantino "Constante" Ribalaigua, owner of the El Floridita bar, where a certain writer named Ernest Hemingway spent many hours.

In His Own Words

"The Miami food and cocktail scene has changed in the last five years. There is no longer just a small group of chefs with innovative menus and well designed restaurants. Now, we can find a good amount of well known "celebrity" chefs doing an amazing job, along with some important upcoming stars. The reinvention of Cuban and Latin food is also remarkable.

"The cocktail culture improvement is even bigger. From just two serious cocktail programs in 2008, there's been an explosion of more than a dozen craft bars with good bartenders creating fantastic drinks, some of them already nominated among the best in the country. Finally, Miami is more than vodka/soda and Scotch on the rocks."

Miami Food All-Stars

25. Dewey LoSasso

24. Mark Soyka

23. Jason Starkman

22. Lorena Garcia

21. Barton G.

20. Mike Hampton

19. Chef Creole

18. Jeremiah Bullfrog

17. Cindy Hutson

16. Jack Homes

15. Shareef Malnik

14. Bruce Ozga

13. Robert Is Here

Let your voice be heard by voting in our Readers' Poll. Visit by June 4. Then check out the 27th-annual Best of Miami issue, available online and in print Thursday, June 19, to see if your favorites won.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss