Since opening in 2011, Coral Gables' the Local Craft Food & Drink has been known for its fine pub grub and extensive beer selection. With nearly two dozen well-curated items, it's a great choice for beer lovers.
If, however, you simply opt for a brew when dining, you're missing out on Will Thompson's cocktails. The bartender recently introduced a new menu featuring a dozen libations — all priced at $13. "The inspiration for this particular menu was definitely the amazing staff here at the Local," Thompson says. "I constantly draw inspiration from them and what they are drinking at the moment."
The menu has something for everyone. Try, for instance, the No Country for Old Cosmos. A take on the classic cocktail made famous on the HBO series Sex and the City, it's a blend of vodka and a cranberry-rosemary reduction.
For those looking for something boozier, the aptly named Fade to Black Barrel, featuring Jameson Black Barrel, would be to their liking. Thompson and his team even did a take on a morning drink.: The Best Part of Waking Up features smoked cedar and tobacco bitters with espresso and bourbon.
The new drinks are a part of the Local’s ever-rotating cocktail choices. “We like to do a seasonal menu, but if we can, we sometimes do change the menu twice in one season,” Thompson says.
The menu itself usually takes Thompson and his team about a month to create. “We go back and forth, first deciding what we want the feel of the menu to be, then trying everything, and finally naming the drinks. For this particular menu, we based the names on old hip-hop songs we loved.”
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All the drinks pair well with the Local’s food items, such as beef tartare and pork confit, something Thompson says he and his team take time to plan. “We want the drinks to be cohesive with the food we offer. It's something I feel this drink menu does particularly well."
Thompson has been in the business for more than 15 years and has worked at the Local for five. He's also created the bar program for venues such as Better Days. “I love the team effort at the Local, which really helps elevate the drinks,” he says.
The creative bartender intends to continue expanding the Local's drink repertoire. “We want to keep elevating the drinks and creating things that you can't find anywhere else.”