Julio Cabrera's talents as a cantinero were recognized this past weekend at Tales of the Cocktail.
The cocktail and craft spirits festival, held in New Orleans, named Cabrera American Bartender of the Year at the event's annual Spirited Awards.
Cabrera, a partner at Little Havana's Cafe La Trova, has made a lifelong career of bringing style and precision to the role of bartender.
La Trova partner David Martinez was at the awards ceremony to witness Cabrera receive the accolade. “Julio winning American Bartender of the Year is both a dream come true and an incredible moment for a man who has put everything he has into this industry. Julio is the most humble person you will ever meet, and yet everyone knows 'Papa.'"
Martinez was quick to point out that although Miami establishments have won in other categories, this is the first time a local was named Bartender of the Year. "This is an amazing moment for the entire Miami community."
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Another winner with Miami ties was Nina Compton and Larry Miller's Compére Lapin, which won the award for Best American Hotel Bar. Compton was a chef at Scott Conant's Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach until 2014 before opening her restaurant inside the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in New Orleans the following year. Compton also received a James Beard Award for her work at the NOLA eatery.
Last year, Miami Beach's Sweet Liberty won the World’s Best Spirit Selection and Best American Bar Team awards and John Lermayer was posthumously given the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, Broken Shaker was named Best American Hotel Bar.
The Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards were founded in 2007 to celebrate excellence in the cocktail and spirits industries. Find a complete list of winners in all categories at talesofthecocktail.com.
Cafe La Trova. 971 SW Eighth St., Miami; cafelatrova.com.