Anyone can get behind a bar and mix a drink. For that matter, anyone can walk into a kitchen and prepare a meal. After all, we've all cooked for ourselves at home, haven't we?
But, bartenders, like chefs, have many different levels of expertise.
While 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. These 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 they can.
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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 delicious creations.
These ten mixologists are the very reason why so many songs and stories were written in -- and about -- bars.