Sergey Lebedev looks like the Hollywood version of a South Beach bartender. He's handsome, dresses fashionably, and wears plenty of product in his hair.
He also makes a mean cocktail. Recently crowned the Ultimate Miami Bartender during the Ultimate Miami weekend competition, Lebedev works behind the bar at the Local House on Ocean Drive.
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Three and half years ago, the Russian native started mixing drinks at private parties back home. He studied mixology in New York before moving to Florida.
Lebedev's tip for aspiring mixologists? "Always put passion and love into your recipes. You can taste the difference when there's no life in the drink," he says.
Short Order talked to the bartender about his life in the biz, mixology, and his favorite drink.
Short Order: What do you drink when you're at home?
Sergey Lebedev: Smoothies and fresh squeezed juices. I try to load my body with nutrients and vitamins to stay in shape.
What's your favorite drink when you go out on the town?
A good sipping bourbon, neat. My work revolves around complex flavor combinations; it's nice to take a break and drink something smooth.
What's your favorite part of your job?
The creation process. Also, I love the reactions my clients have when taking their first sip.
Do you serve any local celebrities regularly?
Damian Marley. He stops by the Local House often and has a drink at the bar.
If you weren't bartending, what would you be doing?
I'd most likely be a conflict journalist. I am an avid writer and love language. I strive to be a globally-aware individual. And to be honest, I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie.
What are some trends in Miami's mixology scene?
I'm seeing more handcrafted liquors/small batch alcohol on bar shelves. Also, infusions are pretty popular.
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What's the best tip you've ever received?
A black American Express credit card left by an old lady who said: "You can use it for one day."
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