Cocktails & Spirits

South Beach Wine & Food Festival Launches Virtual Mixology Class Series UPDATED

Chat Chow's Gio Gutierrez and Kyu's Janes MacInnes
Chat Chow's Gio Gutierrez and Kyu's Janes MacInnes SOBEWFF
click to enlarge Chat Chow's Gio Gutierrez and Kyu's Janes MacInnes - SOBEWFF
Chat Chow's Gio Gutierrez and Kyu's Janes MacInnes
Updated: A previous version of this story announced a registration fee for virtual mixology classes. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival's virtual mixology class schedule is now free with advance registration. To register for any class, and for a complete list of classes, visit

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Lee Brian Schrager has been busy during the coronavirus pandemic.

First, the festival founder hosted a bake sale to raise money for the festival's Hospitality Industry Relief Fund, a joint effort with Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. The one-off event proved to be so popular that Schrager hosted weekly bake sales throughout the month of May, raising just over $100,000 for the fund.

Now, Schrager is engineering a 20-part virtual mixology series that will provide viewers with a chance to learn the art of the cocktail from Miami's best bartenders.

First up, on Friday, June 12, at 7 p.m., is Kyu's bar manager, James MacInnes, who'll teach you how to make his favorite Asian-inspired cocktails. Chat Chow's Gio Gutierrez, who co-hosts the series, will provide color commentary and assist MacInnes with the drink making.

Schrager says the idea for the series came about after his New York at Home series of online culinary classes proved to be a success. "With restaurants closed, these amazing chefs had nothing to do," Schrager says. "The classes were well attended."

The festival executive says that when he reopened his new Wynwood offices, he knew he had to do some classes from the new in-house demonstration bar. "We connected with Gio [Gutierrez] and over the weekend he put together the classes," Schrager says.

Each virtual class is conducted over Zoom and is free with advance registration. Participants will receive a code to join, along with the recipes and ingredient list so they can mix along at home. They'll also be able to ask questions in real time — so if you want to know if you can substitute lemon juice for lime juice or how to make simple syrup, this is your chance to consult a master bartender.

The 20-part series coincides with the festival's upcoming 20th anniversary. Classes will include "Classic Cuban Cocktails" with Cafe la Trova's Julio Cabrera on Friday, June 19 at 7 p.m.; "Impressive Cocktails and the Art of the Pour" with Beaker & Gray's Ben Potts on Friday, June  26 at 7 p.m.; and "Gettin' Tiki With It" with Esotico Miami's Daniele Dalla Pola on Friday, July 10 at 7 p.m. More classes will be announced at a later date.

To register for a class, and for more information, visit
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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