Ryan Goodspeed, Bar Manager, Mixologist, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, FL, Florida, Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands, Where to drink in Miami, Cocktail bar recommendations, insider recommendations, best bars in Miami, New York, NY, Manhattan, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Music, Lounge, What to drink, cocktail recommendations, cocktail books, bar tools, advice, tips, recipes


Q. Tell us about your approach to the beverage program at Michael’s?

A. So much of what I do involves the kitchen and the people that I work with, chef Schwartz, the chef de cuisine, the pastry chef. I’ve learned so much from these people, turning fresh produce into something different.

I try to work around seasonally grown ingredients from South Florida as much as possible. We are a high volume restaurant and we’re very busy, so I can’t exactly be a high specialty cocktail bar or a classic revival cocktail bar, but I try to mix in some of that as much as possible.

Q. How do you do that?

A. By doing different twists on classic cocktails. We do a Bulleit Proof Manhattan, which is a different take on a Manhattan. I take Amarena cherries, reduce them down with rosemary and make a simple syrup out of them. I substitute that for sweet vermouth, add Bulleit bourbon, a dash of lemon and you get a fantastic drink. [See recipe.]

Q. Are you working with any interesting ingredients lately?

A. Fresh all spice berries, they look like little blueberries. You usually see them dried up. I just got them the other day and they are pretty amazing. I think I’ll muddle them up or I’ll heat them up and immerse them in some kind of syrup and make some kind of tincture out of it.

We have a forager who goes to the farmers markets in Homestead and he brings back samplings of lots of different stuff. People are growing strange teas down there now. All different kinds of honeys are coming out of Homestead, which is interesting to work with. Very nice sweet, white Peruvian peppers, which I use to infuse vodka. Pomegranates are in season, so I’m going to make a whole bunch of homemade pomegranate grenadine, a little intense, but pretty delicious.

Q. What do you think is the most underused ingredient for a bartender?

A. Grapefruit juice. It’s pretty acidic, but the flavor from fresh squeezed is just one of my favorite drinks in the world. You can sweeten it up with a little bit of agave or a different type of rum, it really seems to take on other flavors well, like basil. You have some really nice sweet basil tops, you muddle it with some lime juice and whatever else you’re working with, spirit wise, and add grapefruit, it’s going to come right through it. It’s not as aromatic as an orange or tangerine or as sweet, because it has that bitter acidity to it, but it’s really nice to work with.

Advice & Tips

Q. What are some tips to get on the good side of a bartender?

A. The first thing is be patient. If the bartender is busy, they should acknowledge you and say I’ll be there in one second. You never really want to come up to the bar and start ordering, it’s not going to get you anywhere fast.

If you are up at the bar and just ordering water, tip a buck. It will go a long way.

You can always ask the bartender for advice. What I love about my job is when people engage me about my knowledge of something, like say ‘you’ve got five rye [whiskeys] here, what’s the difference?’

Q. Is there a cocktail book that you think should be in everybody’s arsenal?

A. The old Savoy Cocktail Book. It’s so simple and great to have at your house. Many of the drinks have just 3 or 4 ingredients.

This year, Tony Abou-Ganim put out a big, colorful bartending book: The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails. I think as a reference for someone getting started, it’s a great book. Here are the tools, here’s the juice, here’s what you don’t want to do, here is what you want to do, and here is how you taste spirits.

Q. Is there a gadget you can’t work without?

A. This may sound trivial, but ten and a half ounce rocks glasses. They work really well with small shakers. When you can cap a rocks glass with the right shaker, it makes all the difference in the world.

I buy my shakers at barproducts.com. It’s the best resource for me. They have strange sizes of different stuff that most people don’t bother carrying.

Bartender’s Miami Guide

Out & About Late Night

The Burger and Beer Joint

It just opened last year and you can get, well... burgers and beer. Also drinks and wine until 5 am. It really is nice, I wouldn’t exactly call that menu healthy, it’s fried pickles, maple bacon with a side of maple syrup, and corn dogs, all made in-house.

La Sandwicherie

It’s a great spot to grab a sandwich. I would order an $8.95 baguette with prosciutto, mozzarella and tomatoes. They have this really awesome lemon, mustard, cheese vinaigrette they give you to put on your sandwich, there is something soothing about it. Maybe because it’s that sandwich that I usually have at 2 am! That place has saved me so many times, I gotta give them props.


In midtown, there is a place that is part of Sushi Samba called Sugarcane. The menu is pretty good and they serve until 1 or 2.


Red Light

I love what owner/chef Kris Wessel is doing. He is from New Orleans, so all of his cooking has a twist. His menu is always changing and evolving. Get the barbecue shrimp. If he has gumbo on the menu, I would definitely go down that direction, and the oyster pie.

Sra. Martinez

I really enjoy the food. Bacon-wrapped dates topped with blue cheese it’s just delicious. They have a pretty extensive small plate menu. They also do a really nice Sazerac.


For sushi on Lincoln Road. I really like going there.

To Start The Night

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

If you’re in the Design District, naturally you would start your night at Michael’s Genuine. Just a shameless plug. Order a Bulleit Proof Manhattan, The Edison, or The Dominican. [See recipes.]

Great Cocktail Programs

The Florida Room

John Lermayer is somebody working with fresh ingredients nightly and doing stuff that I haven’t seen done. He works with a lot of spices, a lot of fresh fruit. Lenny Kravitz designed the Florida Room. They do quite a bit of live music and after midnight it gives way to a DJ. You’re going to want to get there early, if you want to get in... like around ten, because it will be packed by 12:30 and at that point it will just be hopeless.


If you head over to Midtown Area, there is a Mexican place called Mercadito. There is a guy over there named Tad Carducci who is doing some really nice work with mezcal. Grab a seat at the bar for some tacos and a couple of drinks for a really nice time.

For Live Music

The Stage

It’s a one hundred percent live music venue, probably one of the best I’ve seen in years, band inside and band outside. Pretty cool scene, for this area anyway.

Transit Lounge

It’s a little seedier, but more of a live music venue as well, and just a couple of blocks off the main street in Brickell.

Magnum Lounge

It’s the coolest gay bar in the world. They don’t have the best selection of beer or wine, but when you order a vodka tonic, it’s served in a 12 ounce bucket. They have an outdoor patio for when the weather is nice and a small island-style bar. Usually between ten and midnight, at least on the weekend nights, there is somebody incredibly flamboyant playing the baby grand piano. It’s just hysterical, so I recommend it.

For a Scene

Sky Bar

There is a good bartender named Richie, who does their cocktail program. He isn’t really doing new takes on classics, more doing his own thing. That might be worth a stop.

Love Hate Lounge

It’s so Miami Beach it’s unbelievable, so I recommend going there. The owners of Miami Ink own it and everyone is tatted. Some nights it’s love, some nights it’s hate, literally. You’ll be standing in line and a bloody brawl will spill out, other nights it’s peace and happiness.

Dives Bars

Mac’s Club Deuce

I think it’s the oldest bar on the beach. That is dive bar central.


Another kind of divey bar, that’s pretty representative of the North Beach area is called Sandbar, because it’s filled with sand. Nothing special with the cocktails.

Off The Beaten Track

Lou’s Beer Garden

It’s in the back of a small boutique hotel (The New Hotel), just a no frills poolside bar with tables around the pool. Great beer selection and reasonable, $5/$6 pints. Definitely off the beaten path.

For The Wine List


They have a phenomenal wine list and great sommelier.

Prime 112

It’s a steak house, first and foremost, and that is where you’re most likely to see members of Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins. They love that place. Always heavy hitting sports celebrities in there. Expensive menu, expensive wines, expensive experience, but everything is high quality.

Purdy Lounge

It’s a good for late night. It’s kinda away from the chaos. Great, local spot - no cover, nightclub/lounge type environment, pretty minimal dress code. Overall a pretty good late night experience. The place probably gets going at 1am and it’s really hopping at 3am.





General Information

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Miami

Design District

Contemporary American

130 Northeast 40th Street

Miami, FL 33137

T: 305.573.5550 (Book a Table)


Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Grand Cayman

Camana Bay Town Dock

Contemporary American

47 Forum Lane, Suite 4103

Canella Court, Camana Bay

T: 345.640.6433





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