THE BEVERAGE NETWORK:
your current take on Miami’s bar scene?
Miami’s bar scene
has grown up in the last five years due
to a small group of mavericks who have
consistently been stirring and shaking
damn good drinks here. There is still,
though, a need for more options: more
freestanding bars not constrained within
a hotel nor to the parameters of Miami
Beach. Neighborhoods like Coconut
Grove, Coral Gables, the upper Biscayne
Corridor, South Miami and Little Havana
are ready—and thirsty—for local bars
with small spirit-forward cocktail lists.
What’s the goal of Swine’s
Swine’s beverage philosophy is to
play a touch off the mainstream. Give
people comfort options like a clean
and refreshing vodka drink with local
strawberries and oranges [Homestead
Bound], but at the same time allow them
to experiment and be adventurous with
the marriage of rye whiskey and rum
in an interpretation of a classic Sidecar
[South by South Sidecar].
What are some of the cocktails on
your menu that are particularly big hits?
Guests love Rob Ferrara’s barrel-
aged Pisco cocktail. He combines Kappa
Pisco, Dolin Blanc vermouth and Man-
darine Napoléon liqueur, and rests it for
eight weeks in a bourbon barrel, shipped
directly from the Buffalo Trace distillery.
Although the cocktail is spirit forward, it
is soft and detailed. You taste the floral
notes from the Kappa and the bright cit-
rus from the liqueur, rounded out by the
sweetness of the vermouth and the oxida-
tion from time in barrel.
When we think of Miami, rum
is the first spirit that comes to mind.
What is your process for encouraging
customers to try the rye that plays
such a prevalent role at Swine?
We play with rum and rye cocktails,
which is a sneaky but kind way to get
people to drink it. The sweet personality
of rum marries well with the spicy attitude
of rye. For example, we have one called
the Good Ritten Sour. This consists of Rit-
tenhouse 100-proof rye and Santa Teresa
añejo rum with lemon, basil, egg white
and a Rioja drizzle, garnished with a Filthy
Cherry and orange twist. This is one of our
bestselling cocktails, and one of the few
that women and men equally enjoy.
What are the challenges of having
a thoughtful cocktail program in place
while working in a city where so much
of going out revolves around volume
orders of vodka sodas and mojitos?
The consumers don’t drive the mar-
ket, we do. They drink vodka because
they don’t have options when they “go
out.” If you create a cocktail menu that is
user-friendly and fun—every detail, even
the type and size of the font, matters—
then people will drink beyond vodka. And
of course, you need a skilled bartender
who understands flavor and balance, like
a great chef or a great sommelier.
Memorable cocktails have detail. I re-
alized this when I was drinking an Old Cu-
ban. Most bars make this classic cocktail
with Prosecco or Cava, but the best Old
Cuban is made with Champagne; it is
cleaner and brighter. There is a difference
between adding one ounce of Prosecco
or one ounce of Champagne. There is a
difference between adding a half-ounce
of lemon juice or just a quarter-ounce.
There is a difference between using a gin
that is citrus-forward or juniper-forward
when shaking it with an apricot liqueur.
The guest might not realize these differ-
ences, but it is the summation of all these
little unsung details that makes that guest
come back again and again.
Allegra Angelo, Beverage Director,
50 Eggs, Miami, FL
BY ALIA AKKAM
etween Miami hotspots Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Khong River
House and Swine Southern Table & Bar, Allegra Angelo, who over-
sees the wine & spirits programs for all three, is one busy gal. Here,
she discusses bartenders setting customers’ drink agendas, the rise of
rye and a shifting, spirited city.