For just over a year, mixologist Paul Ramirez has been mixing up the scene at Palm Beach resort restaurant Brandon's. A talented chef behind the bar, Ramirez has been mentored by some of the world's best flair mixologists and made cocktails for a few of the country's most respected restaurants.
From the Machete Tequila Bar in Denver to Little Goat in Chicago — even internationally for the Palm at Mexico's Playa Resort — Ramirez's skill behind the bar is testimony to the various locales he's visited.
These days, you can find him mixing it up behind the bar at the Tideline Resort & Spa, where he's happy to whip you up his personal favorite cocktail: the "Here Is Your Carrot Cake, Ms. High Maintenance." (Don't worry, the recipe is at the end.)
Name: Paul Ivan Ramirez
Title: Bar supervisor and mixologist for Brandon's in the Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa
New Times: What inspired you to begin bartending?
Ramirez: I have always been passionate about creating, designing, aesthetics, food, and meeting new people. I feel like bartending and the hospitality industry allows me to do that and more.
What’s the first important drink or cocktail menu you remember making?
I remember it very well. I was working in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The drink was a classic margarita, couldn’t stop shaking, and not in the right way.
What’s your favorite establishment in South Florida (besides yours, of course)?
I love La Bodega in South Beach, great authentic Mexican food. And the Rebel House in Boca Raton — amazing Modern American cuisine.
What’s your favorite drink on your menu right now?
The “Here Is Your Carrot Cake, Ms. High Maintenance.” I would say this drink summarizes my style of bartending, which is using fresh organic ingredients you would find in your kitchen, [a] farm-to-cocktail type of thing.
Name a great drink you had recently?
My favorite drink is the "Hanky Panky" from the Broken Shaker in South Beach. Very, very creative guys. Always innovating.
What’s in store for your next menu?
That depends on what key ingredient I find at the farmers' market. Lots of sun-dried fruits and veggies coming up in my next creations.
What’s your favorite after-hours spot?
Hands down my favorite after hours is the Rhum Shak, a dive-like bar with awesome food. The service is awesome, great bartenders — Kevin, Jess, Kate, and Mike — always with a smile every time I go in. They're who I go to see when I want a drink.
What’s the weirdest request you’ve ever gotten from a customer?
Oh man, I had this guy in Denver who asked for a Don Julio 1942 and Coke and two limes. Big no-no!
What drink do you make for yourself?
I have two go-to drinks at home. That would be the Negroni or a light beer with Clamato juice and a lemon. As far as liquor, I'd say mezcal would be my top spirit. And Branca-Menta is a terrific digestif.
Name the best drink you’ve had recently?
One of the best drinks I’ve had lately will be a Smoked Old Fashion from El Camino in Delray Beach. Very well-crafted.
What do you feel is lacking from the South Florida food and drink scene, and what you'd like to see change?
I think a good friendship between the bars and restaurants is lacking in South Florida. Stop looking at each other as competition. Instead, promote all the talent around and highlight what each bar does best. And I would like it if bartenders would stop using those radioactive-color liquors. Opt for fresh ingredients instead.
If you could open your own establishment, what would you name it, and what would the concept be?
I would name it Rosas, Craneo. It would be a craft cocktail bar with a small food menu — ten items at most. And the concept would be a combination of pirates and gypsies, with a rock-star feeling.
Name one bar tool you could not live without?
I started collecting different types of rocks glasses from antique stores or buying them online. Gotta find a good "frame" for my art, I suppose. And getting a little more deep, I would say my hands and imagination, both great tools that we all take for granted.
What do you think the next big drink trend is?
I think the food and beverage industry is at a great level right now using natural and healthy ingredients. I can see bartenders getting crazy with their presentations and garnishes.
Here is Your Carrot Cake, Miss High Maintenance
1-oz. cinnamon syrup
.75-oz. organic coconut water
1-oz. organic carrot juice
1. Shake all ingredients with ice
2. Pour over ice in a short rocks glass.
3. In a separate shaker add one ounce of heavy whipped cream, a pinch of cinnamon, a dash of coconut water, and dry shake (term use when shaking without ice) and layer on top of the cocktail.
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Brandon's Palm Beach is located at 2842 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach. Call 561-540-6450, or visit brandonspalmbeach.com.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.