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Elevating the Craft: Secret Meetings for Bartenders

You didn't hear it from us, but a true cocktail oasis exists on the 15th floor of Bacardi's headquarters in Coral Gables. Yes folks, that means a fully stocked bar with nothing but the best of rums, garnishes, and mixers. Good luck trying to get past the tight security.

How do we know this? Clean Plate Charlie got an exclusive look at a new cocktail series solely for local mixologists called Elevating the Craft - A Miami Cocktail Culture Night

Find out more about this select group after the jump.

Created in coordination with the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG), Bacardi, and local mixologists like Camila Austin of Hakkassan and Michael Parrish of Prime Italian; the event aims to bring together local mixologists and other hospitality industry folk. The group's main goals are to further the growth enthusiasm for cocktail culture that has already developed in South Florida. The events not only are ideal for networking, but have an educational aspect to them. The talks are meant to be light and refreshing, never boring, like much of the industry's corporate and stuffy feel. 

The event, the first in the series, kicked off this past Monday, February 28, to great success. Tony Abou-Ganim (internationally known as The Modern Mixologist), in town for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, inaugurated the series. The charismatic actor turned mixologist recalled his early years with Mario Batali and the Rainbow Room to making it big at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and his passion resonated when speaking of the cocktail's history and its current renaissance. His top "must read" for any mixologist: Straight Up or On The Rocks A Cultural History of American Drink by William Grimes. A rotating list of guest speakers is being prepared for upcoming events.  

Guests in attendance enjoyed a variety of specialty cocktails by Bacardi and Bombay Sapphire as well as a passing of light hors d'oeuvres. They also left with Tony's newest book, which has been deemed the "bartender's bible": The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails.

The series, still in its development stages, has no main website or Facebook page, but we will keep you in the loop about upcoming events.

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Mandy Baca