Sunday, October 17, 2021

From the Magazine: Cocktail Culture

At area bars, tart and spicy scotches, tequila-infused fruit concoctions, and quarantine-inspired drinks are on the menu

Photography by Aaron Bristol

This summer, quench your thirst by sliding onto a stool or into a shaded outdoor table at one of these local bars. Their bartenders are eager to welcome you in, with fresh new cocktails to pour for you. Regardless of your spirit preference, there’s something for every palate.

MICHAEL DEMAHY

BAR: The Rebel House, 297 E. Palmetto Park Rd., Boca Raton; 561/353-5888; rebelhouseboca.com

COCKTAIL: Palmetto Park Punch

PET PEEVE: When customers don’t give him any direction on what they want to drink

A veteran of the hospitality industry, deMahy has been in the trenches since he was 15 years old. He’s done it all, from busing tables and dish washing to cooking and bartending. A few years ago, as the craft cocktail phenomenon grew, he was drawn to the creativity it allowed him, and he focused on perfecting his trade. Today, he’s the bar manager at one of the coolest establishments in town, where everyone can come as they are and rock out to a variety of old-school jams as they savor their meal. During the quarantine, deMahy, like the rest of us, had time on his hands, so he started to tinker with the idea of creating a silky clarified milk punch cocktail. Almost like a science experiment, it took him a lot of trial and error to perfect the blend.

“Rebel House is the only place you can find a drink like this.”

PALMETTO PARK PUNCH

Ingredients:

  • 5 lemons (zest and juice)
  • 1 orange (zest and juice)
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple juice
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup green tea
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2.5 cups Rebel House rum blend (Barbados rum, dark Jamaican rum and overproof rum)
  • 1 ounce absinthe
  • 2 cups whole milk

Directions: Dissolve the sugar in the water. Combine all ingredients except whole milk. Add mixture to the whole milk and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain though coffee filter. Pour 4 ounces in a rocks glass over a large ice cube and garnish with a lemon twist.

AMANDA ROSETTI

Amanda Rosetti (shown unmasked for photo purposes only)

BAR: Park Tavern, 32 S.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach; 561/265-5093; parktaverndelray.com

COCKTAIL: Florida Sunpass

PET PEEVE: Wet, soggy napkins on a bar

Rosetti created this passion fruit cocktail as a “riff on a margarita meets a hurricane” using an exclusive Tromba blanco tequila only found at Modern Restaurant Group’s family of restaurants, including El Camino and Park Tavern. The hospitality company worked with the tequila brand to create this smooth signature spirit with hints of pineapple. Using that as her inspiration, Rosetti combined the sweet tropical and tart flavors in a hurricane with the fun floater of a margarita in this balanced and bouncy drink. The name is a fun play on words, she says: “The Florida SunPass is meant to get you there quicker, and the drink definitely will get you there quicker.” Rosetti’s managers strive to make the staff feel like valuable family members, and that vibe radiates out to the customers. Her goal is simple: Give them the best possible experience. “Your customers are your best friends.”

FLORIDA SUNPASS

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Tromba tequila reposado
  • 1 ounce El Camino Tromba blanco tequila
  • 1 ounce passion fruit juice
  • .5 ounce lime juice
  • .5 ounce agave
  • 1 ounce Pama pomegranate liqueur (for the floater)

Directions: Shake and strain; serve over ice in a double rocks glass with a lime wheel and a cordial cherry.

SEAN IGLEHART

Sean Iglehart

BAR: Sweetwater, 1507 S. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach; 561/509-9277; sweetwater33.com

COCKTAIL: Safe Word

PET PEEVE: When patrons move their wine glass while he’s trying to refill it

Iglehart took the creativity that drew him to study web development and print design and implemented it into his new career when he decided that working behind the bar was better than any corporate gig. In 2011 he opened Sweetwater, “the county’s first cocktail bar,” followed by Pour and Famous, which he’s been operating since 2019. Creating a space that evokes an emotion through design is what excites him, and it’s apparent when you step into either bar. Plus, Iglehart prides himself on the bar team he’s cultivated, with some colleagues working with him for nearly a decade. Fellow bartender Erwin Pierre created Safe Word, a cocktail with a great flavor combination that was balanced and in no need of any tweaks. Sweetwater derives its heart and soul from being run by locals, for locals.

“We’re one of the last authentic small brands out there.”

SAFE WORD

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Scotch
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • .5 ounce passion fruit syrup or chinola passion fruit liqueur
  • .5 ounce ancho chili
  • .5 ounce lime

Directions: Shake and strain; serve in a martini glass with a mint garnish.

KRISTEN SHANEYFELT

BAR: Death or Glory , 116 N.E. Sixth Ave., Delray Beach; 561/808-8814; deathorglorybar.com

COCKTAIL: Stop Making Sense

PET PEEVE: When customers put their hands into the garnish container

Hailing from Alaska, Shaneyfelt appreciates our Florida sunshine more than the rest of us, who probably have never experienced minus-70-degree winters. As the lead bartender at the Delray Beach watering hole, she now enjoys creating refreshing cocktails that pair perfectly with our warm weather. With this drink, Shaneyfelt hopes to introduce her patrons to funkier rums, like Copalli, which goes well with the classic citrus and cucumber flavors in this summery cocktail. She’s also focused on supporting sustainable brands. Copalli, headquartered inside Belize’s rainforest, is an advocate for its preservation, and supports the community through its job opportunities. This summer, Shaneyfelt’s team is curating new programming to complement the holiday pop-ups the bar is famous for.

“We always, first and foremost, make sure that we’re sticking to classic recipes and that we’re putting the best thing we can in everyone’s glasses.”

STOP MAKING SENSE

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Copalli white rum
  • 1 ounce Plantation pineapple rum
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • .75 ounce orgeat
  • .75 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 5-6 cucumber slices
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions: Shake and strain, serve over ice in a pearl diver glass and garnish with a cucumber flower and mint.

This story is from the September/October 2021 of Boca magazine. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine.

Christie Galeano-DeMott
Christie is a food lover, travel fanatic, bookworm, Francophile, and she believes art in all its forms is good for the soul. When she’s not writing about the incredible dishes, people and places that capture South Florida's culture and vibe, Christie is irresistibly happy in the company of her husband and a glass of red wine.

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