Interview: bartender John Lermayer (The Florida Room)

Bartender Miami


What will it take for Miami to become a great cocktail city, if it isn’t already?

Miami has more great bartenders than we do great bars. We need some owners that are going to be dedicated to two programs, and we just need that level of follow-through. It’s coming, because like I said, we have a surplus of great bartenders who can’t find great bars to work at. It’s the same as any other city. At the consumer’s request for better drinks and better beverage grows, then the owners and purveyors will have to answer that request. It’s well on its way.

It’s been a couple years, so I look forward to getting back there.

Yeah. You’ve got guys like Gabriel Orta, Ezra [Pattek] and Elad [Zvi], the Bar Lab crew is doing great things. Freddy Diaz is traveling. Adam DelGiudice and Paul Sevigny, these are world class bartenders. The world’s starting to recognize what Miami’s contributing.

Ezra and Paul?

Ezra works at Michelle Bernstein’s restaurant, Sra. Martinez. Paul Sevigny works with me at Florida Room.

Who’s a bartender that you’ve never worked with behind the bar that you’d most like to work with?


It doesn’t have to be one.

If I could work a bar shift with anyone, the list would be like this: Dushan Zaric, Erik Lorincz, Eric Alperin, Josh Harris, Julio Cabrera, Jon Gertsen, Jacob Grier and Jackson Cannon.

Where does Jackson bartend?

Eastern Standard in Boston.

What about Julio?

Julio Cabrera works at a place in Miami called Club 50. I always say he’s the best bartender you’ve never heard of.

That would be a good question to ask people in the future. Where and what do you like to drink when you’re not working?

I’m pretty open. I drink a lot. I like beer. I love margaritas. Gin and tonics. Mezcal.

Where do you like to do it at?

In my hometown?


I like to go see Gabe and Elad and the Bar Lab boys at the W Hotel in Miami Beach. Then I pretty much frequent dive bars.

If you could only drink one more cocktail, what would be in the glass?

A Tommy’s Margarita.

Who would make it?

Julio Bermejo.

What’s a great cocktail for people to make at home, and what would the recipe be?

That would be the same thing, the Tommy’s Margarita, and it’s the juice of a fresh lime, organic agave nectar and 100% blue agave tequila. Three ingredients.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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