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October 2020

Let’s be honest, nothing can scare us more than 2020. However, if you are determined to go out and celebrate the spooky season, here is a list of places offering great cocktails for all of you MonStars!


Starting Monday, 26th through Halloween, sports fans and cocktail enthusiasts can enjoy a Devil Wears Nada ($13). Whether spooky visitors desire a trick-or-treat, this exclusive drink hits sweet and savory notes making it very easy drinking. Bar Manager Johnny McConnon wanted to put an elegant spin on the Negroni while also giving it a hint of hocus pocus. The Devil Wears Nada features Tullamore D.E.W. XO Caribbean Rum Cask, Campari a dash of Grenadine rimmed with a smoked citrus zest which is then garnished with two devilish peppadew peppers and a skull-shaped ice-cube. Tullamore D.E.W. finishes their whiskey in casks that previously held Caribbean rum which gives the cocktail an essence of fruit while maintaining the classic Tullamore D.E.W. character. Taste the cauldron bubble during their quarantined headquarters party on Halloween night!

IMG 4198Two promotion companies are joining forces this Halloween at Downtown Miami’s chic and sleek venue, Black Market. Girls Room, a new women-owned platform dedicated to promoting artists in the music industry and Red Rabbit Presents, a veteran in Miami’s entertainment and event scene will team up for some hauntingly good vibes. Following-up on last year’s successful Nightmare on 1st Street party, 2020’s theme will be “Quarantine Headquarters.” On October 31at 9 PM, this upscale sports bar will convert into a devil’s playground where guests are encouraged to sip on their exclusive Halloween cocktail ‘Devil Wears Nada.’ Upstairs, quarantined guests can discover a secretive spooktacular soirée — enter if you dare! Throughout the wicked night, quaran-tunes will be played by resident DJ Emkay. Full food and bar menu will be available. Please see the below for more details on the devilish cocktail. This event is free to attend. Table reservations are strongly recommended. Call (305) 400-8023 to reserve. For more information, visit www.BlackMarketMia.com. Black Market is located at 168 SE 1st St, Miami, FL 33131


Save the date for this Halloween Takeover, enjoy a night of enchantment and mystery with Bartenders guests from Beaker and Gray as they mix while you mingle…. responsibly. The team will be featuring epic Halloween- themed libations to kick of the Holiday weekend. Expect to drink some deliciousness like the Lychee Heyeball, Boo Carré, Pumpkin Painkiller, and Le Zombie, featuring some pretty dope brands like Pierre Ferrard, Plantation, Citadelle, and Redemption Whiskey.  Wednesday 28th, from 6- 8 pm.

IMG 4033TEQUIZTLAN – South Beach

The Mexican Restaurant located in South Beach will be hosting a Skull and T-Shirt Live Painting by Alvin Hernandez @alvinsurreal , get a complimentary T-shirt, or participate in a raffle to win a painted Skull. Tickets are given with the purchase of Tequila Herradura o El Jimador Cocktails or Herradura Tequila Flight. Saturday, Oct 31, 6-8 pm


Join The Butcher shop for an early celebration this Friday, October 30th with complimentary Tequila Herradura Ultra Shots 6-8p. 



1-800-LUCKY BRINGS YOU THE PUMPKIN PATCH TO YOUR GLASS- Wynwwodlucky halloween cocktail

In the spirit of the fall season, 1-800-Lucky is serving a childhood pastime in a cocktail. Bar Manager, Paige Diehl is highlighting everyone’s favorite autumn ingredient – pumpkin. The ‘Pumpkin Patch’ ($13) s inspired by pumpkin picking during her youth and her favorite coffee drink, the iconic PSL (pumpkin spice latte). It’s crafted with Crop Harvest Pumpkin Vodka, the Spanish liquor Licor 43, and a touch of coconut cream. Diehl describes it as the perfect spiked treat for the holiday. The exclusive cocktail will be available on Tuesday, Oct. 27th through November 1st.

BARSECCO – Brickell

Come for Brunch and stay for an elevated experience, Barsecco will feature specialty Cincoro Tequila cocktails, piñata, and more! The first 23 customers will get a special surprise. November 1st. from 2-4 pm


La Adelita Tequila is having featured cocktails exclusively at Chottomatte for Dia de los Muertos celebration on 10/31 from 7-11 pm!  

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Soul Taker
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Shiso Boo-zy
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Vampire Ritual

SHISO BOO-ZY: La Adelita Tequila Blanco, pineapple⁠ juice, yuzu lemon, agave, egg white, basil leaves, shiso leaves, edible flower, wasabi. 

VAMPIRE RITUAL: La Adelita Tequila Reposado, Chambord Liqueur, passion fruit puree, lime juice, agave, filthy cherries, lemon twist.

SOUL TAKER: La Adelita Tequila Reposado, Del Maguey Mezcal Vida, demerara syrup, orange bitters, Angostura bitters, orange peel.

LONA COCINA & TEQUILERIA SPECIAL-Ft.LauderdaleWhatsApp Image 2020 10 24 at 6.13.35 PM

From October 30th to November 1st you can enjoy the “Black Magic Margarita” All day.

 PS: Don’t miss the Day of the Dead Sunday Brunch on 11/01

Black Magic Margarita

▫️ Volcan de mi Tierra Tequila

▫️ Lime juice

▫️ Agave nectar

▫️ Black cocktail shimmer


If you are looking a family celebration, kids are welcome at Cantina Mexican grill at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Key Biscayne, you can find it next to the pool area where they’ll be hosting kids crafts from 6 -10 pm and specialty cocktails by Volcan de mi Tierra Tequila

KCULL- Calle 8

Embrace Mexican Tradition by learning the meaning of this celebration by visiting  KCull in Calle 8 where they’ll be hosting a Dia de Los Muertos conference lead by Paloma Dueñas. Receive complimentary welcoming cocktails by El Jimador and stay to see the Altar. There’ll be Skull and T-Shirt Live Painting. Get a complimentary T-shirt or participate in a raffle to win a painted Skull. Sunday Nov 1, 4-6pm.

Screen Shot 2020 10 26 at 10.40.01 PMGET ESOTICO FOR MAHALOWEEN – North Downtown

Mahalloween is back with Zombie Night!⁠ 🧟

Celebrate Halloween the Esotico way with an exotic twist of handcrafted cocktails, endless tropical chow, and live music from Joe’s Coconut Trio.⁠

OCTOBER 31st.  8 PM 





BAR RITA – Ft. Lauderdale

Bar Rita is hosting a Pumpkin Carving Contest and Halloween celebration with a photobooth and specials cocktails by Volcan Tequila. The best pumpkin will win a incredible prize. Wednesday, October 28th, from 7- 9 pm 


Take a roll at Miami’s favorite entertaining destination and stay to celebrate with exquisite cocktails with Cincoro Tequila Cocktails, Piñata, and Surprises!

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Vampire-rita by Thirsty Bartenders


If you rather stay home and watch some horror movies while eating candy and drinking some boozy potions, take a look at Thirsty Bartenders and Cocktail Uncultured for some inspiration!


1 ounce tequila blanco
 ½ ounce triple sec
 1 ½ ounce coconut cream
 1 ounce lime juice
 ½ ounce blackberry schnapps
 4 blackberries

 * Rim your glass with black salt
 * In your serving glass muddle 1 blackberry and add blackberry schnapps.
* Fill serving glass with crushed ice.
* In a cocktail shaker add tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and coconut cream.
* Shake for 10-15 seconds
* Strain mixture down the side of your serving glass to create the creepy effect.
* Garnish with blackberries!

Reservations are required in some of these venues to continue their commitment of exceeding expectations pertaining to COVID-19 guidelines and providing a safe & healthy dining environment.⁠

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Cocktail Uncultured Creators Uri Sacharow, Eric Vincent, and Kyshali Ramirez strive to take the mystery out of the cocktail experience. A wonderful idea presented by Sacharow and fulfilled by the trio, the key characteristics of Cocktail Uncultured classes are entertainment, education, and empowerment. For just $25.00 a person, cocktail novices and esteemed professionals alike can enjoy one or more of the five courses which increase in difficulty and excitement from one class to the next. Sacharow, Vincent, and Ramirez make creating drinks more accessible, enjoyable, and collaborative. Those who take their classes are sure to have fun and eliminate anxiety about ordering drinks. Students can expect to have a newfound confidence in themselves as well as a deeper appreciation for the craft. Sacharow, Vincent, and Ramirez also use their platform to positively impact their community and support those most affected by the pandemic. Cocktail Uncultured donates their proceeds to individuals, industries, and charities in need. 

How did Cocktail Uncultured get started?

KR: It was a fruit of our times. Uri started Cocktail Uncultured when everyone was out of work and we were all starting to do more virtual stuff. We realized that people enjoyed drinking at home. Cocktail Uncultured was born to help out of work bartenders. The tips and everything that we made was donated to bartenders in the community. Once everything started opening up, and people started getting jobs, we realized that it would be a good business opportunity for all of us to come together and push forward with Cocktail Uncultured.

US: At the onset of the pandemic, we had a lot of friends and family who were in the hospitality industry and who suddenly found themselves furloughed or completely out of a job. I am lucky enough to have a day job on top of my cocktail hobby. I was in a place where I could help my friends and family in some regard. I started teaching online cocktail making courses for businesses, business people,  and professionals. 100% of the proceeds went to friends, family and industry professionals who were suddenly in need. Cocktail Uncultured grew from there. I am so glad to be able to bring on two good friends, Kyshali and Eric, who have twenty plus years of knowledge and background. 

EV: I was happy to sign up with Uri because we realized that it is difficult for anyone to come off the street and get a personalized experience in bartending and industry knowledge. We all enjoy learning and teaching, especially behind the bar, and this seemed like a natural segway to keep the interactions alive. The whole point of our company is to take the mystery out of what is in our glass. It allows the guest to be better informed so they can make better decisions and understand why they like/don’t like things. 

How do you find people to support? Discuss who receives Cocktail Uncultured’s proceeds. 

US: As for who gets the money and where the money goes, it was very easy when we first started. We had local bars and friends. It was simple but as it went on we realized that we had to have more organization. The United States Bartenders Guild works with a lot of different charities that we have been speaking with them about how to get involved. As we move forward, it may not be just about the industry but other volunteer groups. We want to continue offering something to the community because something is better than nothing.

EV: We are also looking at where we can expand. We are planning on donating to Everglades Angels which is a dog rescue that saves abandoned dogs in the everglades. They are 100% volunteer-based. The dogs are either at foster homes or rented kennels at two different veterinary offices so the medical and care costs are all covered by donations. The most important thing is giving back to the community. 

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How has being a bartender influenced your new role as the creators of Cocktail Uncultured?

KR: I create cocktail menus for the bar program that I run. I am still bartending and managing a bar so I can see the world of bars from an operations perspective. I see what it costs to make a cocktail and what it takes to create an experience. It is good to have a bartending experience to translate it to the screen. I can tell people, ‘Hey, if you’re doing this at home, this is how we think it will work for you in a way that is not expensive.’ It is good to have someone like me to give them those guidelines on what kind of modifiers to purchase if you want to make classic cocktails.

What does “Cocktail Uncultured” represent?

KR: Cocktail Uncultured is taking the mystery out of what is in your glass. It’s empowering people to make their own cocktails at home and to not feel intimidated when they go out to a bar. They will be able to read a cocktail menu, order a drink, and know what to expect. They will be able to communicate with the bartender. They will be able to enhance their experience and recreate it at home. 

US: Cocktail Uncultured helps guests not only evolve their palette, but also to understand why something tastes good. It is about understanding what goes into making a good cocktail and what goes into making a cheaply made cocktail and knowing the difference. A lot of people are not confident in ordering something off the menu. We’ve all been in situations where we read the menu at a cocktail bar and couldn’t pronounce a lot of the ingredients, let alone know what they were. Part of taking out the mystery is understanding what these esoteric ingredients add to cocktails and what the difference is between the 4,000 different types of rums. You should be able to make the best drink you can and feel like you can without any shame. It doesn’t have to be an ironic process to enjoy something. 

EV: Cocktail Uncultured breaks down drinks for people who will never work in a bar. It’s for people who will never be involved with alcohol except for enjoyment in their own homes and restaurants. So how do we present making drinks to them? How do we make this experience accessible to them? We deconstruct the stigma. 

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How do your mixology classes stand out from others? Tell us some characteristics of your class: curriculum, audience, purpose. 

KR: We have a very structured setup and agreed upon recipes. Our classes also go up in levels: level 1, level 2, level 3, level 4, and then level 5. There’s a curriculum but it is still very fun. You start at the beginning where we expect you to know absolutely nothing. Level one is like here is a bottle, here is a lemon, here is some sugar. Very basic. Before people take a class, they get a menu so they know what they will be making. They get a shopping list and they can go and purchase what they are going to need for the class so there are no surprises. There are instructions on how to make the syrups that they are going to need beforehand. They will be able to set themselves up for success and then we go over the technique once we have the live class. We go over how to make the drink and how to serve it. 

US: We start with the fundamentals. We talk about the cocktails that are, more or less, the basis for all other cocktails that you will find. It’s called Building the Five Bottle Bar (Tequila, Rum, Gin, Bourbon, and Vodka). We build a cocktail with each liquor and from there we build on that information. We start including things like garnishes and discuss what they add to cocktails. We talk about what syrups do to cocktails and different types of sweeteners, juices, bitters, and aromatics. We take you step by step. The big thing is that we want people to feel safe and like there are no judgments. In every class, we say that as long as the drink you want is in your glass, you have done it right. There is no right or wrong answer. 

EV: We each have our own focus and our own style. I had it ingrained in me to dial in bartending techniques and I also want to constantly learn the classics. This way I am able to understand what drinks work or don’t work and, more importantly, why that is the case. Kyshali will go into great detail about wine and whiskey. She loves bourbon and rye. We each have our own different backgrounds and templates. We love experimenting too. Uri has been doing that recently. He and Kyshali love making clarified ice. That will also be one of the classes. Clear ice photographs beautifully.

What else can be expected from these classes?

US: In the classes, we go over the reason behind not only what a perfectly balanced cocktail does for the experience, but also the history behind why these cocktails have been phenomenons worldwide. You don’t see them everywhere because they’re easy to make and they’re tasty. There is a reason behind where they came from, what they had to do, and the experiences people have had with them throughout time. We are liquor based edutainment

EV: I would say that we keep the classes organic. It was Uri’s idea to not overwhelm people. I’m very technique-driven so I can get too laser-focused. We make sure that when we teach people that nothing is confusing for them. We show them exactly how to make the drink and that is all they have to worry about. From there, the classes get more involved. The first five classes are to get people interested and not scare them away. 

What has been the most memorable experience so far?

KR: The community has honestly been the most memorable experience. When it all started it was just friends helping friends. Now we have our little cocktail community. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with other people. I love sharing my ideas with my community through the Cocktail Uncultured Newsletter too. When people subscribe to our newsletter, they get to hear from us directly. They get recipes that we want to share and little hacks on how to do stuff at the home bar. It’s fun because it builds camaraderie in the community. 

To contact Cocktail Uncultured or follow their journey:

Follow @cocktailuncultured on Instagram.

To sign up for a class with Cocktail Uncultured and to receive their newsletter, go to cocktailuncultured.com.

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Last Saturday, October 10th, 2oz Miami Bar Magazine hosted a private tasting event at La Santa Taqueria, featuring CHAWAR Andean agave. A high altitude raw agave spirit from Ecuador, harvested by a group of indigenous women who maintain the ancestral tradition of collecting the sweet swap of the Agave. The guests were able to taste Chawar Blanco and Reposado, the first two expressions harvested by the “Mishkita” cooperative lead and operated by women, and double distilled in Yaroqui, Ecuador. Co-founder Eliot Hogan delighted all attendees not only with the history of his product but also surprised everyone with 2 new expressions that have not yet been officially launched on the market, Mezcalin and Rosado (a Reposado aged in red wine barrels for 1 year). In addition, everyone received a complimentary Artisanal mask from Ecuador as a souvenir. After tasting the delicious dishes of La Santa Taqueria, participants finished the soiree with special cocktails featuring CHAWAR on the Citadel Rooftop.

We want to thank everyone present for their support, if you are interested in tasting this amazing spirit, please contact Florida Brand Ambassador Evan Marcus at Evan@andeanagave.com, you can buy CHAWAR at Shop Chawar now and get a 20% discount with promo CODE: 2ozmag.

If you are interested in sign up for Mezcalin or Rosado waiting list you can send us an email. Cheers!

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From October 15th to November 15th, we invite you to follow the culinary journey of Estrella Damm and enjoy the excellent promotions in around 50 restaurants in Miami and Broward. The initiative is created to encourage South Floridians to support restaurants while enjoying the creations of the Best Chefs of the city. Restaurants with dishes from different parts of the world joined Estrella Damm to create a prix fixe menu specifically to pair with the Barcelona beer. If you aren’t ready to dining safely and in a socially distanced manner, you can always enjoy these meals for takeout.

Go to www.estrelladammjourney.com to check the list of participant restaurants.

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Camille Austin is known affectionately as “La Loba Alpha”. Her ambassador team created this befitting and memorable nickname to distinguish her and cement her as an invaluable, appreciated member of the pack, and the first Casa Lumbre ambassador stemming from her previous work with Montelobos Mezcal. Austin, the Best International Brand Ambassador Spirited Award recipient at Tales of Cocktail 2020, brings creativity, integrity, and ingenuity to the Casa Lumbre team. Camille shows pride in her Mexican roots and infuses her culture into everything she does for the company. Identity and long lasting relationships are an integral part of Camille’s approach to being a successful brand ambassador. Her strong sense of cultural heritage and willingness to connect with others makes her the perfect example of how to navigate the hospitality industry with purpose, passion, and poise.

What is your connection to the hospitality industry? How did your journey begin?

I grew up in beautiful Cancun, Mexico. I was raised in the Mexican Caribbean, in a tourist town that is not a traditional old city in Mexico. In fact my hometown just recently turned only fifty years old. It is not a part of Mexico that has so many centuries of culture, but it is a town that was born from and thrives off of regional tourism and the hospitality industry. I moved to Miami after Hurricane Wilma hit Cancun pretty badly. It was in Miami where I learned how to be a bartender. I started working in bars and restaurants and spent six exciting years in Miami where I ‘cut my teeth’ in the Magic City’s bars and restaurants. I fell in love with cocktails and hospitality. The hospitality element is something that has always been a part of my character. I’m an innate connector and have always loved to make people feel welcome and to go the extra mile to create unique, memorable experiences. It’s been a natural evolution to get to where I am now and I still use hospitality skills every day even through my work as an ambassador.

What is the “hospitality element”?

If it’s not in your nature, the hospitality element is a skill we can be open to developing and strengthening over time. Inevitably, we deal with different people, different cultures, different perspectives and different customs on a regular basis. The more open we are to being compassionate to those customs and cultures, then the more welcoming the experience we can provide to others.  

What led to your role as a Casa Lumbre Brand Ambassador? 

I have been working with Casa Lumbre brands for nearly eight years. Our founders were my regulars back when I was a bartender in Miami so I am fortunate to have known them for years. It leads back to the foundation of what we do as ambassadors and bartenders, our work is relationship based. I built a friendship over time with our brand owners, Danny Schneeweiss and Moy Guindi. Later, I moved to New York to open a restaurant in the City. It was always a dream of mine to live in New York City and I finally got to experience that. As soon as we were up and running with the restaurant in New York, Danny and Moy, continued to come and visit me during their trips. It was a relationship that was built over a long time and I looked forward to every time they came to visit me. A few years later, they were preparing to launch their new brand of Mezcal called Montelobos. They asked me to be their ambassador and the rest is history. A she-wolf was born.

Camille Headshot Alain 2017How do you differ from other BAs?

I think we all, in some aspect, have the hospitality element in us. What makes us each unique is how we go about using it. The most successful ambassadors lead with their hospitality first. They’re good listeners, observers and compassionate. The more authentic and genuine we can be towards our own passions, the better we can tell our story. One of my deepest passions, since I was a girl, is the arts. Though my career has been professionally coming up in the food and beverage industry, I have always been passionate about theatre, storytelling, music, and visual arts. Taking the experience of moving away, becoming an adult in the U.S., and being away from home, I was connected to Mexico again when I started working deeply with mezcal. I set out to channel those emotions through the story of Montelobos and decided to tell that story by creating a character, who was directly linked to my own self – “La Loba Mezcalera” (the Mezcal She-Wolf). I felt connected to my roots, my Mexican cultural roots. I knew early on that I had a mission to expand on this connection. I wanted to find a genuine way of telling the story of my culture and sharing that passion with others.  

What are Casa Lumbre’s values? How do these values intersect with your principles and standards for yourself as well as for the industry? 

Through Casa Lumbre, I have had this opportunity to grow not only as a professional but as a person as well. Everyone around me on our team understands that we are in a people based business and it’s important to listen to one another’s views. Teamwork is essential as without it, we cannot achieve sustainable growth. When I started working with Montelobos, Casa Lumbre was just being born. It has been an amazing experience to be a part of the dream since its inception. We believe in individual growth and development, but especially in growing together as a team. The foundation of what Casa Lumbre stands for is that we are a Mexican company that seeks to bring the sensorial, biological, and cultural heritage of Mexico to the world through our spirits. Whether that means creating Mezcal brands that are about the union of century-old heritage and innovation, whether it’s about making a Whiskey from heirloom corn from the birthplace of corn that is Mexico, we are true to our roots. We are inspired by our roots, but we are also inspired by the future. That is what makes us tick.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

As an ambassador, I do a little bit of everything. What I love the most about my job is the opportunity that I have to collaborate with incredibly talented and creative people.  It’s also very rewarding to see my own crazy ideas come to life. I am often thinking of new ways of doing things and our company has always given us the confidence to try things out. If it doesn’t work, we figure out ways to make it better. 

Camille Pared Rosa

What have you learned about liquor that fascinates you? 

There are so many things that I’ve learned about spirits while being on this side of the business. Many different elements go into bringing brands to life. Spirits are agricultural products and that is how we view them at Casa Lumbre. We begin by thinking about the raw material that we are using and how we are sourcing it. Second, we remind ourselves that spirits are a cultural product. We think about how these spirits and beverages are brought to life and where they came from, about their economic importance to a community and culture. Within the category of Mezcal, for example, there are so many rural towns all over Mexico and one of their main sources of income is Mezcal. Spirits create an emotional connection and bring together those who sip them. Aside from the physical effects that they give us, the essence of our job is about coming together, sharing and spending time with those closest to us. Finally, spirits are a marketing product. There are so many layers that go into creating them. The role of the ambassador is to now give them life. A successful ambassador is multifaceted and understands a little bit of all of those perspectives. We are the spirit of the spirit, even when it is necessary to be that voice from the field and to give feedback where needed. 

What are some challenges of being a BA? How has COVID-19 impacted the industry?

We are all living in unprecedented times. Just as the bar and restaurant industry, and so many other industries were not ready for this pandemic, neither were we. There is a responsibility to use our resources, platform and voice to support the entire industry. It has been challenging to try to figure out how best to do that without knowing what is next. It is a very similar challenge that we are all experiencing. I go back to that instinct that we have to be together. We must not be divided, but instead stay together. We must listen, talk and help each other learn, help each other understand, and find solutions together.

EVE09998You just received the Best International Brand Ambassador Spirited Award at Tales of Cocktail. What was it like to receive such recognition? Who has inspired you along the way?

I am very grateful for being recognized with this award but it is not achieved without strong support and mentors who have each inspired me in different ways to continue to grow. I’ve always been inspired by Charlotte Voisey’s diplomacy and elegance. She has such a clear understanding of how to express herself elegantly. She listens to absorb all aspects and is disciplined and consistent. Consistency is something we don’t talk enough about when discussing ambassadors. This is a tough 24/7 job and we are embodiments of our brands and portfolios. We need to be able to tell that story 24/7 and handle ourselves with grace. Adaptability is another important ambassador quality, adaptability to our many different audiences while remaining authentically us. My friend Jaime Salas taught me about owning who we are, owning our culture, and our identity. He is so proud to be Mexican-American and communicates that in everything he does. He also taught me about taking my creative ideas and bringing those ideas to life with meaningful and memorable actions. Iván Saldaña, our master distiller, has helped me grow as a person and as a leader. Ivan helps me realize everyday one of the best qualities to have is to recognize the strengths in others and put them together to make a more powerful entity. 

What other achievements have you had or hope to have in the future?

I would love to have a culture mini-series! That’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’d love to have some sort of TV show and hopefully through my work with Casa Lumbre, I’ll get to do something like that one day. I would love to dive deep into the food and beverage micro-culture of Mexico and also explore Latin America. 

How may we follow your journey?

You can keep up with Camille Austin’s journey by following her on Instagram @lalobalpha

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For 15 years, Jorge Ochoa worked as an entertainment producer and performer of events throughout the American Union. Then, the unthinkable happened: a global pandemic arrived and caused an economic disaster that impacted businesses and families across the globe. Covid-19 forced most industries to stop working. As a worldwide issue, the virus also influenced all foreign activities and mass events on the national level. Ochoa and his wife Erika Cardenas are Mexican. Cardenas is from Michoacán. Ochoa is from the city. Because he had to rebuild his life in a country unique to his own, Ochoa sought to reinvent his life with his wife by his side. Together they spent five long months figuring out how to organize their spending money, maximize their efforts, and protect their savings during a time of financial uncertainty.

Luckily, Ochoa and Cardenas considered a product that they could move with or without the pandemic. They also wanted a product that they could sell anywhere. The couple discussed a new business that would represent them and carry a message that came from them. This discussion led to them coming up with the name Ice Pops 24k 100% Natural. They both collaborated on the classic palettes with an original recipe made with organic fruit. Their two children, an 8-year-old and a 15-year-old were their tasters. With the help of their children who tasted all their recipes and gave their opinion during each step, Ochoa and Cardenas created more than 21 flavors to start distributing their delicious product.

Ochoa and Cardenas went to the market this past August with a vision of delighting thousands of people with their unique and different flavors. They hoped that their product would lead them to open their first shop to sell their popsicles to the public. As of this October, they will open their doors soon and reach the palate of potential customers during this highly anticipated Launching Process.

You can contact them at (786) 569-4193 or (305) 508 -2174. Visit their website www.icepops24k.com for more information.

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The Hospitality Industry Reimagined Security Trust (T.H.I.R.S.T.) Group became a necessary resource for bartenders and businesses as a direct result of the Coronavirus’s negative impact on the economy as well as because of the financial stress it has placed on everyday citizens. Few businesses and individuals have the means to sustain themselves for long periods of time so they have been left disenfranchised, disillusioned, and disoriented. Many establishments and those within them have emergency funds, but no one could have adequately prepared for the devastating financial burden that accompanied the virus. The T.H.I.R.S.T. Group was created because bartenders, and other members of the hospitality industry, needed a last line of defense in order to survive layoffs, closures, and an absence of a guaranteed income. 

Former lawyer Nate Whitehouse is T.H.I.R.S.T. Group’s Co-Founder and Co-Owner/Operator of The Drifter Spirits. Whitehouse, along with T.H.I.R.S.T. Co-Founders Claire Bertin-Lang and Maxwell Britten, used his law background to connect people in the industry to legal resources and offer advice on filing insurance claims. T.H.I.R.S.T. Group does not offer legal representation but the organization is able to connect bartenders and businesses to free legal counsel or legal counsel that offers services at a nominal fee.  It is important to note that T.H.I.R.S.T. Group is about more than financial security, it is about morality, justice, and advocacy during a universally challenging time. Businesses and their employees were essentially left to fend for themselves. Rather than accept being left behind, these establishments and individuals must advocate for themselves and their right to be supported in lieu of their financial hardships. T.H.I.R.S.T. Group gives these individuals a chance to demand better for themselves from their respective state legislators during these strange times and long thereafter the pandemic has met its natural end. 

During a conversation between 2 OZ Magazine and T.H.I.R.S.T. Group’s Eric Vincent, Vincent expressed a sense of urgency and called for members of the hospitality industry to file their insurance claims.  Though filing one’s claim does not necessarily secure a favorable outcome, it is important to file a claim in order to create a paper trail, to establish legitimacy and to be heard. “As far as we have seen everyone across the board is getting denied,” said Vincent, highlighting a trend of injustice. According to Vincent, the two reasons that people are denied is because the pandemic is not covered in the insurance and because most say that the virus didn’t shut down the industry but it was instead the governors. “The pandemic is not covered because the Coronavirus is not a physical thing that is causing loss or damage,” explained Vincent. “To that point, there is a case for that. One case that is giving us ammunition is in Missouri. There are a hair salon and a few restaurants and bars where they went before a judge and said that it [the pandemic] is actually causing physical damage.” 

This “physical damage” accounts for strict cleaning guidelines, the limitation of patrons, the inability for businesses to assume normal operations, etc. The Missouri Case is important to follow because the judge agreed that there was an argument to be made and sent the case to trial whereas most claims are initially denied upon discovery. The case in Missouri also helped others figure out the phrasing that is necessary to have their voice heard and to have their claim argued in court. 

T.H.I.R.S.T Group’s main goal is to get the word out and make sure individuals in the hospitality industry are filing their insurance claims. Many insurance companies tell brokers that filing a claim is a frivolous effort, however, people should file regardless of the belief their claim will see court or justice. “As long as you file,” said Vincent, expanding on this point, “you’re in the system. You’re in the books. If you ever go to trial or file a lawsuit or if something changes in our government system, you need to have that claim.”

The Hospitality Industry can save itself. It is up to those within it and those who cherish it to save it from total extinction. Together our voices resound throughout a community and inspire change. Progress is possible if members of the hospitality industry and its friends and patrons demand from state legislators that places like bars, which function as community centers and gathering places, get the respect, and support that they so deserve. It is imperative that local bartenders and businesses file their insurance claims and get in touch with T.H.I.R.S.T. Group to turn the tide and ensure that bars and restaurants survive this devastating time. 

To learn more about the T.H.I.R.S.T Group, go to https://www.thirstgroup.org. You may also DM ask_me_amaro on Instagram if you have additional inquiries regarding how to support local bartenders and businesses. 

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Santa Teresa Rum Ambassador Alex Noriega knew he wanted to become a member of the hospitality industry by the age of sixteen. Noriega did not know the word “Brand Ambassador” then, or where exactly he would fit in the industry, but that simple dream situated him for success. When he went out to eat with his family, Noriega would look at liquor bottles at places like Coral Gables’ Houston’s and dream of one day working for a brand. It was because of his hard work, his inability to accept the word “no,” and his natural talent in the industry that ultimately led to the actualization of Noriega’s dream to work for Bacardi. 

How did you get started in the hospitality industry?

I ended up working at Houston’s when I was nineteen years old. My sister worked there and she got me a job. I couldn’t believe it. I truly believe in the power of thinking and in the power of working at something until it comes true. During the first year, I hated working at Houston’s. It was a very militant, hard-core style. But I grew to love it when I got good at my job. I met my mentor Matthew “Matt” Kuscher who is currently the owner of Local and Spillover in Coconut Grove as well as Kush in Wynwood. He left Houston’s and promoted me. Houston’s became Hillstone. Once I got behind the bar, I realized that this was something I was good at. I left Hillstone because I felt like my career was stagnant and I wanted more.

What was your journey as a bartender?

I thought I was a good bartender until I went to South Beach and got into Mixology. I had no idea what Mixology was. I started seeing all these tools, different spirits, cures, and syrups. I realized that I was a tier two, tier three bartender. It was a whole new world. There were so many flavor profiles. I started becoming a tier-one bartender. I learned a lot from the people around me. That’s when I met brand ambassadors. I would never see these guys at Houston’s or Hillstone and now I know why. It’s a corporate restaurant so you wouldn’t see brand ambassadors there. Brand Ambassadors are mostly found in craft bars.  

Where did bartending lead you next?

As a bartender, I started competing locally. I got involved in a chapter called the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) here in Miami. I would compete in small local competitions for the experience. I won these little competitions and gained some clout. I saw a whole new world where people took bartending seriously. I got really into it. I met more patrons and bartenders. I got offers from part-time ambassadors. Luckily, I had good mentors who told me to stay away from small brands because they weren’t going to pay me or they would offer me the world but only sign me on for six months. That was the reality of the beast. I worked at several bars. I read. I wrote. It wasn’t until 2014 that I started getting more confident in my skills. I started opening a bunch of spots. I was part of the main crew that opened up the bar, Beaker & Gray in Miami. In 2016, I also started working at Thompson Hotel where I met a cocktail mentor. 

In which competitions did you participate and how did your participation influence your career?

My first big competition was the 2015 Hennessey Academy Competition. I crushed it and won first place all around. After the competition, I kept getting offers but ultimately wanted to work on my craft. I kept bartending until I was able to find the right place. The Bacardi Legacy Competition came up and I made it to the regional semi-finals. That was my biggest competition ever. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the regional finals. But there the ambassador role started to change. I became an account manager to Rémy Martin which is similar to the brand ambassador role.

How did you get started as a Brand Ambassador for Santa Teresa Rum?

During my three month stint, I got a call from Bacardi.  In January 2017, Bacardi picked up a new rum which was Santa Teresa Rum. They hired me in June. I was a local brand ambassador with them. In the past three years, the brand has grown tremendously. I started locally and then became a state ambassador. I grew the brand tenfold in the first year. I created thirty cocktail menus in thirty different restaurants. I am now the senior brand ambassador. 

What is it like to work for Santa Teresa Rum? What do you enjoy the most about your job (education, partnerships, events, etc.)?

I love this brand. This brand speaks to me because I had a troubled childhood. With this brand, we smile back at adversity. We have a project called Project Alcatraz. My mentor, Ray Raymond, has been with the brand for ten years. He told me about Project Alcatraz when he interviewed me for the job. Project Alcatraz was founded in 2003 and it is a project that rehabilitates gang members. It all began when gang members broke into the hacienda to steal guns. They got caught but the CEO of the company, Alberto Vollmer, believed in second chances. He gave the gang members an ultimatum: work for me for food, water, and a place to stay or go with the police for stealing from me. The gang members took the deal because these were the slums of Venezuela. They loved working for Alberto and had a chance to change their life. Now, we help these guys by combining vocational training, formal education, and psychological assistance. We also play sports; We play rugby. It shows companionship, strength, and togetherness. To this day, we have helped in over twenty prisons in Venezuela. We have rugby youth leagues in the hacienda to keep kids going. We have sustainability projects. Our main focus is on the community. We have another project called Casa Blanca. We rebuild the houses in neighboring villages. A lot of the guys love it so much that they help for free and now it’s safer there. 

What have you learned about Rum that fascinates you? (the flavor, the product, the company, the industry…)

I love that rum is that it’s the rebel of all the spirits.  Think about it: Pirates drink rum. 

How has COVID-19 affected you personally and professionally? 

When the pandemic began, I was on paternity leave. It was a challenging adjustment but we were able to figure it out. For me, I’ve been able to focus more on myself. I read more, work out, and spend time with my wife and kids. I smile back at adversity. 

What’s a significant goal of yours?

My goal is to become a mentor. I believe in paying it forward. I would love to see someone break out and become someone huge in the hospitality industry. I want them to be like “I would like to thank Alex for helping me get this Michelin Star” and for me to tell them “hey, you did it. I just gave you the tools.” That’s my dream: being a mentor to one or several people. I love to teach which is why the role of ambassador fits me. I am an educational role model. You’re never going to make anything on your own. I believe in never stopping learning and helping others. If you are a smart guy, help the younger ones. I don’t know who an ignorant person helps. 

Want to follow Alex’s journey? Follow him on Instagram @albyinthezone. 

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If you ask Chef, Bartender, and Entrepreneur Jon Mendez where he wants to be in five to ten years, he will have an answer ready for you: doing exactly what he is doing right now. As a businessman and conscious member of society, Mendez understands the importance of the small moments that comprise a meaningful experience and a well-lived life. Because he lives a purposeful life, he also instills a strong sense of purpose in his hospitality company Luxury Over Everything. For Mendez, a powerful message is crucial in making his mark on the world and leaving behind a legacy of which he can be proud. The key to his success? He is a man that cares about the details and in caring about the details, he ensures the high quality and satisfaction that accompanies choosing luxury over everything. Choosing luxury over everything essentially means choosing the best out of every moment in life.  

How did you get started in the Hospitality Industry? Tell us your story.

I grew up in Tampa, Florida. I’m Cuban and Puerto Rican. A big part of our culture is gathering around food and drinks and sharing stories and cracking jokes. Whether it’s a holiday or once a week thing, we love to be around each other. This is where I learned about food. I was always curious about the craft of it. I love to eat and to be a part of that gathering. I also used to cook for my mom and myself because she worked. Then, at my high school, Wharton Highschool, there was a culinary academy where I was exposed to the professional culinary world. I learned the details of service and hospitality. During my high school tenure, we went around the state and toured schools like Johnson & Wales. We did pro-start culinary competitions. I did on-site and off-site catering events. We were running a restaurant out of a highschool. I loved it and ended up going to culinary school in Upstate New York after high school. I went to the Culinary Institute of America. After two years there, I went to FIU for the Hospitality and Management program. 

What inspired you to become a wine expert?

I was intrigued by the wine industry. I was intrigued by the different regions, methods, and how wine is paired. The biggest ‘aha moment’ for me happened at the Culinary Institute of America. I paired vanilla ice cream and a dessert wine called Pedro Ximénez Sherry. It was so simple but I was shocked by the way that you can try one element by itself and then you try them together and completely elevate these factors that you didn’t see before. I wondered if that could be done with other types of food and it turns out you can! I was fascinated by that so I started studying wine, spirits, and cocktails. 

In addition to being a chef and wine expert, you are a mixologist and entrepreneur.  How are these roles related? How do they vary?

I have been in Miami for seven years working at many different restaurants. I have worked as a sommelier, a beverage director, a bartender, a server, a food runner, and a restaurant manager. I’ve done a bunch of different private events and met fantastic people in this industry. I’ve gotten great insight and it has been a great ride. It’s awesome to use the knowledge of the culinary side to help me understand how things work on the beverage side.  What is great about this industry is that it is always evolving. No one knows everything. There are innovations. I’ll forever be a student of the craft. From the entrepreneur perspective, I want to find a way to monetize what I consider my passion. It has always been a dream to do what I love for work so that it does not feel like work. I also like sharing a message that is a message of purpose. Every human has a purpose in this world. This purpose is usually sharing a message with other people or finding a way to benefit humanity and the people around them to leave a mark on this world. For me, I leave my mark through a great dish and by spreading the message of nutrition, mental wellness, friendship, and equitable society. If I can find a way to put together companies or enterprises that can sustain my lifestyle then that’s what I am going to try to do. 

Your company is called “Luxury Over Everything”. What inspired this name? 

Yes, so this is a funny story. The story goes back to one of my best friends whose name is Jordan Hamilton. He’s an entrepreneur himself. Jordan and I were on vacation when we were younger, about nine years ago, and we were at a vacation home with his parents. We’re playing beer pong on his balcony. We’re drinking cheap beer because it’s just what we had around. We invited Jordan’s dad to play with us and he refused to drink Miller High Life. He was like, ‘I am not playing with this beer. You better get me something better. Get me a Stella or something.’ We got him a Stella and then he decided to play. Later, Jordan and I were cracking up and joking about it. But then we realized that Jordan’s dad wanted to make it comfortable for him to play by elevating his beverage. So then you put that in the perspective of other things. Take the smallest detail. It can make a difference. Over the years, if you hung out with me, you would hear that phrase: luxury over everything. We would get together and we would yell it. If something was awesome we would yell, “luxury over everything” and we would just be happy. 

What is your vision for L.O.E?

I want to create a platform where I can do hospitality consulting and pop-ups. I have a lot of friends who are chefs and mixologists. We love to get together and do beautiful dinners. You just come in and have a good time and let us curate the experience. L.O.E. offers that. Of course, luxury is subjective. As a professional in the hospitality industry, we have to get to know the people around us so we can make that small tweak, find that small detail, to create a valuable experience. I want to collaborate with different businesses and organizations to help people take a few extra seconds to add detail and make their day. If a place feels like they’re lacking magic, or if they need fresh eyes, I want to work with them and give them feedback. I want to tell them what people in this area like and encourage them when they’re doing good things. Adding the human factor in different ways when considering service can make a big difference. It makes people feel like they’re being taken care of. That’s what I want to do with Luxury Over Everything hospitality. 

What services does L.O.E offer?

-Hospitality Consulting for hospitality industries and other people-oriented businesses such as retail shops, doctor offices, tax offices, etc. 

-Cocktail Program Curation

-Pop-up Dining/ Dinner Series

-Advocacy/ Awareness Branch

What does L.O.E. mean to you? What personal and professional values have you instilled in the company?

Luxury over everything is the culmination of all my different professional ventures. It is a means for expanding the purpose that I want to share with the world. This is my way of adding value to society. Some personal touches that I have added to the company are making sure that what I do drives a message. I am not just trying to make money or throw parties. I want to make sure that everything that I do has a message behind it. 

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How have COVID-19 affected you personally and professionally? 

I was working as a bartender at the Fontainebleau in a fine-dining steak house called StripSteak. We had just had the Superbowl which was nuts. Then, COVID happened around Music Week. Everything had an abrupt halt. We lost all our events. I got laid off and I haven’t been back since. It was good to have the time off to disconnect and rest. I also had to wonder, ‘What if the industry doesn’t come back?’ I was going to have to figure something out whether it was going to another industry or starting something on my own. I spent my time talking to people and doing research. I wanted to expand my knowledge and figure out other avenues that I could take to support myself and grow. My girlfriend, Solange, was also laid off. She worked with Southern Wine and Spirits. I will probably go back to the restaurant and bar scene and have L.O.E on the side. Solange will go all-in with her sustainable garden company @herbgardenco which I will help her with as well. 

If you had your own drink, bar, or business, what would it be like and why?

My dream is to one day open a hotel. I want to do the same thing that I am doing now for the rest of my life. I want to own a place where people can gather around great music, great conversations, great food, great drinks, and great people. 

What are you currently working on? What’s next for Luxury Over Everything? Any pop-ups coming soon?

I am working on getting private gigs. I am finding different people who are local who I can work with. I am also working on creating content. I want to create cool videos. The content will be relevant and maybe include some new stuff that people haven’t heard of. As far as pop-ups, I have something going in the works, but it is not concrete yet. I have two things going on and if they go well, I will announce them closer to the end of the year. 

How may we follow your journey? Do you have any social media accounts or websites that you would like to share?





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