Drinks specialist Naren Young at work
There’s new talent behind the bar at Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply. The venue has reopened with Naren Young as its new creative beverage director. The Australia native brings plenty of experience and accolades to his post. Under his guidance, Dante NYC in the West Village was named “#1 World’s Best Bar” at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards in 2019. Young himself was a finalist for the organization’s American Bartender of the Year title in 2016 and has been nominated for Tales’ Drink Writer of the Year honor four times. Here’s what he has planned for Miami.
How did you get into bartending? I saw a cocktail being made when I was 14, and it immediately intrigued me. I thought the whole act was really just kind of fun. My mother took notice and started buying me all these cocktail books. I read them all, and it eventually grew into a passion.
What does your role as creative beverage director entail? It involves making sure the bar has clear direction, ensuring that, creatively, it has drinks that have some sort of narrative that fit into the concept of what Sweet Liberty is, which is a genuinely fun, high-energy type of bar.
What’s your overall approach to spirits? I look for quality first and foremost. I make sure everything we keep on the bar is something we truly stand behind. We genuinely have a mix of both small and large brands, but at the end of the day, quality is prioritized before everything else.
Tell us about the new menu. The new menu is broken down into five clear categories: martinis, spritzes, highballs, a legacy list, which regulars of the bar will love, and new-school drinks.
What is the new must-try cocktail? That would be the Florida. It’s simple yet unique, and is built with Bacardi Añejo Cuatro, creme de menthe, a dash of fresh lime and pineapple juice. The pineapple juice is fluffy because it’s created with a high-intensity juice presser that adds a uniquely beautiful texture. I can see this particular cocktail becoming a real Sweet Liberty staple. 237-B 20th St., Miami Beach, 305.763.8217, mysweetliberty.com
The Lounge at Reunion Ktchn Bar
On the heels of its oneyear anniversary (no small feat considering 2020’s treatment of restaurants), Reunion Ktchn Bar is heading into 2021 with a new lounge concept. Located right next door to the eatery, the venue was designed as a spot for pre-dinner drinks, postsupper nightcaps or for those who simply want a more casual, convivial dining experience. A menu designed for grazing includes upscale comestibles such as caviar, Pata Negra ham, house-smoked Verlasso salmon, escargots and steak tartare. In addition to fine wine and Champagne, cocktails include standouts like The Shaman, a mix of shiitake-infused Diplomatico Plana rum, shiitake syrup and Aureo Dulce Añejo 1954 dessert wine. 18167 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura, 305.931.7401, reunionkb.com
Photography by: photos courtesy of the venues