As Miami Food Pug put it best, when you slide across the bar from Will Thompson, you get more than a transaction — you get an experience. And this mix master certainly mixes it up. After quenching the tastes of those thirsting for creative crafted cocktails at the Broken Shaker and Ball & Chain, this summer season, Thompson has shaken up the menu at The Local Craft Food & Drink for libations filled with local fruit, spices, and herbs.
In collaboration with his apprentice, Mikey Albuerne, they put together a refreshing cocktail program filled with beat-the-heat infusions, bitters, and tonics, with what The Local called "an undeniable Miami flair with subtle New York City sophistication." A few on the list? Thompson's "Back That R'ass Up" is a twist on a pisco sour using a raspberry basil reduction, as well as Gra'it and Fernet Branca whipped with egg whites.
The "Sunshine State of Mind" is made with Monetelobos Mezcal, spiced peppercorn botanical mango reduction, green chartreuse, and just a hint of mint. The spirit-forward "Best Part of Waking Up" is rich and complex with housemade smoked cedar, and tobacco bitters. Still, those are only a few of his game-changing concoctions transforming the cocktail industry.
Curious to see what makes The Local's "gifted booze-slinger" tick? Here's a sip of what he had to say when we asked him six, quick questions.
The Quick Six
Foodable: How did you first get your start in the industry?
Will Thompson: I was just 15 years old and a busser at a busy TGI Fridays at The Falls in Miami.
Foodable: What has been your most surprising or unexpected pairing?
WT: Beets with anything!
Foodable: Favorite local spot to grab a drink after work?
WT: If it’s not The Local, it’s The Bar just a couple of doors down.
Foodable: If you could only have one drink for the rest of your life, what would your go-to choice be?
WT: Wooooow. That’s like choosing a favorite child. Tequila keeps me going. (Sorry, Jame-O.)
Foodable: What was the biggest career challenge you had to overcome to get to where you are now?
WT: That it’s not about what I like, it’s about getting to know my guests and molding each experience to their likes. They're in front of me to be taken care of, and that’s what we have to do.
Foodable: What advice would you offer to others looking to follow in your footsteps?
WT: Get involved in the cocktail community. Continued education and participating in events and contests are only going to make you better. And don’t be afraid to ask questions or take direction! I was very lucky to have the mentors I had in this field.