After closing since March, Sweet Liberty in Miami Beach will finally reopen its doors tonight, Nov. 24, with a brand new menu and creative beverage director.
Renowned bartender and drink writer Naren Young will join the team, taking on the role previously played by John Lermayer, who died unexpectedly in 2018. Lermayer founded the bar along with Dan Binkiewicz and David Martinez.
“After trying a seven-month period of patiently waiting for this moment to come, we really couldn’t be more excited to finally say we’re officially reopening the doors of Sweet Liberty,” Binkiewicz says. “With Naren’s history working with New York Dante and his long-standing friendship with John Lermayer, we really couldn’t think of a better one than him as the next creative director of Sweet Liberty. ”
Young story New Times he was worried about taking office.
“As a close friend of John’s, I wasn’t sure it was the right move and so much emotion was involved, but Dan and David were persistent and said if anyone was going to do it, they wanted it to be me,” Young says. “They knew I would keep the ethos of John’s vision of sweet freedom a priority.”
Young could recently be found behind a bar in Dante, New York. Inspired by the film Cocktail, began studying mixology as a teenager. With more than two decades in the hospitality industry, Young has curated award-winning cocktail menus, held master classes for bar professionals, judged at various world cocktail competitions, and was recognized by him as a top drinker Cocktail stories.
When it comes to his latest project at Sweet Liberty, Young says guests can still expect a fun bar atmosphere with a little more menu elegance.
“It will still look and feel like a bar that everyone has fallen in love with,” he explains.
Photo courtesy of Sweet Liberty
The new menu will be divided into five clear categories: martinis, spritz, highballs, inherited list and drinks for the new school. For long-time lovers of sweet freedom, the inherited list will include cocktails from the original menu, where customers will find Lermayer’s famous piña colada made from a mixture of three rums, pineapple, coconut cream, Jamaican coffee beans and Pedro Ximenez’s float.
While making the menu, Young explored the area of what people drink and what is missing.
“I’ve really started martinis over the last year and a half, so I hope the martini menu will be a hit,” Young says. “My goal is to refine what a martini can be. There’s so much to mention when it comes to service, glassware and the right temperature. The goal is to elevate the experience without making it seem out of place.”
Consider a table martini service for two or four people, along with decorations like olives, onions and apples, to build your own martini experience, which could be complemented by dressed oysters served in whipped cream and caviar.
Young hopes the “new school” section of this menu will transform Sweet Liberty. Features include frozen sangria made from Lambrusco, cherry beer and passion fruit; and a 1940s Florida cocktail drink made from rum, cream, lime and pineapple made from a quick juicer, which will create a soft and stunning cocktail similar to Garibaldi, Young’s signature drink at Dante.
Drinking is not the only thing you will need a facelift. Award-winning James Beard chef Michelle Bernstein has updated the menu with seasonal dishes. New additions to the menu include galbi ribbed pinchos with chili paste served with shishito paprika and yuca french fries; tuna crudo with bloody leche de tigre, crispy garlic and toast points; and Lipton onion sauce with caviar and homemade chips.
“Sweet freedom has long had a special place in my heart,” Young adds. “This crew is my family. So for me, it’s a fitting professional move, but also a fitting tribute to our friend John by continuing his legacy on this special bar he has created.”
Sweet Liberty. 237 20th St., Suite B, Miami Beach; 305-763-8217; mysweetliberty.com Monday to Saturday from 16:00 to midnight, Sunday to noon to midnight.
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