Behind the Bar – Ryan Goodspeed

Over our first few months of blogging, we’ve introduced you to Miami Tastemakers and secured you exclusive reservations at the Chef’s Corner. Today, we kick off a new series that takes you Behind the Bar with some of our city’s best bartenders. Just as our city’s culinary scene has grown more diverse over the past few years, so has the cocktail culture. No longer solely a hotbed for overpriced, oversized, and downright nasty drinks (I’m looking at you, Ocean Drive), the Magic City now boasts a plethora of fine drinking establishments from the sophisticated cocktail club, to the craft beer hangout, to the hipster wine spot, to the underground dive bar. So, step up and pick your poison #MMTM readers… Cheers!

Ryan Goodspeed, Beverage Director, The Genuine Hospitality Group
Ryan Goodspeed is originally from central Massachusetts, but began his career behind a bar in California after driving out west to play beach volleyball in Santa Barbara. After a few years, Ryan was looking for another sunny spot to call home and went to visit some friends in Miami who one night took him to eat at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. The next day, Ryan applied to work with chef/owner Michael Schwartz and the rest is history! He currently oversees the beverage programs at Michael’s Genuine, Harry’s Pizzeria, and The Cypress Room – all members of The Genuine Hospitality Group of restaurants. Ryan learned the business from bartenders of an older generation whose poise and character rubbed off on him. He won’t be spinning shakers on his palms or lighting the bar on fire; he will however satisfy your thirst and leave you wanting more.

When did you know you wanted to be a bartender/mixologist?
I grew up working on a farm. We drank a lot of beer and talked a lot about going to bartending school ’cause it seemed cool, and yes, we would meet girls. When I finally went, I found that it was fun and came easy to me. In my third year of bartending in college, I grew tired of simply ‘slinging booze.’ I started designing/writing cocktail menus. It was then I realized the position could be creative and you could still make money and people thought you were cool because you made fancy cocktails. I was hooked.

What are your favorite and least favorite drink trends right now?
Favorite Trend – Gin & Tonic ​​
Least Favorite – Rising costs of Single Malt Scotches

What are your favorite drink/food pairing combinations?
Clam boil/bake and beer.
IPA and Pig Ear Snack at MGFD.
Pinot Noir and most things.
Rose Champagne & oysters.  

What are some of the staple items in your cocktail kit?
Shaker set, jigger, spoon, muddler, knife, towel, toothpicks, and a lighter. For a larger bag, throw in a butane torch, cordless drill, and jumper cables.

What’s the most creative drink you’ve ever prepared?
Housemade Sarsaparilla at The Cypress Room. It took weeks to get the combination of ingredients and times of infusion correct.

What’s your go-to hangover remedy?
The ocean. You need to be in it for about 30 minutes floating. It doesn’t ‘cure’ the hangover, but you work through a lot of stuff mentally and that helps you relax, which for me is the first step. Next… green tea over ice.

If you weren’t a bartender, what would you be?

Other than Miami, what’s your favorite cocktail town?
San Francisco. Seldom a bad drink anywhere. Or setting for that matter.

What is your favorite thing about living in Miami?
Water everywhere.

Mitch & Mel

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