Meet Your Mixologist: Gloria Pope of Meat Market
Behind the bar at Meat Market, Lincoln Road’s most exciting lavish steak joint, Gloria Pope stands armed with potables aplenty. Pope’s role is to mix up a bevy of innovative cocktails to match the upscale ambiance and reputation, one made famous by Chef Sean Brasel, whose progressive cooking techniques go best with one of Pope’s signature creations.
Born in Amsterdam, Pope’s story is one of travel and luck. She grew up in Spain, but her family is half-English, which unarguably means they love gin and tonics. But, it’s her father who inspired her to become a promising mixologist. “My father is a chef, and loved to make parties – a lot of them,” Pope explains. “He made sure to make a huge show of his drinks, food and, especially, himself, so I guess being in this industry just belongs to me. It’s in my blood.”
While working at an Irish bar in Amsterdam just a few years ago, and scurrying about with trays of pints, shots of Jenever and bites of bitterballen – a Dutch bar snack Pope swears by – she was entertaining thirsty tourists when mixologist John Lermayer slid up to her bar. “He liked me and my energy and offered me a job at Florida Room at the Delano,” she recalls. “He told me he would teach me everything that comes with mixing cocktails – and that he did!” Pope was stationed at the former Florida Room for three years, where she apprenticed under Lermayer and had some of the best times of her life, not to mention stellar mixology lessons.
Working at Meat Market has elevated Pope’s desire to experiment with ingredients. One of her favorite specialty cocktail menus occurred during Art Basel Miami Beach last fall, when she used Pop Rocks, marshmallow foams and caramelized apples to create drinkable art. On the regular, patrons can sip Pope’s cocktails, which are laced with unique flavors like bacon, truffle and juju. Though, toying with liquid nitrogen is still on the top of her mixology to-do list.
Meat Market’s beverage program is all about “classy, clean, sophisticated cocktails,” according to Pope, who notes there are good amount of feminine, sweet and bubbly cocktails, as well as robust, savory whiskey selections. The I Love Gold is a versatile offering with a base of tequila, a pop of cinnamon, citrusy Mandarine Napoleon, sweet honey and a brown sugar rim. For a buzzy aphrodisiac, there’s also the Drunken Oyster Shooter, a shot of chipotle vodka, and a homemade mix of tomato, cilantro, yuzu and jalapeño, alongside a fresh, succulent oyster.
An enthusiastic Pope encourages eager imbibers to head over for a visit anytime after 6 p.m. And, if you’re still up for more after a few rounds of impressive sips and Eurotales, perhaps she’ll join you. Her favorite boozy beverage of choice? “That’s easy: tequila!”
Image courtesy of Meat Market