Meet Your Mixologist: Michael's Genuine Food & Drink's Ryan Goodspeed
Widely considered responsible for bringing the farm to table movement to Miami, Chef Michael Schwartz's Michael's Genuine Food & Drink has been serving simple, delicious seasonal fare in the Design District since 2007. This philosophy extends to every aspect of the culinary experience at Michael's from pastry to, of course, cocktails. Charged with mixology, beverage director Ryan Goodspeed works with a forager who scours local farms in Homestead twice a week.
"He provides me with a list of what's available. We work with seasonal fruits, herbs, and vegetables," Goodspeed says, explaining that the menus are constantly changing. Sometimes ingredients are in such small supply that they only appear on the menu for a day or two.
One of Goodspeed's favorite ingredients? "We've got some really good local honey in Miami," he says. This honey is infused with espresso and mixed with Chivas 12-year Scotch, lemon and soda in the Scotsman cocktail.
The drink menu is designed with the kitchen in mind, from the high-volume nature of a restaurant to creating concoctions that pair well with light or savory dishes. It's also a source of inspiring flavor combinations. In particular, Goodspeed notes pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith's use of blackberries with basil or blueberries with tarragon.
Although strawberries had a short season this year, Goodspeed says, they were of great quality and especially sweet. The Strawberry-Basil Caipirinha is a good example of a fruit and herb pairing on the cocktail menu. As spring approaches, he looks forward to getting his hands on ancho chili peppers for candying and kumquats.
With a beverage background rooted on the West Coast in Santa Barbara, Goodspeed has seen the mixology movement evolve over the years from a time where everyone was ordering Cosmos, and the Mojito hadn't made it past Cuba. He's observed the same attention once preserved for local wineries or craft breweries shift to mixology with the farm to table movement affecting subtle twists to the revival of the classic cocktail.
So where does this leave the future of mixology? Goodspeed sees the road verging in two different directions — one toward molecular cocktails where the restaurant is transformed into a laboratory, and the other towards simplicity. "I'd like to see a shift back to less is more," Goodspeed says. "Where a cocktail has no more than five ingredients." This sentiment echos the restaurant's name and its very philosophy: genuine.