Meet Your Mixologist: FDR’s Justin D’Angelo

By Tracy Block

Now that you know all about the transformation of FDR, it’s time to cozy up to the remodeled hot spot’s lead mixologist. Meet Justin D’Angelo, the 26-year-old cocktail master behind Delano’s signature nightclub’s bar top. D’Angelo hails from The Light Group, a company known notoriously for its restaurant and nightlife residency in Sin City. And though D’Angelo’s nights on the debauchery scale may have teetered a bit since his move to the Magic City, he’s up for the challenge to satisfy the thirst of a new crowd of parched, eager night owls.

Miami relocating a Vegas cocktail guru — how bad could that be? D’Angelo says he entered the field completely by accident, just three years ago, but he’s been a part of The Light group for more than five years. Originally stationed at Stack in The Mirage, D’Angelo was first tempted to join The Light Group for its rapport. “I heard that The Light Group was the best in nightlife and dining,” he says.

At his new home in Delano’s buzzing bunker, D’Angelo has created a specialty cocktail list — based on the lounge’s namesake of course — featuring seven handcrafted sips, all topping out at $20 each. Priced at the higher end of the SoBe leader board, his concoctions are quite innovative. Utilizing a mix of top shelf liquors and liqueurs, fresh fruits and homemade purees, D’Angelo’s unique recipes are inspired by none other the FDR era. Try D’Angelo’s favorite, the title cocktail, the FDR, a sweet, tart blend of Appleton Rum, fresh lime, St-Germain and brown sugar, “I love using elderflower,” he says of St-Germain. Other themes include the syrupy, refreshing New Deal, with Bulleit Bourbon, peach puree and ginger beer, and the Eleanor, a bitter and fruity glass with Plymouth Gin, muddled strawberries and lemon juice.

Drawing inspiration from his own travels to places like Prague, D’Angelo has learned some tricks of the trade. The scotch enthusiast – who prefers a 15-year-old single malt Springbank – knows the way to an unimaginable drinker’s palate is through like-minded taste testing. “If they’re not willing to try something new,” he says of stubborn sippers, “I figure out exactly what they’re into, and go from there.” And, D’Angelo’s process is a meticulous art from the get-go, from the kind of ice used to the perfect finishing garnish.

Of his new creations, D’Angelo refers to the seven sips as “fun” and “easy” cocktails. “At FDR, we don’t over think cocktails,” he says. “We just make them taste really good.” Though it’s hard for D’Angelo to pinpoint exactly why he’d prefer mixing at SoBe’s famed underground club staple, as opposed to pouring drinks poolside, one thing’s for sure, “They’re definitely both very different than Las Vegas.” And, while this seasoned mixologist does believe in the necessity of both a bartender and mixologist (one just cares more about creating cocktails, he says), “Mixologists are important here, because people in Miami need more than just a Vodka Red Bull.” Or, at least they will after he’s done pouring for them.

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  • Chris

    Very proud of you Justin and your great talents! Miami is lucky to have you.
    Love your Dad.

  • Chris

    Very proud of you Justin and your great talents! Miami is lucky to have you.
    Love your Dad.

  • doreen

    Absoultely you !!!  You had a talent way before you knew it. It was waiting for the right city and baby you got it.
    Congrats and we are very proud of you.
    Aunt Doreen and GG

  • doreen

    Absoultely you !!!  You had a talent way before you knew it. It was waiting for the right city and baby you got it.
    Congrats and we are very proud of you.
    Aunt Doreen and GG

  • Brea

    Good job!! Keep up the good work Justin. We are all proud. Xo

  • Brea

    Good job!! Keep up the good work Justin. We are all proud. Xo

  • Hittheroadjack

    Have had some of your creations. Perfect for getting the party going or just kick back and relax. Way to go.
    Koby, always appreciate a good drink!

  • Hittheroadjack

    Have had some of your creations. Perfect for getting the party going or just kick back and relax. Way to go.
    Koby, always appreciate a good drink!

  • Sboucher18

    What’s with the Zoolander lips? I cant believe your old and successful, so proud of you Jut! Aunt R said congrats and that she is pregnant. LMAO!

    Love you and your candy a$$,
    Cousin Sharon

    *********************************************************************************

    Hi Justin-
    Grandmom and Grandpop are proud of you! We love you to death, we cant wait to see you. Lots of luck!

    Grandma &Grandpa

  • Sboucher18

    What’s with the Zoolander lips? I cant believe your old and successful, so proud of you Jut! Aunt R said congrats and that she is pregnant. LMAO!

    Love you and your candy a$$,
    Cousin Sharon

    *********************************************************************************

    Hi Justin-
    Grandmom and Grandpop are proud of you! We love you to death, we cant wait to see you. Lots of luck!

    Grandma &Grandpa