Growing up in Portugal and Long Island, Angelo Vieira grew up around the restaurant industry and learned the ins and outs of food. When he moved to London in his 20s, however, it was there he discovered the endless possibilities that bartending had to offer. Today, he works behind the bar at the renowned Regent Cocktail Club in South Beach and is responsible for the decadent libations at The Mandarin Oriental’s MO Bar.
How did London impact your outlook on mixology?
When I moved to London, there was a big cocktail craze and everybody was making a lot of fresh fruit drinks. I started working for really great bar with thousands, literally thousands of ingredients. I had all these ingredients and things to choose from so I quickly fell in love with the possibilities of the different drinks and flavors I could come up with. When I had the opportunity to create, I immediately fell in love with making drinks.
What’s the oddest ingredient you’ve seen in a drink?
I would probably say a grilled shrimp. The boundaries are limitless and when you start introducing a lot of food items into drinks it becomes pretty out there. Not sure if that will catch on, but it was definitely interesting.
Which cocktail do you prefer to sip on?
My favorite drink of all time is the Manhattan. I’m a huge fan of American rye whiskey, and for a while there rye whiskey was hard to find. In the last 10, 15 years or so there’s been a lot of different companies and whiskey companies making rye whiskey again… for a while people were making it with bourbon because they couldn’t get their hands on rye whiskey, but now it’s back with a vengeance.
What’s the best thing about Miami’s cocktail scene?
Cocktails have been around for a long time and different cities have developed it. I think Miami’s still in its very early stages. That drive, that force that everyone is putting into making the cocktail culture real here in Miami is really what is exciting. I hope it keeps rolling.
Besides Regent and Mo Bar, where do you like to go?
I really like the Broken Shaker. They’re very innovative. They do some good classics, but they’re definitely more progressive. They do a lot of their own herbs and infusing the syrup and bitters and whatnot.
You’ve been in Miami for five years now, what’s your favorite landmark?
My favorite is the beach, by far, the ocean. I like South Beach — right by where i work it’s convenient and it’s great, right on 17th Street and Collins.
MY PERFECT DAY
Hitting the green
I would probably start my day at Miami Beach Golf Course. South Florida, Miami, [it has] that perfect weather, a beautiful day, a perfect course.
I love the Standard Hotel; it’s just a beautiful view of the bay.
Wander the Design District
My favorite restaurant is Michael’s Genuine. I like a lot of the little bar snacks that they have. I love the crispy pig’s ear and their glazed chicken wings.
Explore something new
I’ve never been to Fisher Island and I’ve heard beautiful things about it. They have their own private golf course there as well. One thing I would like to do is to visit and see the island.
Hit the town for food and drinks
I love the MO Bar. The setting is gorgeous, Florida ceiling windows there, the bar — I’d like to start there for some cocktails. Another favorite restaurant of mine is around the corner from there called Zuma.