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.