Fraser Hamilton is a bartender’s bartender. His infectious humor and genuine demeanor keep guests and industry coming back to his bastion. Still, his work ethic is no laughing matter. Fraser’s role at Miami Beach’s accoladed Sweet Liberty is officially “foreign affairs”– meaning, he’s always bar manager, and also a part-time “spiritual advisor and custodian.”

The Glasgow native globe-trotted his way...

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Fraser Hamilton is a bartender’s bartender. His infectious humor and genuine demeanor keep guests and industry coming back to his bastion. Still, his work ethic is no laughing matter. Fraser’s role at Miami Beach’s accoladed Sweet Liberty is officially “foreign affairs”– meaning, he’s always bar manager, and also a part-time “spiritual advisor and custodian.”

The Glasgow native globe-trotted his way to Miami: He’s also worked behind the stick in Edinburgh, London, New York, Martha’s Vineyard, Aspen and The Hamptons, and has toured with fashion shows and award ceremonies. His last eight years have been spent in the Magic City where he’s been the head bartender or bar manager (or both) at DeVito, Mercadito, Blackbird Ordinary, and Beaker & Gray.

His resume has put him side-by-side with the industry’s best. Fraser credits Jamie MacDonald, Tad Carducci, Scott and Andy Gemmel, Dan Binkiewicz and John Lermayer as some of his top mentors. He also nods the now defunct Booly Mardy’s for fueling an unending love for bar craft. “I worked with some very passionate and entertaining people who created the excitement I still have today.”

Fraser has grown fond of strong flavors added to more simple, balanced, and structured cocktails–giving Campari or Pastis, or Smith & Cross, as examples. “I have always loved working with gin and tequila; they generally have a fresh, vegetal component which
add a depth of flavor to a white spirit drink: finding balance while displaying a complexity and depth of flavor, particularly the balance of sweet and bitter flavors.” Sherries and Amari rank high on his ingredient hit-list, too. “There’s a huge diversity and complexity of flavors they can add to any style of drink,” he adds.

When it comes down to it, though, Fraser is all about hospitality. “There is nothing more important than the guest’s experience. It’s not about your twisty mustache, your pocket watch, your tattoos, your ego, or reinventing the cocktail. It’s about making people smile. I care deeply and passionately about this industry. I think it’s important, both culturally and historically. It’s not an art or science, but it has elements of both. In essence, it’s an honest, blue collar trade. You can be given the basic skills and tools by those who train you, but your personality, style, and dedication will make you stand out.”

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