Tucked away inside Downtown Miami’s Kimpton EPIC Hotel, there’s a lounge that’s home to one of the most passionate bartenders you’ll ever meet. At Lilt Lounge, Spencer Taliaferro takes his craft seriously, and after hearing him talk about it, don’t be surprised if you feel just as passionate.
During a recent tasting at Lilt, that’s exactly what happened. Wowed by his knowledge and drinks, we left Lilt with a greater appreciation of cocktails and rediscovered a bar that we hadn’t really visited since its grand opening. Shame on us for taking so long to come back.
Here are a few things you need to know about Lilt: It’s a scratch bar, so ice, syrups and other items are made in-house. They also have a partnership with Paradise Farms, so expect fresh produce in your quality cocktail. If it’s your first time, head straight to the “Barkeep’s Originals” section, where you’ll find a wealth of interactive and whimsical cocktails including the First Class: Makers Mark bourbon, Aperol, Amaro and lemon juice in a bourbon smoked glass and clarified ice block. Yum.
As you’ll quickly notice, there’s as much emphasis on presentation as there is on flavor here — you’ll be opening Instagram in no time. Case in point: Out of the Box, a playful and refreshing tequila drink that foregoes a cocktail glass for a box; it’s a fun and novel way to enjoy a tiki-style libation. “In Ice We Trust” is another menu section you need to check out — if only to see Spencer pull out his enormous collection of ice. There’s pink lemonade ice, pineapple and cilantro ice, mezcal-infused mango ice … the list goes on. As the ice melts, more flavor is released into the cocktail, so it’s a different experience each sip.
There’s no shortage of drinks on the menu — or off. Ask Spencer for his off-the-menu creations, and you might end up with something like the Illumination, a futuristic take on a pisco sour that looks like a science experiment gone oh-so-right. You could also end up with a Banana Snackery, a lively variation on a daiquiri that’s served inside a bell pepper. Whichever classic drink you’re in the mood for, Spencer knows how to take it to the next level.
And that’s the beauty of Lilt: Each time you walk in, you don’t know what to expect. It’s an adventure, and Spencer is there to guide you and make sure you enjoy yourself. Spoiler alert: You will.