Explore Miami's best destinations through the eyes of Chivas Brand Ambassador Matthew Cordiner.

THE CHIVAS BRAND AMBASSADORS are located in various countries around the world, and their job is to inspire people with their youthful enthusiasm around Chivas Regal and Scotch whisky. Explore the unique contrasts and venues in different cities through the eyes of those whose job is to know the best.

FROM SPEYSIDE TO STATE SIDE. Whisky is a passion for some, but for me, it’s my calling. Having grown up in the heart of Scotland’s Speyside, I almost feel like it’s the passion for whisky, rather than blood, that runs through my veins. A few years ago, my summer job as a distillery tour guide planted the barley seed in my mind, and soon after I decided to pursue a career in the Scotch industry. Becoming a Brand Ambassador for Chivas Regal has been a dream come true – who could say no to a job that revolves around Scotch, socialising and travel? After one year as a UK Brand Ambassador, I made the move from Speyside to State Side.

ILOVEMYJOB. Over 12 amazing months based in Miami’s South Beach I got to know every nook and cranny of this fantastic city. My job was to share the world’s first luxury whisky with bartenders and whisky lovers across the south of the Sunshine State, and no two days were ever the same. I’d go from back to back training sessions for Miami’s top bartenders to hosting a high-end tasting event for the city’s VIPs. What could be better than a year of sun, sea and whisky…  

Miami-Beach
Matthew enjoys a glass of Chivas on Miami's South Beach.

MIAMI. “Party in the city where the heat is on, all night on the beach till the break of dawn. Welcome to Miami. Bienvenidos a Miami.” Being a ’90s kid and having grown up in the North of Scotland, these lyrics from Will Smith’s ‘Miami’ were sadly all I knew about the city before I arrived. 

A CHANGING CITY. With so many cool new neighbourhoods emerging all over the city, it’s unlikely you’ll want to spend “all night on the beach.” Still, you can’t go to Miami without visiting South Beach with its amazing selection of chic hotel poolside bars, world-renowned nightclubs and, of course, some of the best cocktail bars I’d ever been to. Sweet Liberty, The Broken Shaker and Employees Only are all definitely worth checking out. But what struck me most about Miami is the contrast between its various communities and scenes and how they still complement each other, resulting in a city that truly has everything to offer. Whether you’re looking to seal a business deal in the Central Business District; a fun night-out in South Beach; a spot of inspiration from the Art Deco Historic District; or a blast of Latin American energy in Little Havana, it’s hard to leave Miami wanting more. The blended culture is also evident in the fusion restaurants, art exhibits, music festivals, and even Miamians’ way of doing business. So let’s get up close and personal with two new (yet inherently different) neighbourhoods… 

BRICKELL. Brickell has become Miami’s new Central Business District and one of the largest financial districts in the USA. It boasts one of the world’s most iconic and densely populated skylines, which is constantly changing as new skyscrapers pop up every year. And with a host of glittering towers and skyscrapers, what do you get? That’s right: A bunch of new rooftop bars to explore. 

A JAPANESE GARDEN. For a true fine dining experience in Brickell, look no further than La Petite Maison. The sophisticated French-Mediterranean restaurant has not only some of the best food but also some of the best cocktails in Miami, my personal favourite of which is the Kosui No Haru. Originally created for our Chivas Masters global cocktail competition, it combines Chivas Regal 18 Year Old with ingredients typical of a Japanese garden. The beautiful balance of fresh Japanese flavours complement the dark chocolate and wisp of sweet mellow smoke offered by the whisky.

VIEWS FOR DAYS. After dinner, travel a few blocks to the EAST Hotel, and take the elevator all the way up to Sugar on the 40th floor. At this rooftop bar and garden you’ll enjoy delicious cocktails and Asian tapas whilst looking out over one of the best panoramic views of Downtown Miami’s skyline and waterways.

WYNWOOD. Naturally, we all need to escape the hustle and bustle of city life every once in a while, and for this, you should head to the Wynwood arts district. The thriving arts community is home to Miami’s top urban galleries and the infamous Wynwood Walls. This permanent outdoor gallery displays epic murals by some of the world’s most renowned street artists. Seriously, prepare to have your mind blown. The walls are constantly changing, so there is always something new to see every time you visit. The artistic creativity found here is mirrored in its culinary offering, being home to some of the city’s most awarded bars and restaurants.

Wynwood
Wynwood Walls always presents a good photo opportunity. 

AN EXTRA TWIST. As the name suggests, Beaker & Gray is the perfect marriage of bar and restaurant – a bartender’s ‘beaker’ for mixing drinks and chef’s ‘gray’ spoon for serving. Here you’ll find some of Miami’s top bartenders coupled with one of the city’s largest back-bars, so you’re sure to find any cocktail that takes your fancy. Mine is always an Extra Old Fashioned; the twist on the classic cocktail features Chivas Extra, a brown sugar cube and bitters, poured over a huge ice cube and orange zest to garnish. Beaker & Gray is also a great late-night stop if you’re peckish on a night out as they serve tasty food until the early hours of the morning.

BeakerGray
The "Dragon's Blood Panna Cotta" at Beaker & Gray, a dessert inspired by "Game of Thrones".

“BIENVENIDOS A MIAMI.”
One of the things I love most about Miami is its melting pot of Latin American culture – a crucial element of the blend of this city. Give your taste buds a treat at one of the many fusion restaurants, such as Peruvian-Asian or Japanese-Mexican, before you dive into the epitome of Latin nightlife at El Patio. With its low-key shabby-chic look, live music and affordable cocktails, you’re guaranteed to have a good time as well as experience the Latin American influence on Miami’s identity.

THE END. “Miami, my second home...” Will Smith’s lyrics ring true more than ever now. I had an unforgettable year in my adopted second home, sharing my passion and love of Chivas Regal, checking out some of the world’s hottest new bars, and most importantly, making friends for life in the city’s awesome and inspiring bartender community. Next stop: Cape Town. Watch this space…

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