Michael Norat is a cocktail genius. Born in Miami to Cuban and Puerto Rican parents, he moved to Puerto Rico at age 11 and started acquiring cocktail knowledge early. He won the World Class competition for Puerto Rico in 2015 and went on to represent the island in South Africa. As his reign comes to an end, he took some time to reflect on his success and growth over the past year. His confidence, presence and grace are evident. His knowledge and mixology mastery is at an all-time high and I think the best is yet to come. I think the most interesting thing Michael took away from the competition were new perspectives. Everyone in the competition was at the top at their game and was bringing new and different realms of experiences to the competition from all over the world. In the words of Michael, “I took so much away from the competition, the people and culture in Africa, lifelong friends, new techniques, and even new spirits”. Michael shared with me two new cocktails for spring. One is from the competition last year. The Good Hope Cocktail was inspired by the different cultures and the flower season in South Africa. The flower season in South Africa is stunning imagine fields upon fields of flowers as far as the eyes can see. One of the main ingredients in the Good Hope Cocktail is Rooibos tea the most famous tea in South Africa. In South Africa, it is common to prepare rooibos tea in the same manner as black tea and add milk and tea to taste. Other methods include a slice of lemon using lemon and honey instead of sugar to sweeten. I present to you the Good Hope Cocktail and the Perfect Primavera a cocktail, perfect for all things spring and green:
Good Hope Cocktail
2 oz. Zacapa Rum
¼ oz Navan Cognac (vanilla cognac)
Combo of three teas:
This is a “blazer style” cocktail and served warm. Blazer cocktails are flamed (set on fire), then the alcohol is exchanged between two mugs and it looks like a stream on fire. ¡Salud!
The Perfect Primavera
3 muddled green grapes
2 oz Tanqueray 10
¾ oz Tiki Falernum
¼ oz St Germaine
¾ lemon/lime juice
Splash of zucchini/basil soda
2 drops of Orchard Street bitters
This cocktail is a perfect spring cocktail as it celebrates the harvest, seasons, its green and delicious. You can catch Michael at Santaella Tuesday-Saturday in La Placita crafting delicious cocktails.
Thanks so much to the ‘The Butterfly People’ in Old San Juan for letting us shoot these beautiful photos in their beautiful garden.