13 Questions is a weekly series where we ask chefs 13 questions to get to know them outside of the kitchen. Miles Macquarrie is the co-owner and bar manager at Kimball House.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a rock star, a professional skateboarder, a recording engineer/producer in a studio, a homicide detective, and then eventually I fell in love with bartending. I’ve been bartending for 10 years, doing cocktails for about six.
What’s your hangover cure?
A good breakfast, lots of water, and one of Octane’s Americolas [espresso and Coca-Cola on ice].
What’s the weirdest thing a customer has done in your bar?
When I was working at the Brick Store, this guy came into Leon’s, and he had cocktails and was weird as hell. He was weirding customers out, chugging Sazeracs. He went to Brick Store afterwards and was drinking beers, and somebody asked him for a cigarette and offered him a dollar. He took the dollar, then was maniacally laughing and lighting the dollar bill on fire.
When you aren’t bartending, what do you do for fun?
I have a vintage motorcycle; I like riding down Ponce through the city. My wife and I like to cook dinner at home, and we like to go bowling sometimes or go see friends at other restaurants and bars.
What’s the one cocktail you’re tired of making?
I’m sick of everybody wanting mezcal in everything. I love it, but I think there’s a lot more nuanced drinks and spirits that are out there. And the best mezcals are too expensive to put in cocktails.
I assume you see a lot of dates at Kimball House. What was your most awkward dating experience?
We get a lot of Internet first dates. You can tell because sometimes it starts with a handshake or an awkward hug. But we had people who wanted to get engagement photos taken here because they met here. I met my wife at Brick Store when I was bartending some 10 years ago. The first time we made out was at original Trackside before it burnt down.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure fast food?
Chik-fil-A, I just get a classic number one with a Coke.
What was the last TV show you bingewatched?
House of Cards
What’s your favorite dive bar in town, and what do you order there?
Probably 529, I’ll go there to see bands. I drink Coors Banquet.
Do you have any pet peeves?
I hate it when people are late—that mostly pertains to staff. I get pissed off in traffic.
What would be your death row cocktail?
A Sazerac. I always keep it on the menu. That was kind of what got me interested in classic cocktails in general, that was the “holy shit” moment I had. Greg Best, when he was at Holeman and Finch in the first six months, made me one. I was just getting into whiskey at the time, and it’s such a simple offshoot of drinking whiskey.
What’s your favorite place to visit on vacation?
I have two different types of vacations I like: the go-go-go drink a lot, food research one. So New York City, I just love that place so much. I also really like chill tropical beach vacations. I grew up in Daytona Beach, so we like New Smyrna Beach, the shark bite capital of the world.
What was the last good book you read?
Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold is just amazing. He’s basically a genius. He not only has these really cool techniques, but he’ll break down the chemistry of all these products. That is an incredibly innovative book as far as the cocktail world goes.