By Mary Mullaj
Photography by Craig Denis
Casa Altamar in Miami Beach is inspired by Kübler and tequila OCHO, tradition and quality, but above all, by Right.
The individuality of the Altamar products is exemplified by Casa Altamar in Miami Beach, with an interior designed by Nelson and his interior decorator mother, Ana.
W.L. Lyons Brown III is known for doing things a little differently. During his 17-year tenure at Brown-Forman (the conservative, family-controlled spirits company founded by George Garvin Brown in 1870) his out-of-the-box ideas often caused controversy. He left the confines of his family’s company to launch his own, Altamar Brands, where he could utilize the unique business tactics that he had been unable to implement at Brown-Forman. Brown’s enthusiasm for under-appreciated and misunderstood ultra-premium brands has resulted in an exceptional lineup at Altamar: Kübler Absinthe, Tequila Ocho, and Right Gin. The first absinthe allowed entry to the States, Kübler Absinthe has been faithful to its traditional recipe since 1864, making it the only absinthe still being produced that Van Gogh could have consumed in the late 1800s. This formerly forbidden, potent beverage promises to be an adventure. In a like manner, Tequila Ocho is wrapped up in history and quality. It is the world’s first single-estate vintage tequila. Extreme levels of attention to detail are present throughout the handcrafting process; bottles are hand-numbered and stamped, and the vintages vary according to the terroir, just like wine.
As for gin, the winding history of the spirit is intriguing. Nelson Giacometto, director of Altamar brand development in Florida, mentions its illustrative history as “the original cocktail spirit.” However, he admits that “gin hasn’t been a cool drink since the Great Gatsby,” due in part to its distinct, often harsh, taste. Right Gin has taken that point as fodder for its inspired transformation. The liquor has been carefully modernized, resulting in a product that is more desirable and drinkable. By combining botanicals from around the world, the resulting elixir tastes less of juniper and more intensely of citrus and pepper. It is a highly mixable, smooth, clean, crisp gin that is reminiscent of vodka. For the best results, Nelson recommends drinking it with exotic fruits and veggies, because the citrus and pepper tones intensify and transform the other flavors in the cocktail.
The individuality of the Altamar products is exemplified by Casa Altamar in Miami Beach, with an interior designed by Nelson and his interior decorator mother, Ana. They sought to convey the spirit of the brands with a decorative scheme inspired by Tequila Ocho, Kübler, and most of all, by Right Gin. Elements are taken from the crest on the Right Gin bottle; antiques and key pieces mimic the character of the liquor with leather motifs. A very famous gin drinker inspires the office, dubbed the Hemingway Library. From Tequila Ocho comes vintage Mexican elements and teak furniture, while Kübler, which is Swiss, led to the baroque antiques that are scattered throughout. The result is simultaneously impressive and comfy, and certainly never boring.
Along with similar properties in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, Casa Altamar is one creative way that Altamar Brands spreads the word about its ultra-premium spirits. The home is the ideal setting for a number of exclusive events, from intimate dinners hosted by Giacometto (who also lives on the property) to full-scale events. Giacometto enthuses that the company is “building a mixology cocktail culture,” starting with Casa Altamar and Right Gin.