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Mixing Things Up

Simon Benstead and Ross Graham bring a healthy twist to DIY cocktail culture. 

Simon Benstead and Ross Graham at Soho Beach House, the hotel that proved a source of inspiration for their Miami Cocktail Co. brand.

Two guys walk into a bar in Toronto and… eventually decide they want to bottle their own cocktails in Florida. So begins the story of Simon Benstead and Ross Graham, the founders of Miami Cocktail Co. The two fitness-minded entrepreneurs, who met in Canada while attending college, have always believed great mixology need not equal extra pounds, so earlier this year they launched what they claim is the world’s first 100 percent sugar-free, carb-free line of alcoholic cocktails.

“We got sick of drinking vodka sodas,” says Benstead.

Mixing ingredients to come up with their ready-to-serve concoctions was half the fun. To ensure flavor wasn’t sacrificed in any way, Benstead and Graham use coconut water in their piña colada, as well as brewed green and black teas and organic lemon in their Old Time Sweet Tea (more flavors are forthcoming). The fact that the drinks are bottled and distilled in Florida hasn’t hurt, and neither has the brand’s packaging, which was designed to reflect the Magic City’s 1920s cocktail culture. Soho Beach House’s Tiki Bar offered particular inspiration in this regard. “We spent a lot of time there,” says Graham, with a laugh. “Developing... researching...”

Nice work indeed, but Miami Cocktail Co. is no part-time operation. Graham has years of sales and marketing experience with brands like Moët Hennessy under his belt, while Benstead has worked at Merrill Lynch and had a stint on Wall Street before landing in Miami six years ago.

“We want to grow the brand organically,” adds Graham. “By mid-year we’ll be looking at major chains, then New York and L.A.”

“It’s all about patience, persistence and passion,” adds Bernstead. “We know we have something special.”

There’s a recipe for success to raise a glass to. 

Benstead and Graham’s Hots
Soho Beach House, Latin cuisine, old-school hip-hop

Benstead and Graham’s Nots
Fist-pumping, high-calorie cocktails, insecurity, Bieber Nation