The cocktail world has lost another star, friend, and mentor. Jon Lermayer was found dead in his Miami Beach apartment on Wednesday (6.06) evening according to multiple sources. Lermayer was just 45-years-old and is survived by a son.
Lermayer was pioneer of the early Cocktail Renaissance with deep bonafides that carried him into the contemporary era. He was celebrated by cocktail enthusiasts for his balanced drinks, immaculate service, and deep knowledge of champagne. To those in the industry, Lermayer was an inspiration and a pillar of support. He was the friend who would buy you dinner; the industry vet who would take the time to explain an obscure drink; and the colleague who was quick with both a good natured jab and a hug. He commanded rooms with seemingly effortless ease, but never with the slightest hint of pretense.
In 2004, Lermayer moved from NYC to Miami where he began a mercurial rise at SkyBar in the Shore Club. By 2008, he was garnering accolades for building the drink program at The Florida Room at The Delano, an instant hotspot.
During this time, the affable bartender also made a name for himself tearing up the competition circuit. Lermayer was a finalist in the New Zealand’s 42 below Cocktail World Cup, and won numerous other competitions including Tales’ 2008 “Bar Chef Challenge,” 2009 Canton Bartender of the year, the Hennessey Art of Mixing, and the Bols Global Cocktail Challenge.
As the respect of his peers and patrons grew, the sky was the limit for Lermayer. He built cocktail programs for Woodward at the Ames Hotel in Boston as well as Mondrian Soho in NYC. In 2010, he created John Lermayer LLC for consulting work and soon boasted a client list that would make Jerry Thomas jealous. In 2013, he accepted the position of Beverage Director at LDV Hospitality’s Regent Cocktail Club at The Gale where the critical praise only continued.
In 2015, the prodigal publican left the corporate world to team up with Dan Binkiewicz and restaurateur David Martinez and open Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co. in Miami Beach. Sweet Liberty was an instant success and quickly became a “must-see” bar for the region.
Lermayer will be missed by all that he inspired, mentored, and served.