02 December 2010

Drink Factory Interview - Dale DeGroff

Dale is rightly accredited with rejuvenating the cocktail culture of the present day- encouraging a generation of bartenders to re-evaluate the past and its bounty of great classic drinks. Author of the seminal 'Craft of the Cocktail' and Founder of The Museum of the American Cocktail, he still remains an authority on the world of cocktails and continues to teach of its wares.

1. What is the first cocktail you ever made? Rum and Coke…that was the go-to entry level drink for my generation

2. What are your 3 favourite drinks? With recipes if you have them; old, new and your own. Dry Martini 2 parts Beefeater to one part Noilly and a dash of orange bitters …olive and a twist. Valencia: 3 parts Tanqueray No,10 1 part Emilio Lustau fino sherry flamed orange peel garnish. Dry Sazerac (one sugar cube ) made NIOLA style in two old fashioned glasses BUT with ½ rye and ½ cognac

3. Tell us about a new flavour you have discovered recently. Sweet and dry sherry combined with whislkies or unaged brandy like pisco

4. If you could pass just one thing on to an apprentice bartender, what would it be? Like the work…it is hell if you don’t

5. What does the future hold for yourself, and what do you see happening in the future within the industry? At this point waking up every morning! … the craft bartending profession is back and will only get better … assuming of course the rest of the world doesn’t self destruct …politicians need more cocktail hours with well made drinks good company and some nice salty canap├ęs!

6. What has been your biggest satisfaction from working behind the bar? Spending the evenings in generally pleasant surroundings with my fellow creatures.

7. If you were to have a conversation with a cocktail (and presuming it could talk back to you and tell you its past), which cocktail would it be and why? Gin Martini … gin makes people talk and imagine the conversations

8. What influences your drinks from outside the industry? Small band classic Jazz … the musicians improvise nightly and take chances … but there ain’t much of it around these days

9. If you were to break a bartending golden rule, what would it be? I got into bartending to get away from “golden rules”

10. Outside of flavour and the craft of the cocktail, what in your opinion affects the appreciation of cocktails the most? The surroundings … and that includes yours truly the BT! And that does not mean a million dollar build out or any of those kind of trappings although they can also be part of it…what it means is surroundings of substance whether it be a hole in the wall joint or a fifty foot bar… surroundings of substance are hard to define … but not hard to feel.

11. If you were to champion a (another!) cocktail, which would it be? The simple daiquiri Good rum that tastes like cane sugar and fresh lime juice… when made well it of floral … bright … fresh … limey … and all round ambrosial.

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