If there is anyone to thank (and bow down to) for the for today's growing appreciation and revitalization of the US cocktail culture, it's Dale "King Cocktail" DeGroff. On April 12 Dale graced and intimate audience at the Warehouse Theater in Washington where he performed his “On the Town: A Tribute to Bars, Speaks, and Legendary Saloons,” incorporating tales and songs about the watering holes of yesteryear and Dale’s own career path as a bartender. It was a rare treat for all to hear Dale's stories of the New York cocktail scene from the late 1960s and its transformation, under his leadership, from fern bars serving processed, ready-made piña coladas to establishments such as Aurora and the Rainbow Room where he brought many cocktails such as the Gin Fizz and Singapore Sling back out of virtual extinction, using top-shelf spirits and fresh-squeezed juices. His style focused on bringing the profession of bartending back to its glory providing an atmosphere where the bartender took center stage in welcoming and interacting with guests.
Read my post about Dale's performance for The Museum of the American Cocktail.