Dale DeGroff

Mixologist, Author

New York

Master mixologist and author Dale DeGroff has spread the gospel of fresh ingredients and classic bartending techniques for more than 40 years. DeGroff immersed himself in the world of classic cocktailing, honing his skills at New York’s Aurora Bar before launching the world-famous drink menu for the Rainbow Room in 1987. He is an instructor to bartenders all over the world through his partnership with the Beverage Alcohol Resource and is the author of The Craft of the Cocktail and The Essential Cocktail. DeGroff also founded New Orleans’ Museum of the American Cocktail and earned a 2009 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional. In 2012, DeGroff began to the share stories, songs and — of course — cocktails he’s collected over the years during his traveling one-man show, “On the Town.” 

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  • On October 22, 2012
    Dale DeGroff answered the question: Dale DeGroff

    What are the best Italian restaurants in New York City?

    I’m Italian and my mom’s Italian and we have such good cooks in my family I usually steer clear of Italian places, but Felidia is my favorite. At Felidia, you never get a bad meal. 
  • On October 22, 2012
    Dale DeGroff answered the question: Dale DeGroff

    What are Dale DeGroff’s favorite Italian restaurants in New York?

    I’m Italian and my mom’s Italian and we have such good cooks in my family I usually steer clear of Italian places, but Felidia is my favorite. At Felidia, you never get a bad meal. 
  • On October 22, 2012
    Dale DeGroff answered the question: Dale DeGroff

    Which five New York City restaurants are best for brunch?

    I go to a little joint called Cornelia Street Café. They have really good food and a brunch and wine program. It's just a forgotten little village place. What I love about it is that they have a little basement showroom with the most interesting things every night, everything from a physicist giving a lecture to a jazz group from New Jersey from a young woman out of Juilliard who's a master of violin. I did “On the Town” down there, the show I'm doing around the country now. That place is forgotten, wonderful gem of Greenwich Village. 
  • On October 22, 2012
    Dale DeGroff answered the question: Dale DeGroff

    What is the best New York City nightlife?

    The Pegu Club has what I think are the best cocktails in New York, if you want actual fancy cocktails. The best saloon in New York is P.J. Clarke's on 55th Street and Third Avenue. I've been going there since I was 18 and it's still the same even though it was changed a little bit. The inside is, remarkably, almost as it was, and there was a great amount of investment to keep it that way. Clarke's has a reputation as a classic New York saloon. There is also McSorley's, which has nothing but beer but it has such great surroundings that I will go there until the day I die. It's just extraordinary. It's the definition of what a neighborhood bar was, is and can be.
  • On October 22, 2012
    Dale DeGroff answered the question: Dale DeGroff

    What is Dale DeGroff’s favorite place for brunch in New York?

    I go to a little joint called Cornelia Street Café. They have really good food and a brunch and wine program. It’s just a forgotten little village place. What I love about it is that they have a little basement showroom with the most interesting things every night, everything from a physicist giving a lecture to a jazz group from New Jersey from a young woman out of Juilliard who’s a master of violin. I did “On the Town” down there, the show I’m doing around the country now. That place is forgotten, wonderful gem of Greenwich Village. 
  • On October 22, 2012
    Dale DeGroff answered the question: Dale DeGroff

    What are Dale DeGroff's favorite bars in New York?

    The Pegu Club has what I think are the best cocktails in New York, if you want actual fancy cocktails. The best saloon in New York is P.J. Clarke’s on 55th Street and 3rd Avenue. I’ve been going there since I was 18 and it’s still the same even though it was changed a little bit. The inside is, remarkably, almost as it was, and there was a great amount of investment to keep it that way. Clarke’s has a reputation as a classic New York saloon. There is also McSorley’s, which has nothing but beer but it has such great surroundings that I will go there until the day I die. It’s just extraordinary. It’s the definition of what a neighborhood bar was, is and can be.
  • On September 21, 2012
    Dale DeGroff answered the question: Dale DeGroff

    What does Dale DeGroff wear when traveling?

    I always wear Under Armour because it’s warm, it breathes and you don’t sweat. You can wash it when you’re traveling in the sink and dry it out in about three hours. I wear that stuff and I also buy some really lightweight shirts — fishing shirts that are made with a light fabric made from drawstring bags. It’s very light and dries very quickly. I look for items that I can turn over the next day after washing it. I travel with shoelaceless shoes so I don’t have to keep taking them on and off at the security gate. I also carry a backpack with a computer pad and that’s it. I travel pretty light with a backpack because I’m on the road a lot and I have all my tools. I can’t travel the way some people do where they put everything on the plane because I have knives. I try to travel really light, but now I’m traveling with my guitar too because I’m doing the “On the Town” thing all over the country trying to raise money for The Museum of the American Cocktail.
  • On September 21, 2012
    Dale DeGroff answered the question: Dale DeGroff

    What is Dale DeGroff's favorite airline?

    I can’t afford my favorite airline: First class on Virgin Airlines is probably the most extraordinary experience you’ll ever have. I’ve heard the same thing about Singapore Air but I’ve never flown it. But first class on Virgin is remarkable. Twice clients have bought me first class on Virgin. I have over a million miles on American Airlines, simply because it worked out that way. I’ve got lots of miles on lots of different airlines because I travel a lot more than most folks. I spent 30 years in one place standing behind a bar, so it’s remarkable that I have this many miles.