Dushan Zaric

Mixologist, Restaurateur

New York

The master mixologist behind two of New York’s most famous cocktail bars — Employees Only and Macao Trading Co. — Dushan Zaric is a pioneer in the world of libations. He has revolutionized the art of the cocktail and takes inspiration from classic drinks and infuses a modern twist. As the co-founder of The American Bar Institute of New York, Zaric mentors and teaches all over the world, from his homeland of Serbia to the Caribbean. With two mixology-based books to his name, Zaric also develops cocktail products from non-alcoholic mixers to premium well spirits.

  • On November 7, 2012
    Dushan Zaric answered the question: Dushan Zaric

    What does Dushan Zaric like most about Serbia?

    Although I did spend a significant part of my life growing up in Serbia, it is still one of my favorite places to visit for numerous reasons. The experience of hospitality in Serbia is just on a different level — it’s very genuine. In general, you are considered to be a proper household only if you can provide proper hospitality. You feel this when you go there. You know everybody goes out of their way to make sure that you have all the information you need to get around.
    I am fortunate enough to travel the world for my work, so I have visited a lot of places and I surely can make some comparisons, but Belgrade is certainly one of the cultural hubs of Europe. It’s kind of a small New York. It’s very cosmopolitan. It’s very gastronomical. It is a diverse place that lies between the two rivers — the Danube and the Sava — and it’s historically one of the oldest places in Europe with fortresses that date back 2,000 years or more.
  • On November 7, 2012
    Dushan Zaric answered the question: Dushan Zaric

    What are Dushan Zaric's favorite New York bars?

    When somebody wants to go out, they should ask themselves a question: “Am I going out to really enjoy the quality of cocktail, or am I going out to have a good time?” There are all kinds of places that can satisfy both of those.
    I like a combination of both. I like my drink to be good and decent, and I like to be pleasantly surprised by what I’m tasting. So PDT (Please Don’t Tell) is one of my favorite bars — the attention to hospitality from the people who are operating it is perfect. Another one is Lani Kai — it’s a Hawaiian tiki joint owned by one of my friends, Julie Reiner. She just did a marvelous job with the place.
    Another one is more of a dive kind of bar called Mother’s Ruin. That’s where I’m going for a beer and a shot, maybe a Manhattan and good conversation. It’s important for me that I have a good time. If I have to be quiet when I’m having a cocktail — let’s just say that’s not my thing.