Don Lee - Biography

August 2010

A software engineer by trade and documentary photographer by schooling, Don Lee is now a mixologist by choice. Lee’s introduction to the serious craft of cocktails came with what he calls an epiphany over a properly-made drink; it was the kind of cocktail that made him think “Why was it so good while every other cocktail I've ever had was so bad?”

Lee’s pursuit for excellent food and cocktails began. He went to specialty liquor stores, spent countless hours at Audrey Saunder’s renowned drink haven Pegu Club, and then attempted to replicate the drinks at home. Lee eventually got behind the bar himself and quickly rose through the ranks. While still a full-time software engineer, Lee became the opening beverage director of PDT, a speak-easy style bar hidden inside an East Village hot dog shop. His next stop was at Chef David Chang’s Momofuku group, where he developed their hard spirits and cocktail program.

Lee has also hit the competition circuit and has taken home a few top prizes. He’s placed in the 2007 Moët & Chandon, 2007 Vinos de Jerez, 2008 Averna, 2008 Rhum Clement, and 2008 Marie Brizard competitions. Always thirsting for more tips, tricks, and techniques, the cocktail champ is a Bar Ready graduate of the prestigious Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) program.

Lee is now working with cocktail historian Greg Boehm and his mixology supplies website CocktailKingdom.com; Lee and Boehm are putting their heads together for their next project, what will no doubt be a mix master success.