Mixologist Dale DeGroff of KingCocktail.com - Biography

New York, NY

August 2010

A founding father of modern mixology, Dale DeGroff revived, reinvented, and pioneered an artisan’s approach to classic cocktails. DeGroff’s career began in Manhattan in 1975, when beverage culture was dominated by cheap American beer and Americans were clueless about cocktails. He swapped the ubiquitous soda gun and pre-fab mixes for traditional recipes inspired by Jerry Thomas, writer of the beverage bible, “The Bon Vivant’s Companion,” and other cocktail books that would eventually spur a global revival of the classic cocktail. 

Having mastered the bar, catering parties at Gracie Mansion in New York City, and working at Hotel Bel Air’s in Los Angeles, DeGroff returned to New York City in 1985. He quickly took command of the bar at Aurora Restaurant before redesigning the bar program at The Rainbow Room. Replacing sours with fresh juices and syrups, he created a cocktail menu featuring Prohibition-era drinks, which eventually went on to catch the attention of the media and rapt bartenders alike. Those drinks made a splash that rippled through the industry and sparked a cocktail renaissance that sent shockwaves through the landscape of spirit culture—the aftershocks of which are still being felt today. 

DeGroff has authored two award-winning books, The Essential Cocktail and The Craft of the Cocktail. In 2007, he was awarded Cheers’s “Beverage Industry Innovator of the Year” followed by the 2008 Tales of the Cocktail Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award. And in 2009 he won the James Bear Award for “Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional” and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Nightclub & Bar Magazine.