Mixologist and Author Dave Wondrich“A living iPod of drink lore and recipes,” as the New York Times has labeled him; David Wondrich is an internationally-recognized authority on cocktails and their history. As Esquire’s drinks correspondent, he has ranged far and wide through the world of booze, covering everything from Kentucky bourbon to Chinese cocktails. He has also written for numerous other magazines on the subject, including Oprah, Real Simple, Wine and Spirits, where he is a contributing editor, and Saveur.

His devotion to the gospel of the classic cocktail does not shrink from fieldwork: he conducts frequent seminars in cocktail history in which the participants get to absorb their lessons not only aurally but orally as well. Occasionally he has been known to develop a cocktail list for a bar or restaurant. The drinks he created for New York’s 5 Ninth caused the New York Times to write, “Mr. Wondrich has an appreciation of the antique in cocktail-making, and a talent for contemporary context”

His first book, Esquire Drinks: An Opinionated and Irreverent Guide to Drinking (Hearst Books, 2002). In 2003, it was awarded a Silver Ladle at Australia’s biennial Jacob’s Creek World Food Media Awards. In 2005 he published his second cocktail book, Killer Cocktails: An Intoxicating Guide to Sophisticated Drinking, (HarperCollins,) which Glamour named the “Year’s Best Drinks Guide.” Imbibe!, his book about the life and drinks of “Professor” Jerry Thomas, was published in November by Perigee books.

Fast Facts
Mixologist Most Admired:
Dead: Jerrry Thomas, because he was the man who first pulled it all together.
Living: Dale DeGroff, for pretty much the same reason.

Favorite Ingredient:
Dutch cornewijn, aka pot-stilled genever, because it makes the most delightful gin cocktail and I can’t get it here, so I don’t take it for granted.

Most Indispensable Tool:
The old mixing glass/mixing tin combo, because it's still the easiest and most reliable thing to shake a drink in.

Favorite/Most Telling Interview Question:
The most telling one is “What’s your favorite martini vodka?” I don’t drink vodka martinis. In other words, the interviewer hasn’t done his or her homework. My favorite one, however, is “What’s the history of x?”, where x = any given cocktail. If I don’t know, and distressingly often I don’t, I still enjoy taking a crack at it.

Favorite Haunt:
O'Connor's, on 5th Avenue, Brooklyn. 'Cause it's my local haunt, and it's great.

Favorite Drink:
An Old-Fashioned, either with cognac, rye or Holland gin (they’re all good).

back to top

Published April 2008