Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Tag Archives: Dale DeGroff

A Dale DeGroff Top 10

What’s the big deal with this Dale DeGroff guy? Someone asked me that awhile back, and I hardly knew where to start. So, here are 10 reasons why you should care that DeGroff’s at the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival.


10. He’s the king. Really, when a guy knows so much about cocktails, and is so generous in sharing his expertise, that he earns the title “King Cocktail,” he’s someone you should know.

9. Fresh juice. Mixes out of a gun and canned juices ruled the day when DeGroff took over New York’s newly restored Rainbow Room in 1987. He proved that bars should—and could—use freshly squeezed juice in cocktails. What was then an astounding new trend is now practically mandatory.

8. Joe Baum. This legendary restauranteur hired DeGroff at the Rainbow Room and demanded he recreate a nineteenth century bar stocked only with fresh ingredients. Why’s he on this list? Because Baum also helped design The American Restaurant.

7. DeGroff wrote the book. Literally. His The Craft of the Cocktail is required reading for anyone who owns a cocktail shaker.

6. He’s into Kansas City. “I love Kansas City,” DeGroff told me during this year’s Tales of the Cocktail. “I love the music. It’s at the heart of America. It’s a cool place.”

5. Pimento Aromatic Bitters. DeGroff makes them, and they’re fantastic, with layers of allspice (or, pimento in Jamaican), anise and other spices.

4. He’s a nice guy. DeGroff has never once refused me an interview. That counts for something, especially when you’re on deadline with articles like this 2007 piece I wrote for the Kansas City Star.

3. Jill DeGroff. I’ve only spoken to Jill once on the phone, but she seems lovely. She’s a self-described “saloon artist” and author of Lush Life: Portraits from the Bar.

2. Beverage Alcohol Resource. He’s a founding partner of BAR, the most gruelling and complete bartender education program around. Survive both it and the United States Bartenders’ Guild Master Accreditation testing program, and you’ve got the mixology and spirits equivalent of a Master of Wine or Master Sommelier certification.

1. Night on the Town. It’s DeGroff’s tribute to the great tradition of American bars, and he’s bringing it to Nica’s Cafe tonight. Buy a ticket. Go. You won’t regret it.


Paris of the Plains pops in Kansas City

In 2007, Ryan Maybee and Doug Frost started a little thing called the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. Well, little in comparison to what that event’s grown into—the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival. The week-long event’s already underway, and I wrote about it in today’s Kansas City Star (KC’s cocktail culture births Paris of… Continue Reading


It’s still a buzz seeing something I wrote in print, even 20-odd years on as a journalist. But I’m a perfectionist, so reading my own work can be as frustrating as it is satisfying. In today’s case, it was the realization that I didn’t list all the winners and finalists in my Kansas City Star… Continue Reading

Campos Tops 5th GKCBC

The Fifth Annual Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition had it all: inventive cocktails, impressive bartenders, demanding judges and even burlesque. Much of what I’ve gleaned in recent weeks—including plans for a week-long cocktail extravaganza called Paris of the Plains in 2012—will appear in the Kansas City Star on Sept. 7, but so much more will… Continue Reading

The GKCBC’s Lucky 13

The Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition has announced its Lucky 13—the thirteen bartenders who will on Aug. 21 to compete for the Midwest’s premier bartending title. Of course, it’s not all luck. Each of these pros has already created a unique cocktail; next, they must batch it for the event’s tasting room (which means you,… Continue Reading