Whether you're into classic Negronis or eight-ingredient drinks that require a chemistry degree and a centrifuge to make, the cocktails you drink today were influenced in some part by Dale DeGroff.
The legendary barman held court at New York's iconic Rainbow Room in the '90s and helped to kick off a cocktail renaissance that's gripped American cities ever since. He also trained a generation of bartenders, written several books and otherwise impacted how we drink.
So when the man puts a new spirits line out into the world, it's best to stand up (or sit down at your nearest bar) and pay attention.
DeGroff Spirits is a new collaboration between the man himself and another booze world luminary, Ted Breaux, an absinthe expert who helped end the 90-year absinthe ban in the United States. They teamed up with Oregon's Clear Creek Distillery, one of the nation's first craft distilleries, two produce two spirits: DeGroff Bitter Aperitivo and DeGroff New World Amaro.
“I had an aperitivo behind my bar in the '90’s, but that was the decade of neon colors and powdered drinks mixes," says DeGroff. "Consumers had no interest in such a strong, bold flavor. Now things have clearly changed and consumers want and expect complex, bold flavors in their cocktails."
“Our goal was to create unique flavors that would appeal to mixologists: a select blend of botanicals—fruits, roots, flowers and leaves—but absolutely no artificial ingredients or colors. These are big flavors with rich colors, the way nature intended,” said Breaux.
DeGroff Bitter Aperitivo
This Italian-style bitter aperitivo channels other bright-red options like Campari, but it's made entirely from natural botanical ingredients, using traditional methods with no artificial flavors or colors. Try it in classics like the Negroni or Americano, or in a Spritz with soda and Prosecco. 25% ABV / $29.99
DeGroff New World Amaro
This amaro is inspired by the West Indies, accented with Caribbean spices, and meant for classic and tropical cocktails, though it can also be consumed on its own as a digestive. The flavor is rich, bittersweet and complex, and it adds a punch to drinks as varied as the Manhattan and the Mai Tai. 35% ABV / $39.99