Meet Your Mixologist: David Delaney, Jr.

By Yolanda Evans

A good drink can only get you so far. It is very important to truly understand the concepts and recipes of our leaders.

While covering The Angostura Cocktail CompetitionI had a chance to talk to David Delaney, Jr., who bartends at Still and Stir in Massachusetts, before the competition and became a fan. While the competition was tough, I did peg him as the winner after tasting his cocktail at the event.

How long have you been in the industry? Where did you get your start?
I graduated college with a degree in Computer Information Systems in 2001 but wasn’t ready to sit behind a desk, so I took a job barbacking to make a little money until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I really took a liking to the industry and while I maintained a myriad of other jobs, I always kept barbacking/bartending as a side gig. It wasn’t until 2005 when my brother-in-law opened his first restaurant that I took a job as a full-time bartender. It wasn’t long before I realized the opportunities within the industry and the ability to use the bar as a blank canvas for my creativity. I have been with Niche Hospitality for about seven years, and I’ve helped them open a number of different concepts.

I know you were in the Cocktail Apprentice Program at Tales of the Cocktail. What did you get from the experience?
First and foremost, friends for life! The program is amazing. The bonds within the industry are so tight, it has left me with connections throughout the country. It is an outstanding event and to be a part of it as a CAP was remarkable. Everyone is so hospitable and so appreciative of all the hard work (drinking) that we put in all week long.

What does the future hold for you?
I wish I knew. On second thought, no I don’t. I’m excited to see what lies around every corner for me int he next year. I can’t wait to work for a brand like Angostura, and I am hoping to really bring the brand to new levels within the U.S. over the course of the next 12 months.

What can your advice be to all the newbie in this industry?
Don’t forget the industry that we are in… hospitality! A good drink can only get you so far. It is very important to truly understand the concepts and recipes of our leaders. We are where we are in the industry because of many great men and women. Men and women who understood the balance of flavors, the art and technique of presentation, the importance of smile and a “Hello, how are you?”

What’s your preferred drink?
I tend to drink with a purpose. If it’s after a long shift, I’m not ashamed to say it’s probably a Bud Light and a shot of Jamo. If I’m sitting down to dinner probably an aperitif, maybe some wine and then a digestif. If I’m just out on the town, I tend to experiment and try new things. I think it makes sense to drink with purpose and to always have those go-to drinks that you can get pretty much anywhere. Most bars will have Gin or Bourbon, Campari, and Sweet Vermouth. They may need a little direction, but a Negroni or Boulevardier is usually my safe bet.