The Museum Founders

The Museum of the American Cocktail's founders are its greatest asset. They will contribute their expertise on the subject as well as loan pieces from their outstanding collections that include rare books, menus, glassware, cocktail shakers, old periodicals, motion pictures, and memorabilia of all kinds. Given their diverse talents, they will create an environment in which ongoing research, professional and consumer mixology education, and special events will keep the Museum fresh and dynamic.

Dale DeGroff, one of the museum's primary founders as well as the world's premiere mixologist is spearheading the project in an effort to bring about a better understanding and appreciation of the historical significance and evolution of the cocktail.

Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown will establish the museum's library and publishing division. A three-decade veteran of the publishing industry and creative director for a Manhattan-based marketing and public relations firm, Miller will establish the museum's annual journal of scholarly research. Coauthor and journalist Jared Brown will spearhead the acquisition and presentation of the museum's library of books, brochures, and films.

The American art of mixology is a fun and enriching subject that is in serious need of an organized documentation process. Ted Haigh, aka "Dr. Cocktail", an outstanding graphic designer for the film industry, will design the exhibit. Haigh and other scholars of the cocktail including Robert Hess, Lowell Edmunds, Philip Greene, and David Wondrich will continue their historical research and oversee collection development, conservation, and acquisition. Hess is building a dynamic companion website for the museum that will enable visitors to gather information and converse with one another online.

Jill DeGroff will establish and maintain contacts with the press, media, and community, and produce promotional materials, advertisements, brochures, and other marketing support materials. She will also build membership and coordinate the mixology sessions.

A full-time museum coordinator-and New Orleans resident-will serve as curator and event coordinator in charge of day-to-day operations. Local freelancers and other essential subcontractors will be used on an as-needed basis for exhibition construction, presentation, and other essential services.

Dale DeGroff: President
America's foremost Mixologist, Dale DeGroff developed his extraordinary techniques and talent tending bar for over twenty years at great establishments most notably, New York City's famous Rainbow Room, where he pioneered a gourmet approach to mixing drinks. Often referred to as the "King of Cocktails", DeGroff is a leading authority and popular personality in the beverage world, appearing regularly in the press and media throughout the US and Europe. Dale provides beverage consulting services, and bar training seminars to spirits manufacturers and leading restaurants throughout the world. His book, The Craft of The Cocktail, winner of the IACP Julia Child Award, has been hailed by Men's Journal as the "look-here-first, look-here-last primer on drink mixing." Debonair, a great raconteur, and an unparalleled authority, Dale is a much sought after expert in the industry and universally acknowledged as the world's premier mixologist.
Jill DeGroff: Vice President
A graphic artist and illustrator, Jill DeGroff created the website and handles the administrative work for Dale DeGroff Company. Her illustrations appear in Slammed Magazine and other industry publications. Jill dreamed up the idea of a museum of the American Cocktail so that her husbands work and collection, along with those of his colleagues could be encompassed in one everlasting institution, (and also as a good excuse to eventually move to New Orleans!)

Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown: Vice Presidents
Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller drink and write about drinks for a living. Established in 1995, their website Shaken Not Stirred: A Celebration of the Martini led to the publication of the book by the same name (HarperCollins, 1997 and Europa Verlag, 1998). Their homage to the bubbly, Champagne Cocktails, was published two years later (ReganBooks, 1999). They are contributing cocktail and travel editors for Hamptons, Gotham, LA Confidential, and Aspen Peak magazines. Their articles have also appeared in Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado, FoodArts, Wine & Dine, and Northwest Palate.

Miller and Brown developed a Norwegian vodka that won the Beverage Tasting Institutes gold and best of designations in 2002.

This husband-and-wife team has made numerous TV and radio appearances, discussing their favorite subject, cocktails. And they've taken their show on the road, teaching consumers how to shake and stirred their own cocktails at Morton's Steakhouses nationwide.

Miller is also Creative Director for Bratskeir & Company, a Manhattan-based marketing and public relations firm. Former art director, production director, and editor for Rizzoli International Publications, three divisions of Random House, and Bison Books UK, Miller was also president of the New York Art Directors Club book division. She developed special publishing projects for hair guru Vidal Sassoon, architects Tadao Ando, Stanley Tigerman, Emilio Ambasz, and Beverly Willis. She also designed two multi-million bestsellers: How to Make Love to a Man and 101 Uses for a Dead Cat.

Ted Haigh: Curator
Ted Haigh, also known as Dr. Cocktail, has been called "the premiere cocktail historian in America" and is the author of Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails, published by Quarry Books. He was the cocktail and spirits advisor for America Online and is the Curator of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans. He has been widely interviewed and quoted in books, magazines, newspapers, on radio and on screen. Doc is the co-founder of The Internet Cocktail Database, and the inventor of the Mixilator. He writes and lectures on subjects pertaining to classic cocktails and hobnobs with the glitterati of the cocktail world. He has one of the largest collections of vintage and antique cocktail ingredients in the world, and moonlights as a noted graphic designer for Hollywood movies. He makes his home (with Nurse Cocktail) in Los Angeles, California.

Robert Hess: Sectretary
Robert Hess, a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, traces his interest in cocktail to a childhood fascination of bartenders who effortlessly transformed the contents of the bottles around them into gleaming jewels of refreshment. Eventually he took action on these early memories, absorbing all he could about the classic art of mixology. Using his culinary training as a canvas, he views cocktails as a cuisine with the same artistic flavor potentials as that of any French chef. He has since become a ceaseless evangelist of quality cocktails, working with restaurants, bartenders, and consumers as well as creating the informative and widely recognized website to increase recognition and respect for this undervalued art.

Phil Greene: Treasurer, Legal Counsel
Attorney and freelance author and historian, Phil Greene is a descendant of the Peychaud family of New Orleans. Among Phil's ancestors was the illustrious Antoine Amedee Peychaud, the nineteenth-century New Orleans pharmacist who concocted Peychaud's Bitters and is credited with coining the term "cocktail" and inventing the Sazerac Cocktail. Phil's keen interest in the history and folklore of New Orleans have given him a strong foundation for his expertise in the city's culinary and cocktail heritage. A graduate of Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, Phil is Senior Counsel for Internet Technology with the U.S. Department of Commerce, and lives in Washington, DC with his wife and three daughters. He is also a contributing writer for the "On The House" Web log, found at
Chris McMillian
"When historic New Orleans drinks are the subject of a quest, all roads lead eventually to Chris McMillian, the bartender at the Ritz-Carlton Hotels Library Lounge," writes Eliza Stickland of the Gambit.

New Orleans native, Chris McMillian descends from four generations of bartenders; his great grandfather was a saloon keeper and his uncles owned casinos and night clubs in the thirties and forties. After plying his trade at New Orleans' famous Arnauds and the Royal Sonesta, Chris opened the darkly deluxe Library Lounge four years ago and entertains his guests with outstanding classic drinks and often a lesson in cocktail history as well; Chris has tracked down many key facts about the role of New Orleans in the wonderful story of the American Cocktail and believes there is so much more work to be done.

Gary and Mardee Regan
Gary and Mardee Regan are very highly regarded cocktail connoisseurs, spirit experts, and authors, as well as bartending and restaurant consultants. Gary's latest, The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft, has been called "a definitive and entertaining guide to the bartender' trade" (Publishers' Weekly). They have also written for publications such as Food & Wine, Playboy, Wine Spectator, Martha Stewart Living, All About Beer, Wine & Spirits, Cheers, FoodArts, and Wine & Spirit International. They consult for liquor companies and have lectured at The Smithsonian Institute, The Culinary Institute of America and The International Wine Center, New York.

Stephen Visakay
Stephen Visakay is author of Vintage Bar Ware, and is the leading expert on values of cocktail shakers, books, and bar ware. Pictured at right is a cocktail shaker which is sometimes referred to as the "Shake a Leg". This recently sold at an auction for over $2,000.

David Wondrich
David Wondrich is an internationally-recognized authority on cocktails and their history. He is a Contributing Editor at Esquire and writes for numerous other magazines on the subject, including Saveur, Gotham, Wine and Spirits, Playboy, and Drinks. His first book, Esquire Drinks: An Opinionated and Irreverent Guide to Drinking (Hearst Books, 2002), has been acclaimed as "arguably the most enjoyable guide to entertaining with alcohol since Kingsley Amis's 1972 On Drinkbrilliantly witty, irreverent and brimming with interesting trivia" David, who holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University, is also the motive force behind Slow Food's annual Tribute to Jerry Thomas, in which some of the nation's most respected mixologists get together to pay tribute to "Professor" Jerry Thomas (the man who wrote the first cocktail book, in 1862)-an event which The New York Times described as "an antiquarian lark, with overtones of a sance."
Brian Rea
Brian Rea has been involved in the service and management of alcoholic beverages for over 50 years. He was associated with the "400" and "21" Clubs in New York; "Scandia" and "Frascati" restaurants in Los Angeles, as well as other establishments in New York, Florida and California. He also spent eight years as Corporate Beverage Director for Host International, overseeing a 115 million dollar per year beverage operation. Mr. Rea is the author of Brian's Booze Guide and Brian's Bartender Guide as well as numerous articles in various trade publications.

Mr. Rea also created and taught the "Management of Alcoholic Beverage Service Operations" curriculum at UCLA and Cal Poly University and developed and conducted the nationwide "Bar Management Seminars" program for the National Restaurant Association. Brians rare cocktail book collection is considered to be the most extensive in existence.

Lowell Edmunds
The critical success of Lowell Edmunds' Martini, Straight Up: The Classic American Cocktail (1998), a revised edition of The Silver Bullet: The Martini in American Civilization (1981) brought him into contact with the illuminati and glitterati of the drinks trade (and avocation) on both sides of the Atlantic. An Italian translation, with a preface by Umberto Eco, appeared in 2000. He has published "The Secular Sacrament," a memoir, in Social History of Alcohol Review; also "Women and Cocktails in Victorian America," in the same journal, and a review-article. He has been a professor of Classics at Harvard, Boston College, Johns Hopkins, and Rutgers, and a visiting professor at Princeton and, in Italy, at the Universities of Venice and Trent.
Steve Olson
Olson is dedicated to the education and consultation of degustation for appreciation and celebration. He teaches, lectures, and writes about wine, beer, spirits, sake, and virtually any other beverages under the sun, discussing their integral cause-and-effect relationship with food, as he preaches the gospel of his mission: making tasting fun by removing the intimidation factor and the pretense.

Steve lectures and appears on television, and also writes for several industry publications, such as Food & Wine Magazine, Wine & Spirits, or Santé. Olson may be best known to many, however, for his restaurant consulting, having designed the innovative beverage programs and service systems for several nationally acclaimed restaurants, including the Relais Chateau, Mobil Five Star award-winning Mayflower Inn in Connecticut, New York City's #1 Zagat rated restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, Chelsea’s hot new Mexican restaurant, Sueños, and the billion dollar Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City. Olson has also just been honored by being selected as Santé Magazine’s Spirits Professional of the Year for 2003.
Robert Plotkin
Robert has worked his way up through the ranks as a bartender and beverage manager for numerous highly successful independent operations, as well as such companies as, Lunt Avenue Marble Club, El Torito and Sheraton Hotels. He also gained invaluable experience as the owner/operator of his own state-accredited bartending school and highly successful beverage catering service in Tucson, Arizona for over ten years. He sold the business in 1990 to expand his opportunities in other areas of the beverage industry. He has since worked steadily as a writer for many national trade publications, as a well as a frequent speaker at trade shows and conventions around the country. Robert is as comfortable motivating groups of 20 in a boardroom, as he is leading training sessions of 700 at national trade shows. In 1987 he founded BarMedia, a publishing company dedicated to producing the many sought after texts and training manuals he was writing. To date he has since published 12 books on beverage management and mixology trends. Through proven management concepts and a long professional career, Robert Plotkin has become a leader in motivation, training, speaking and business concepts that define success in the beverage industry today.
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