Interview with Dan Collins of Detroit bar

    It’s a got a cool urban vibe going on and is full of low-lit alcoves in which a person can chill out with their drink. It’s been around for over a decade now, was one of the first ‘style bars’ and still retains its edge. It has been home to many talented mixologists over the years; we spoke to the latest in that line, Dan Collins, about the bar’s forthcoming new cocktail list and the evolution of the industry.

    So tell us, what's new at Detroit?
    Well, we have a new menu being released soon and we're going to be relaunching our food selection as well, got some interesting people working on that. The menu feels like a work of art, I've never been so happy with every drink on a menu before! There's a lot of other things in the pipeline as well but I'm keeping them close to my chest.

    “...Oooooh, that's like asking a painter what his favourite colour...”

    Dan Collins

    How has the bar scene in Covent Garden changed in the last couple of years?
    If anything I don't think it's changed dramatically in the last few years, but I do feel it's evolved, and watching the progression of the bars around Detroit as well as the style of customers leads me to believe that more people are embracing the industry, even some pubs are doing funky Bloody Marys. The whole "stick to what you know" attitude to hospitality is making way for a more eclectic crew who want to try something different.  

    What's your most popular cocktail?
    The most popular on our old menu was the Orchard Sour, created by Matt Armitage, a type of gin sour with apple and elderflower. The pièce de résistance is the caramelised apple slice garnish, it's a real crowd pleaser! Even beer and wine drinkers across the bar see it and order one, I love it. But I prefer mine straight up.  

    And what's your personal favourite of the cocktails on your menu?
    Oooooh, that's like asking a painter what his favourite colour is! I could wax lyrical about this and announce "whatever makes my customers the happiest" but to be honest it's either going to be the Bunch of Fives, a naval rum and vermouth flip/sour, or the Antoine's Ghost, a clear sazerac misted with cinnamon smoke.  

    What's the strangest drink you've ever been asked to make?
    It was a drink with Kamm & Sons, the customer wanted a drink with kümmel, and I hate kümmel, not for its taste but because everything you mix it with tastes like kümmel. So I made a cocktail somewhere between a Negroni and a Bronx; Kamm & Sons, Grapefruit juice, Punt e Mes, Wolfschmidt and some bitters. It was strange for me because they kept on ordering it and I FINALLY got rid of the kümmel, only to have to order more because they came back! The drink now sits pride of place on the menu as the Picatinny Rail.   Other than your own, which is your World's Best Bar I can't pick just one: some of my favourites are Please Don't Tell in New York, Bramble in Edinburgh, and Callooh Callay or possibly The Zetter Townhouse here in jolly ol' London. But if I want to guarantee myself a good night with great people, I pop down to the London Cocktail Club.  

    Written by Natasha Tripney

    Photo of Dan Collins kindly provided by Katerina Spanova, for more of her work click here

    Article created on 18/12/2014

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