Meet Dimitrios Elias Zahariadis

Meet Dimitrios Elias Zahariadis

Dimitrios is currently looking back at his own roots from Greece, being the Roots ambassador in New England on the East Coast of the US, based in Connecticut.

10.09.2018News

Meet Dimitrios Elias Zahariadis

Dimitrios Zahariadis, co-founder and President of the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) New Haven Chapter (formerly CT Chapter), is an award-winning bartender and pioneer in the craft cocktail movement in the state of CT. In his free time Dimitrios is an avid competitor and in addition to winning many local competitions, he has been a multiple regional Finalist for Diageo World Class, Bacardi Legacy and Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender competitions. Dimitrios is also Founder at The Cocktail Chemists consulting firm which provides its clients with all aspects of beverage services. Dimitrios is most proud of his accomplishments as partner at award winning cocktail bar, Highland Brass Co, in his home town of Waterbury, CT. 

My alt text

Dimitri, where are your roots in Greece, and how you did you find yourself in Connecticut ?

To track my roots you must first go back a couple generations and take a look at my grandparents, who on my father's side originated in Asia Minor and relocated to Drama in Macedonia, Greece during the population exchange. On my mothers side my family has roots for many generations on the island of Zakynthos. Like many Greeks during those times they were extremely poor so decided to leave their motherland, my mother's parents to Australia and my father's parents here to the US, ultimately settling down in Waterbury in Connecticut. I have lived here my whole life except for going to college in Greece, a small stint in Miami and three years in New York. I tend to find myself always coming back to my roots here in Connecticut. 

My alt text

What do you think about new age liqueurs, low abv and simpler recipes, and how these would fit in the next generation US bars ?

I believe that as a whole, Spirits and Liqueurs have really been stepped up since I started bartending in the mid 90’s. Liqueurs especially have really come a long way from those overly sugary neon colored messes we used to mix with. Now we have a vast amount of options for Liqueurs that are made with amazing ingredients from all corners of the globe. 

I’ve always been a proponent of a simplified cocktail, I want my guests to be able to pick apart the cocktail and taste different ingredients and notes in different stages of drinking the cocktail. With many cocktails that are 6,7,8 ingredients that’s not usually the case. The popularity the last few years with Low abv cocktails I believe is a good thing, and it doesn’t have to be a cocktail per se, maybe a vermouth on the rocks or something as simple as a Sherry cobbler are always a delicious choice. Mixing Liqueurs in a highball is one of my preferred low abv completely cocktails. I see them popping up in more and more American bars, including my own, as many guests are looking to enjoy a nice cocktail without getting too intoxicated. 

My alt text

Roots is a range of craft liqueurs with heritage from Greece. How do you embrace their philosophy & their flavours, and how these combine with your roots & memories ?

I have a lot of respect for Smyrlakis family, they searched their Greek Roots and brought to market Liqueurs that have been made in Greece for many generations.  They took the time in making them with the utmost respect to our forefathers and showing the world that Greece has amazing ancient ingredients still alive today. Growing up when we would visit Greece one of my favorite treats during the summer was a giant scoop of sweet Mastiha on a spoon submerged in a glass of water, you’d eat it like a lollipop and chase it with the Mastiha infused water. Literally every time I pour a cocktail with Mastiha, I smell what instantly takes me back to my childhood, every single time, thank you for that. 

My alt text

Dimitrios is currently looking back at his own roots, being the Roots ambassador in Connecticut and surrounding areas. Give him a shout at thecocktailchemist@hotmail.com