Albert DePompeis isn't a native Detroiter. In fact, he hasn't lived in Detroit for more than two months. He came here to head the bar at Eastern Market's Antietam, and we can't complain about the job he's doing.
DePompeis has been in the business of making drinks for 14 years. He started working behind a bar in Pennsylvania while in college and later made the switch from cable company worker to an employee at the posh W Hotel. After a respectable stretch there, he started his own cocktail consulting company — the gig he was doing when Antietam's management contacted him.
The Detroit establishment wasn't the only out-of-town offer he considered, either. A Miami bar was wooing him as well. He decided on Detroit for a couple of reasons.
"If I hadn't seen people reaching, I wouldn't have left [New York] City," he says. "In Detroit, the community is ready to go out on a limb."
Of course, it didn't hurt our case that he caught a bartender stirring a drink with a butter knife in Miami.
DePompeis says he had a couple ideas for the bar's cocktail menu before he even made the move to Detroit, but he also worked hand in hand with the restaurant's chefs to fill out their offerings. He describes their current amalgam as "savory," so don't expect overwhelming sweetness here. Instead, he says he hopes to break with America's traditional sweet tooth and bring to the limelight more alcohol-forward concoctions.
DePompeis doesn't just mix up cocktails. He also makes sodas and syrups for the bar, including a tasty ginger beer, a caramelized beet syrup-juice hybrid, a couple of shrubs, and more.
Drink Recipe: Fine & Dry
3 count Sour Mash Rye
Half count St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
Half count Yellow Chartreuse
1 house-made rum cherry
Spray orange bitters in bottom of glass
Garnish with orange peel and set aflame.