Bartender’s Guide: Dave Miller, General Manager at Ray’s BarBy Angelica Malin
Need a new cocktail spot? We caught up with Dave Miller from Ray’s bar to discover his favourite boozy hangouts in the capital.
Name: Dave Miller
Position: General Manager
Little background about your position: I originally came to Ray’s Bar in Dalston in a Head Bartender capacity, but have since taken the GM spot. After a couple of years working in more speakeasy style venues, I was instantly drawn to the disco, velvet and neon vibes that Ray’s had in store. It’s been a really great move for me; the support I have recieved from the company means that I get to devote a good chunk of my time to menu development and experimentation, and get to pull quite a few services behind the bar! I feel that Ray’s Bar is really something a bit different to the rest of the great bars in the area. An eclectic (and vinyl only) music policy alongside a drinks list that we are really proud of, all lit with neon.
What’s your first memory of cocktails? My first “proper” cocktail was on my 18th birthday, my mother picked me up from school and took me for a Long Island Iced Tea. I still have the parasol.
Why did you get into cocktail making? Like most, I started working in bars while studying for my degree. Service has always been very rewarding for me, so after cutting my teeth in a few restaurants I made the jump to cocktail bars and have never looked back.
Fondest cocktail memory: Sitting next to the statue of Hemingway in El Floridita in Havana drinking Daiquiris. Heaven.
Favourite cocktail spot in London is: I love Original Sin in Stokey. The guys have a great list and the service is on point. You always feel very welcome and I inevitably end up staying for a few more than I planned for!
London’s best Bloody Mary can be found at: Jay Rivera at Fifteen in Old Street puts out a consommé based Mary that’s really amazing. Not overly complicated, really delicious and very moreish.
London’s best Negroni can be found at: Shameless plug here but I think our house Negroni at Ray’s is something special. Old Tom Gin and a touch of Averna give it a roundness and depth of flavour with a subtle complexity.
London’s best Margarita can be found at: Not quite a classic Margarita, but the Pina Fumada that was on the list at Discount Suit Company was absolutely banging. A few mezcal headaches came from that one. My view is that there are so many great and trustworthy bartenders in London that you’re never too far away from a great Marg.
Favourite cocktail in London: Well that changes every week! Recent favourites would be the Dead Ball at Original Sin (Red Rye IPA and pastis, dangerous) and the Shiso Miso at Three Sheets, it’s a beautiful way to drink Japanese whisky.
Go-to cocktail if you’re making: I’m a Negroni guy at home, and you can’t beat a Daiquiri at work.
Where should everyone in London visit for cocktails: A tough one! I’ve loved Satan’s Whiskers since I arrived in the city, great drinks and 90s hip hop, who could ask for more? Although the real answer to that question is as many places as you can, there’s such a broad spectrum of great stuff going on here!