Every shade has a story. And the inspiration for our Mixology Collection stemmed from something deeper than an iconic cocktail or drink-inspired hair color. It was inspired by the people behind each of the shades and libations, the skilled bartenders who pour their passion, energy and creativity into every concoction we drink and every glass we raise.
We sat down to talk to Death & Co. bartender, musician and plant dad, Davey Dave Anderson (@dadswap).
What inspired you to explore bartending?
I used to work as a cook. I didn’t like it as much. I started going to bars and seeing bartenders making cocktails and having fun and realized it was the same set of skills that I had. And I wanted to do that more.
What excites you about bartending?
I love providing people with a really wonderful experience when they go out for drinks. I love knowing that every day is going to be different, and that every person that I serve is going to have a different experience, and that I’m the one that’s going to provide them that memorable experience.
Are there any stigmas associated with being a bartender? Have you experienced any of them?
Yeah, for sure. Some of the stigmas associated with being a bartender include alcoholism and all of the negative things that may come with that. People assume that bartenders are party people, which is not always the case.
What’s it like to work at Death & Co versus other places?
To work at Death & Co, there’s a certain level of expectation. Guests are aware of what we do and the level of cocktails that we provide. So, I would say we’re always on stage. For better or for worse, it definitely keeps me on my game.
Do you feel like your hair is part of your image?
I definitely think my hair is part of my image at work. It conveys to people that I don’t take myself too seriously. That I’m laid back, but still professional.
When was the first time you colored your hair?
I was in middle school. I was about 14 years old. The color was tangerine orange, inspired by The Flaming Lips song. I was in pursuit of creativity when I first colored my hair, and originality. I wanted to stand out, be different.
Do you think hair color is a form of self expression?
I do consider hair color a form of self-expression. It’s just like clothing and jewelry and makeup. It’s a great way to share your identity with the world and show people who you are and who you want to be.
Does bartending give you the freedom to express yourself and your personal aesthetic at work?
It gives me a lot of creative freedom. I really enjoy being able to dress in loud, and colorful ways while still remaining professional and looking sharp.
Can you tell something about a person, just by the drink they order?
Absolutely. I feel like I can learn so much about somebody based on the moment they sit down, the drink they order, and how they express themselves when they sit at my bar.
What are some of the professional challenges you face?
One of the challenges is finding a good, healthy rhythm and a daily lifestyle due to the late hours.
How has COVID changed the hospitality and service industry?
The industry has changed in the sense that a lot of people have different levels of patience for all sorts of things involving the hospitality industry. They have different expectations when they go out for drinks and food. And the industry, I would say, has different expectations from guests as well. I think people are growing more patient and understanding of the folks that serve them in the industry and all of the struggles and stresses that they have.
What other passions do you have outside of bartending?
When I was younger, I always dreamed of becoming a musician and I convinced myself that I never could or never had the music in me. So now in my thirties, I decided to say “screw all that!” I have nothing but free time so I’m going to learn how to make music and do it the way I want to.
Also, I’ve really become a plant mom in the last two years. Taking care of plants is a great form of meditation at home. I love to make terrariums and small closed glass environments with living organisms in them. I just think it’s a great creative outlet. I also love to paint and draw.
Wellness seems to be a focal point within the hospitality industry.
Some of the ways that I kind of maintain my mental wellness include sobriety, I’m a sober bartender. I use plants and music and art as a way to kind of creatively level myself out mentally and emotionally. And meditate.
Non-alcoholic drinks seem to be gaining a lot of traction in the mixology world lately. Has that opened up any opportunities for you, being a sober bartender?
Non-alcoholic and low ABV drinking is definitely something that’s here to stay. I think more and more bars are starting to embrace the idea of adding these options to their menus for guests that are not imbibing or trying to take it easy.
I make a lot of non-alcoholic drinks, all the time. They are some of my favorite cocktails to make. It’s a really great exercise in creativity for a bartender to make a drink without booze, to make something complex or interesting and unique that can stand on its own, and be enjoyed just as much as the cocktails we offer.