The Cordial Maker's Cookbook - Recipes & Instructions for Making Home Made Liqueurs, Aperitifs & Cordials in Your Kitchen

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About the author

Dennis Wildberger

Dennis started his career in the restaurant and nightclub industry when he was just 16.  Learning the business from the ground up, Dennis quickly realized what “customer service” meant.

  At 18, he took a job as a bartender’s assistant at an established restaurant in Baltimore, MD.  His first assignment was working with John, a 68 year old man who had spent his entire life as a bartender.  John like Dennis, started bartending when he was in his teens, working at a speak-easy during prohibition.

  John mentored Dennis, teaching him that working the bar was an art, and the only way to be successful was to know everything you could about your craft. Dennis learned all of the classic cocktail recipes, including some that hadn’t been called for in years.  In no time, he began working shifts by himself.  However, Dennis still had a lot to learn.

  The clientele of the restaurant would frequently request a cocktail that Dennis had never heard of.  The few cocktail reference books there behind the bar were of little help.  Most had only a couple of hundred recipes and rarely had the one that he was looking for.  So Dennis would just ask, “Do you know how to make it?”   To his relief, most people did.  In order to not be stumped again, he began to write the recipes down on 3x5 index cards, storing them in an alphabetical file box for quick reference.  As time progressed, that file box grew rapidly.

  Dennis eventually moved on, plying his trade at some of the most popular nightclubs in the country.  Each club he worked provided the opportunity to expand his cocktail knowledge.  As time went by, his drink file expanded to more than 10,000 recipes.  Bartenders from restaurants and clubs all over, hearing about his amazing collection, would call Dennis if they needed a recipe that they couldn’t find.  This “fame” led Dennis into bartender competitions. He won many, including Jose Cuervo's “Best Margarita Contest” and Baltimore’s Best Bartender.

  Dennis’s skill, experience, and knowledge of the bar industry naturally gave him the opportunity to coach and mentor young bartenders, much like John did for him all those years ago.