What do you like to drink after a shift? “A dram of a good whiskey neat, something I haven’t tried yet…if possible.”
What is the all-time best dive bar jukebox song? ““Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.”
After all these years bartending and creating drinks, do you still enjoy going out to bars? “I like my bar at home the most.”
Name the first good drink you ever drank and where you had it. “I can’t recall. So many drinks, so many places.”
What’s your favorite cocktail and food pairing? “A rye Old-Fashioned with aged Italian meats.”
What drink are you most proud of creating? “I’m not proud of particular drinks as much as I am of certain ingredients I have created. Ghost chili bitters with white peppercorns is one that I keep coming back to.”
Is there one person (dead or alive) you’d like to make a cocktail for? “Henry Charles Bukowski.”
What’s your favorite shot-and-a-beer combination? “Westmalle Tripel with George Dickel Rye.”
What is the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “A headlamp—business or leisure, it always comes handy.”
Dominik Lenikowski is the bar manager at the Doyle in Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle Hotel.
Interview has been condensed and edited.