Behind the Bartender: Damian Windsor of Roger Room

Tonight is Windsor’s last night at Roger Room, but he’s got something else brewin’

Not many folks know this but bartender Damian Windsor was the guy who set me on the road to drinking…well. As part of the opening crew of downtown’s Seven Grand in 2007, he introduced me to the world of craft cocktails. Made me my first Penicillin ever. Needless to say, I continue to be a fan of the good work that he does, and would follow him anywhere.

After 7G, Damian went over to the Roger Room in West Hollywood where he went on to create modern classics like the best summer cocktail of 2009, Tijuana Brass. But after four and half years, he’s moving on. Tonight marks his last night at the ol’ Roger Room.

He’s tight-lipped about where he’s heading next but hints that he and fellow RR bartender Jason Bran, whose last night is also tonight, will be working on a project together which will pop up in the next few weeks. Stay tune! He’s also consulting on a bar program for a gastropub in Chino Hills. Yeah, OK, maybe I won’t follow him there.

But I was able to catch up with him for my recurring Q&A with L.A. bartenders. Here are his quick answers.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Typically from food, I like classic food flavor pairings and like to try to add booze into the mix as a base or to complement them, and definitely cocktails at other bars. We (as an industry) have made just about every combination of spirit fruit and juice imaginable, now it’s about refining the balance.

What’s the best night to go to your bar and why? Tuesday and Friday, because I’ll be there. (Coming in August Thursday and Saturday.)

The next big thing in cocktails is_____? Spanish wine. Hahahahaha. Whatever the guest is drinking is the most important thing.

What’s your hidden talent? Does a double-jointed thumb count? Out of necessity I’m getting good at home improvement.

Where do you like to drink in L.A.? El Carmen. The beer is cold and the tequila plentiful.

Where’s your favorite place to eat in L.A.? Madeo for Italian or Chiba for sushi. Neither is much to look at from the outside but the hospitality, service and quality of food are outstanding.

What do you like to drink when you’re not working? Doesn’t have to be cocktails. I’m very partial to an “Americano,” icy cold Miller High Life, chilled Lambrusco and my guilty pleasure is White Russian.