In Memory: Gregor De Gruyther, 1979 - 2009
Written by Naren Young and Danny Ronen
Photo by Jenn Farrington

New Orleans Jenn Farrington Photo written by Danny Ronen. Don’t be fooled by the cosmopolitan look and feel of these two cocktails! The Rose-Colored Glasses (Hendrick’s gin, local tea roses syrup, celery and citrus juice) and Cilantro Mint Fizz (Cîroc vodka, Velvet Falernum, cilantro and other juices) are not from a lounge in Manhattan, but from Iris Restaurant in New Orleans.
Gregor De Gruyther, 1979 - 2009

I first met Gregor at the legendary LAB bar in London’s Soho. Anyone that’s been there will know that this venerable bar is a great place for acquiring memories, not necessarily for remembering them. But Gregor’s presence is something I remember clearly.

The LAB was essentially a bartender’s nursery where many of the world’s finest got their start. Gregor and I hit it off from the get-go, my quick wit buried by his quicker wit. His smile sucked me in, his drinks always made me stay for what seemed like a never-ending “one for the road,” and his charm and sincerity with customers absolutely captivated me. I thought, Why aren’t there more bartenders like this? Making customers feel comfortable and important is the very essence of what we do, and Gregor always made it seem so simple, effortless. Our last meeting was in Sydney where we shook a massive Ramos Fizz for the room, and everyone wanted to be at his bar. Everyone always did.

Ah, Gregor. So many smiles; so many songs; so many drinks; so many stories. You were the bartender’s bartender and had so many qualities that we cherish, not just in our best bar keeps, but in wonderful human beings. You were both and I miss you dearly. While it was great being served by you, it was better just being your friend. I’ll be jostling for a seat at your bar like I always did. I’m sure you and Hemingway are getting on famously.
Naren Young

Gregor was like a Hobbit: small, fuzzy, hilarious and capable of making grand magic without even knowing it; his muted Scottish accent didn’t hurt either.

I met Gregor on a tequila distillery tour in Jalisco two years ago. Even in such an incredible group from around the globe, Gregor stood out; granted, that was most likely because we were at each other’s eye level.

“Gregor was the life of the party” will inevitably be one of the first descriptors from anyone who had met him. One of the things that made Gregor so wonderful is that he was smart enough to know better, but always chose to take the path that would be more fun—and without fail, he’d drag you along and force you to learn a little something about yourself.

I feel fortunate enough to have also experienced Gregor’s thoughtful side. There is a reason he will be missed so dearly: He made everyone feel special, based on the specific connection they shared. My connection with him was sarcasm, awkward staring and swarthiness. Our individual travels, work and interests allowed us to spend a lot of time together in the past two years, but I blame serendipity.

It was an auspicious honor to have been your friend, Gregor, and I can only hope that wherever you are, you’re still making everyone laugh, sing, imbibe and think.
Danny Ronen







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