Nick Britsky of The Cocktail Institution Nick Drinks

The Mind Behind the Spirits Shares the Perfect Score for Detroit Cocktail Week


Nick Britsky is a person who writes, podcasts, and videos about cocktails under the moniker Nick Drinks. He even makes them 

Sometimes you flippantly ask a question like “have you ever been in a band?” and strike cord. It turns out Britsky plays all the instruments.  

What else? Notes from the playlist:  

“Just Look at This Mess” by the Punch Brothers—”A great song about Trump.”  

CV Henriette: Tell us about Nick Drinks. How did you become the go-to cocktail guy?  

Nick Britsky: Nick Drinks started as my journal of learning about craft cocktails. It started six years ago largely when I first visited The Oakland in Ferndale. Over that time, I’ve received a few certifications, ran pop-ups/events, made hundreds of cocktails, aggressively learned about video and photography, appeared on the news over 30 times and even started a local cable show.  

CVh: We’re at a dive bar. I’m ordering drinks. What’re you having?   

NB: I always ask for the bartender’s recommendation. They are the chefs of the drinks, and I want to know what they like making. If I get a bad feeling or ambivalence, I go with bottled beer.  

CVhWhat’s for breakfast?  

NB: Breakfast is a good excuse to clean out the fridge. I made Eggs in Purgatory yesterday with some chilies, tomatoes and onions. It was delicious.  

CVh: Cure for a hangover?  

NB: I’ve had good luck with a few of the over the counter medications like Chaser as well as a greasy meal and lots of water.  

CVh: Do you play any instruments? Have you ever been in a band? 

NB: So many instruments. I started on piano, then percussion and transitioned to brass. Six years of marching band including four at Michigan State University. I did one year, after college, at Motor City Brass Band. I even did a short tour of duty with the Detroit Party Marching Band on Baritone.  

CVh: How do you listen to music at home?  

NB: It’s rare I truly get to stop and enjoy music. I own a number of my favorite bands on vinyl I enjoy when I take the time to relax. However, it’s mostly when I’m in the car via my iPhone or extremely random acts I find on YouTube.  

CVh: Name one song that’s changed you.  

NB: Familiarity by Punch Brothers. (The lead singer recently took over Prairie Home Companion on NPR.) It’s a long song that brings in slow parts, fast parts, a four part harmony and so much emotion. All with no percussion. I really enjoy this band and their musicianship is incredible.  

CVh: Sun sign? 

NB: Pisces.  

CVh: Inner avatar?  

NB: Not sure his/her name, but it’s the voice that makes me take chances. Agreeing to new projects, challenges and learning new skills has been extremely rewarding.  

CVh: What’s the characteristic you like most in people?  

NB: Creativity.  

CVh: Dislike the most?  

NB: Lack off faith in your abilities.

CVh: Last book you’ve read about music?  

NB: Probably my Music Theory books in college.  

CVh: Best Live Show?  

NB: The Rolling Stones big tour 13 or so years ago was pretty amazing.  

CVh: Artist You Most Wish You Saw Live, in their prime?  

NB: I’d really like to see Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire. I don’t think they are out of their prime, yet.  

CVh: Favorite Musical?  

NB: I like a lot of musicals, but Starlight Express has a place in my heart since we saw it at the original theater in London.  

CVhWhat’s happening?  

NB: Detroit Cocktail Week! OMG!  

CVh: What’s next?  

NB: Everything. I’m headed to Portugal and England in a few weeks with my wife, Lish. That will be fun.

Mostly this was an excuse to share the “Beer Hotel” video Britsky made with The Food Network.

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