Former Queenstown barman Dan Miles, who has published an
e-book, Filthy Still: A tale of travel, sex and perfectly
made cocktails, giving readers an insight into life in
Queenstown after dark. Photo by Diana Marino Photography.
A former Queenstown barman is shedding light on what goes
on after dark in the resort in a novel, released last month.
Dan Miles spent five years in the resort after coming for a
two-week holiday and getting work in the hospitality
During his time in Queenstown he worked in a variety of bars
and, inspired by what he described as ''working in a sitcom,
or a dark and twisted soap opera'', Mr Miles began ''making
notes'' in 2007.
''If you work behind a bar long enough, you see some wonders
- the very best and worst of people, often in the very same
''Bartenders in Queenstown are a particularly close-knit
bunch ... I've now worked all over the world and I can
honestly say that I have never seen such a concentration of
outrageous behaviour as I did in my time in Queenstown, and
that's just from the bosses.''
When tourists, alcohol, ''sexual intrigue and a dusting of
scandal'' were added, the end result was his e-book,
Filthy Still: A tale of
travel, sex and perfectly made cocktails.
In 2008, Mr Miles and fellow mixologist Jason Clark, former
owner of Debajo, were the first Queenstown bartenders
selected to represent New Zealand in the Cocktail World Cup,
which ultimately led Mr Miles around the world, before he
returned to London.
He said that after the book was finished, it was rejected by
every major publishing house because they felt there was no
interest in ''bartender fiction'' or ''material that features
excessive drinking and lewd behaviour''.
It was picked up in 2012 but the deal fell through when Mr
Miles refused to change the setting from Queenstown to
''London or, bizarrely, Prague''.
However, ast month, Mr Miles learned the e-edition was to be
published by Amazon.
Already, it had become a ''cult hit'' among bartenders and
beyond, with London
Lifestyle magazine calling it ''an absolute must for
anyone who has ever worked in a bar, or indeed drank in
The reaction to his ''completely and utterly fictional''
characters and the insanity and debauchery of their world had
led him to begin work on a second part to the series, as well
as to start discussions with a TV producer.
There have been moments when I've woken with a mouth like a
leper's armpit that I have regretted coming to this town.
This town is filthy, or I am filthy in it; I have difficulty
telling the difference any more.
There are also moments when I place a smile on a face where
previously there was only a frown, when the light catches the
citrus sheen on a perfectly made martini, when the simple
clink of ice in a glass sends shivers down my spine that it
all seems worthwhile.
My name is Alex Cotton and I make drinks.
I am also becoming increasingly convinced that this town is
trying to kill me.
• From Filthy Still: A tale
of travel, sex and perfectly made cocktails by Dan
Miles, available from www.amazon.com