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Derek Brown on the Cocktail Scene in Washington, DC
DC’s own famed mixologist gives his take on the rise of craft cocktails in the District.
When it comes to craft cocktails, there’s a whole lot shakin’ in the nation’s capital. All the rage at the moment are the growing number of speakeasies, bars and lounges devoted exclusively to serving expertly measured and mixed drinks. Add to that, many distinct distilleries have popped up in the last few years specializing in everything from limoncello and gin to DC’s first vodka and rum.
All this boozy buzz is fitting for a city that spawned the rickey, first served at Shoomaker's Bar in 1883. The one person who can speak best to DC’s rich cocktail history and its meteoric rise is Derek Brown, the city’s foremost cocktail expert, historian and supertaster.
Derek would be happy to regale you in any of his four cocktail bars. Each venue offers its own unique drinking experience.
The Columbia Room, a reincarnation of the original that shot Derek to spirit stardom, outshines all other cocktail bars for its attention to atmosphere (see: the Punch Garden and leather-filled Spirits Library). Offering a menu filled with pages of sherry and delicious cured meats, Mockingbird Hill is a worthy ode to Spain. Southern Efficiency is the whiskey drinker’s true Shangri-La. And behind the oyster bar at Eat the Rich, you can quench your thirst with a full range of cocktails suited to the Chesapeake Bay, house-made beer-clamato combo included.
We asked Derek to share his thoughts on why DC’s cocktail scene is surging. Check out what he had to say.
Make yourself a reservation at any of Derek’s cocktail bars. And explore more of DC's drinking scene.