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How the Cocktail Conquered the World
Evening Program with Tasting and Book Signing
Friday, September 20, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
The history of the cocktail—the fascinating alchemy of simple alcohols into complex potables—is one that parallels that of nation in which it was invented. Drawing on his new book, Spirits Sugar Water Bitters, nationally recognized bartender and spirits expert Derek Brown follows the cocktail's birth, rise, fall, and eventual resurrection, tracing the contours of the American story in the process.
Brown discusses how events such as the Whiskey Rebellion, Prohibition, and the entry of Hawaii into the United States shaped the nation's drinking habits. He also spotlights stories of the great men and women who made their mark on cocktail culture, including America's distiller-in-chief George Washington and modern-day cocktail king Dale DeGroff, as well as lesser-known mixology heroes like Martha Niblo, the 19th-century New York proprietress famous for her Sherry Cobblers, and Frederic Tudor, whose ice-shipping business gave early drinks like the Cobbler and the Mint Julep the chill they needed.
Following the presentation, enjoy an Old Fashioned or Rickey, made from two of the book’s many recipes.
Brown is president of Drink Company, which owns and operates D.C.’s Columbia Room, named best American cocktail bar in in the 2017 Spirited Awards, as well as PUB, a rotating pop-up bar. He has also served as chief spirits advisor for the National Archives.
Copies of Spirits Sugar Water Bitters (Rizzoli) are available for purchase and signing.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)