D.C. bar owner Derek Brown (Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich, Columbia Room, The Passenger, Southern Efficiency) and his team are on a mission to help you drink better. There exists no pretense or snobbery, just a drive to educate and a love for spirits and their cultural significance.
This year, we tagged along as Derek and his crew made their rounds through the cocktail symposium of the year: Tales of the Cocktail, where the best of bartenders and drink lovers come together to learn, network, and set the trends for the year. After dozens of classes, pairing dinners, and after-parties, Derek dispensed some insight into the three upcoming things we can expect from bar culture.
1. Blender Drinks.
“Everywhere we went, from pool parties at Monteleone to the annual wrap party, Pig ‘n Punch, we saw them using blenders or slushy machines to produce high-quality drinks. What was once thought of as taboo in craft bartending is now fully embraced—but with fresh ingredients and quality spirits. Rob, my bartender from Eat the Rich, made an amazing drink at the Redemption Rye pool party that he calls Red Rockets Glare with rye whiskey, raspberries, and mint. And there were tons of other bartenders doing similar work.”
2. Beyond lemon and lime.
“Probably because of the great lime shortage of 2014, but also because local is still in, bartenders are looking for acidulates and citrus apart from lemon or lime–often close to home, like satsumas grown in New Orleans. Also, shrubs. Shrubs are now a big part of bartending.”
3. Rum. Everything rum.
“We’ve seen a rebirth of rum almost everywhere in the U.S., but a few notable brands have come from the South, such as Old New Orleans Rum, Bayou Rum from Lacassine, Louisiana, and Striped Pig in Charleston.” Follow Derek on Twitter @betterdrinking.