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Derek Brown

American Entrepreneur, Writer and Mixologist

Travels From:
Washington, D.C.
Fee Range:
Under $15,000

Derek Brown is a leading spirits and cocktail expert and president of Drink Company, which owns and operates 2017 Spirited Award winning “Best American Cocktail Bar” Columbia Room as well as PUB, a rotating pop-up bar that’s housed the wildly-popular Miracle on 7th Street, Cherry Blossom PUB and Game of Thrones PUB. Playboy magazine named him as one of “The 10 Entertainers, Thought Leaders and Heroes Who’ll Save Us in 2017.” He is also the author of the forthcoming book “Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World,” available through Rizzoli March 2019.

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  •  Derek  Brown

Derek Brown is a leading spirits and cocktail expert and president of Drink Company, which owns and operates 2017 Spirited Award winning "Best American Cocktail Bar" Columbia Room as well as PUB, a rotating pop-up bar that's housed the wildly-popular Miracle on 7th Street, Cherry Blossom PUB and Game of Thrones PUB. Playboy magazine named him as one of "The 10 Entertainers, Thought Leaders and Heroes Who'll Save Us in 2017."

A native Washingtonian with deep ties to the city — his great-grandfather was once D.C.’s police chief — Derek admits that Washington provides a unique vantage point as the capital city, having mixed drinks for everyone from royalty, ambassadors and senators to fellow Washingtonians, interns and students. He’s concocted cocktails at the White House, clinked glasses with Martha Stewart and was even appointed Chief Spirits Advisor at the National Archives. Derek’s philosophy for crafting memorable drinks goes beyond what’s shaken, stirred and served in a glass. “When I think about cocktails, I think about how they connect to nature, I think about how they connect to history,” he explained to Imbibe magazine, which named him 2015’s Bartender of the Year. “I think about how they connect to the people who made them and the time they were living in.”

Derek’s passion for spirits has taken him across the globe, where he’s learned about the integral role food and drink play in the culture, customs and values of communities worldwide. He’s also written about drinks and drinking for The Atlantic, The Washington Post and Bon Appetit magazine, among other publications.

Derek is a spirits judge at the prestigious San Francisco World's Spirit Competition and works with many charities and organization in a role as advisor, including the DC Public Library Foundation, BevCon Charleston and Share Our Strength.

From the oldest alcoholic drink to the culinary cocktails of today, mixed drinks have been an intimate part of the human experience. The cocktail itself—created in the early 19th century—is just one example, but has left a lasting print on world culinary culture. From before the cocktail to the present Platinum Age, author of “Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World,” Derek Brown, will discuss how cocktails have conquered the world and weave through the various people, places, and moments which shaped that conquest.


George Washington owned the largest whiskey distillery of his time; Thomas Jefferson was obsessed with wine; and Benjamin Franklin wrote a “Drinker’s Dictionary,” which is a humorous list of euphemisms for being drunk. The early leaders of the republic gained as much courage from the contents of their cups as the conviction of their ideals. Author of “Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World,” Derek Brown, will discuss drinking in colonial times and how alcohol was an integral part of colonial life and American values.


We live in the Platinum Age of cocktails where there’s a proliferation of cocktails and bartenders have access to a wealth of tools, products, and information. The resultant landscape of cocktails and cocktail culture draws from both past traditions and present culinary innovations. It’s possible to have an Old Fashioned but served in an ice sphere! Author of “Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World,” Derek Brown, will discuss the plethora of drinks, bartender, and bars that have issued in the new era of drinking.


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