Derek Brown

Derek Brown is a writer, illustrator, bartender, and co-owner of acclaimed bars The Passenger and Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. He sits on the board of directors for the Museum of the American Cocktail. More

Derek Brown is a writer, illustrator, bartender, and co-owner of acclaimed bars The Passenger and Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. He travels throughout the country and around the world in search of great drinks, and the stories behind them. Derek's methodical approach to cocktails was profiled in the Wall Street Journal's "A Master of Mixological Science" and his martini lauded as the best in America by GQ. He's been in numerous media outlets featuring his approach to better drinking, including CNN, The Rachel Maddow Show and FOX. Derek is a founding member of the D.C. Craft Bartender's Guild and on the board of directors for the Museum of the American Cocktail.
  • Morning Cocktails Beyond Mimosas

    Mimosas and Bloody Marys aren't the only cocktails to drink before noon. A list of five other options.

  • Summer's Signature Cocktail

    The Rickey is light, refreshing, and has roots in the author's hometown: Washington, D.C.

  • Recipe: Lion's Tail

    A classic cocktail with bourbon, lime juice, and bitters, straight out of the cocktail archeology books

  • Unearthing Forgotten Cocktails

    "Cocktail archeologists" have helped uncover old recipes and revive neglected types of alcohol.

  • In Praise of Champagne

    The author explains why he could drink champagne all day--and offers a recipe for a favorite cocktail.

  • Why Bartenders Shouldn't Be Rude

    The author takes his fellow mixologists to task for being rude, offering tips for how to be a little nicer.

  • Bartending With a Splash of Star Trek

    The annual Tales of the Cocktail conference has more in common with a Star Trek convention than you might think.

  • The Story of a Legendary Bartender

    Prohibition ended the career of mixologist Henry William Thomas. Fortunately, his legacy lives on.

  • Easy Mixing: 5 Cocktails for the Lazy

    Summer is the season for cocktails that emphasize ease over complexity. Here, a list of drinks that are meant to be made quickly and enjoyed slowly, with origins from Spain to Bermuda to Washington, D.C.

  • Last Call: When a Favorite Bar Closes

    On par with breaking up with a long-time love is the feeling of losing a cherished drinking hole. The author mourns the loss of two of his favorite places to have a drink with friends and comes to terms with the fact that he will never find an exact replacement for either of them.

  • How to Sweeten a Cocktail

    Bartenders professional and amateur have a wide range of options if they want to add some sweetness to their drinks. The author offers a list of the best ways to make a cocktail sweeter, from plain sugar to maple syrup, along with tips on how to use each ingredient.

  • Why Your Bartender Hates You

    OK, bartenders don't really hate you. But sometimes customers forget to be polite--and so do bartenders. These are the stories of what can happen when that relationship gets strained, and how to fix it.

  • Goldilocks: Dread of Mixologists

    What happens when a customer turns up his nose at a drink the bartender thinks is perfect? It's not always pretty. A description of how mixologists react when they think their customers are wrong.

  • Happy Birthday, Dear Cocktail

    The cocktail, one of America's most beloved food creations, just turned 103 years old. Celebrate World Cocktail Week by learning about the drink's history--and mixing up this old fashioned recipe for Old Fashioneds, considered to be the first cocktail ever.

  • A Bartender's Defense of Blenders

    Blenders are messy, noisy, and they make a few bartenders mad. But they also make enticing drinks. The author explains why, despite all the criticisms of this kitchen tool, it's worth giving blenders a chance while mixing cocktails.

  • Dry Martini: The King of Cocktails

    It's everywhere and yet nowhere made with the proper sacrament. But when it's done right, that first sip will be of a cold, taut surface with a bracing chill, punctuated by pockets of bright citrus oils that cause the mouth to water profusely. Here's how to do the king justice.

  • What Makes a Great Bartender?

    It's more than just combining ingredients from a recipe. Here, ten tips for any home or pro bartender, from a master of the craft.

  • Where Do Crazy Drink Names Come From?

    Negroni? Corpse Reviver #2? Sloe Comfortable Screw on the Beach? We don't just throw "tini" on the end. Strangely named cocktails have strange stories behind them, some dating back generations.

  • What Makes a Cocktail Snob so Obnoxious?

    Sometimes those with the most distinctive tastes--and the most abrasive attitudes--make us better bartenders. Take the example of the recipe for the Sidecar. Once dictated by a famous beverage snob, is it much improved with a fresh attitude.

  • Margaritas to Martinis, the Magic Ingredient

    Salt can vastly improve a cocktail, especially one with sweet flavors. Innovations like salt-air and salt mixed with citrus zest have made this crucial little spice more prevalent than ever. Done right, you won't even know it's there.


The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."


What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.


Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.


Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.


How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming



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