A cocktail—the fascinating alchemy of simple alcohols into complex potables—is an invention as unlikely as it is delicious, and an American innovation whose history marches in step with that of the Republic. In Spirits Sugar Water Bitters, nationally recognized bartender and spirits expert Derek Brown tells the story of the cocktail’s birth, rise, fall, and eventual resurrection, tracing the contours of the American story itself.
In this spirited timeline, Brown shows how events such as the Whiskey Rebellion, Prohibition, and the entry of Hawaii into the United States shaped the nation’s drinking habits.
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.”
His work has earned several James Beard Award nominations, and has been named Imbibe Magazine’s Bartender of the Year.
He has also served as Chief Spirits Advisor for the National Archives. Brown’s writing on spirits has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and other publications. Playboy magazine named him as one of “The 10 Entertainers, Thought Leaders and Heroes Who’ll Save Us in 2017.”