Rising Star Restaurateur Derek Brown of Mockingbird Hill - Biography

Washington, D.C.

November 2014

Derek Brown has one of those dream jobs that your high school counselor never tells you about. He drinks for a living. Brown is a cocktail and spirits writer, spirits judge, and owner of bars Mockingbird Hill, Columbia Room, The Passenger, Southern Efficiency, and Eat the Rich. He is almost single-handedly shaping the cocktail scene in Washington, D.C. Brown also travels round the globe, teaching (and still learning) about how drinking is an integral part of our culture and values.

Brown landed his very first bartending job with exactly zero prior experience, bluffing his way through a rum punch by creating an elaborate concoction of nearly every bottle on the bar. Moving on from that early fluster, he has since developed celebrated beverage programs as a bartender, sommelier, and consultant for some of Washington, D.C.’s and the country’s finest restaurants and bars. Brown has received numerous accolades for his bartending, teaching, and wine stewardship, including being named one of “Five Top New Sommeliers” in the country by Wine & Spirits magazine in 2007, “Sommelier of the Year” by DC Modern Luxury magazine in 2008, “Bartender of the Year” by Washington City Paper in 2009, and has made drinks at the Whitehouse. In 2012, he was the only bartender to be nominated for James Beard’s “Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional.” His simple greatest pleasure is introducing others to great drinks and food. Brown’s favorite dram is Bourbon.

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