In Washington, it sometimes feels like every week is World Cocktail Week.
From May 6-13, however, it actually is World Cocktail Week. And Friday night, D.C. Toasts will hold its first annual Spring cocktail event to pay tribute to the art and diverse history of the well-built drink by throwing a killer party at the Howard Theatre, which will feature D.C.’s legendary Chuck Brown Band.
According to the website, D.C. Toasts was founded by Washington’s cocktail geeks to promote “excellence in bartending through diversity and education, by celebrating those who have made significant contributions to bartending but whose stories have gone virtually untold.”
According to Duane Sylvestre of D.C.’s Bourbon Steak, it was recently “discovered that there was a mixologist club here in Washington, D.C., for black bartenders, mixologists, porters, people who worked in service. [The club], of course, went away when their craft became illegal by prohibition.
“So now that we have just bits and pieces of this information, we’re celebrating a bit of D.C.’s history by doing a toast, or a nod, towards that black mixologist club,” he explained. “What we’ve done is selected local mixologists and ‘cocktail personalities,’ if you will — people who are well-known throughout the mixologist community — and paired them up to celebrate with expressions of cocktails from the era.”
In particular, the event will highlight Tom Bullock, the first African-American to write a cocktail book, published just before prohibition hit. Bullock’s grand-nephew Darryl Bullock will be presented the “Tom Bullock Award for Distinguished Service,” which will honor bartenders who have made “significant charitable or social contributions.”
The event is as much about the history of the cocktail as it is about the history of Washington and several featured drinks, including several featured in Tom Bullock’s book and local D.C. drinks such as “the flower pot punch,” which have been adapted from that period.
Buy tickets here.