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D.C. Mixologists Pay Tribute to Black Bartenders

Missy Frederick is the Cities Director for Eater.

D.C.'s bartending community has been trying to draw more attention to the important role that black bartenders played in the city during the Prohibition era. Local authors such as Garrett Peck (The Prohibition Hangover) have been researching the topic, and bartenders like Bourbon Steak's Duane Sylvestre, among others, appeared on The Kojo Nnamdi Show last week to discuss the topic.

The next step is a gala event scheduled for May 10 at the Howard Theatre during World Cocktail Week. It's called DC Toasts Historic Black Bartenders. There, the city's bartenders will pay tribute to the bartenders of the past with cocktails (each drink is inspired by a historical recipe created by a black bartender, or was common to the era) with live music from Chuck Brown as the backdrop. The event is a benefit for the Museum of the American Cocktail.

A lot of research went into the drink preparation, according to The Columbia Room's Derek Brown, who has been helping to organize the event. For example, Peck found a recipe for Flower Pot Punch, one of the most popular drinks prepared by Black bartenders at the now defunct Hancock's bar, despite the fact it had been essentially lost for years. Peck worked with other bartenders to help re-engineer the drink for the party.

Here's what each mixologist will be preparing; many have teamed up on the cocktails:

· Quiot Club Punch (D'USSÉ Cognac, Rum, Madeira, Lemon Sugar)
Collin Asare-Appiah, Bacardi Training Manager and former host of Cocktail Kings
Rob Tinney, Bartender, Columbia Room

· Pinckney Mint Julep (George Dickel Rye Whiskey, Brandy, Sugar, Mint, Fruit)
Dale Degroff, President of the Museum of the American Cocktail, Author of The Craft of the Cocktail
Jon Harris, Bar Manager, Firefly

· Flower Pot Punch (Banks Rum, Lemon, Lime, Pineapple Syrup, Grenadine)
Jim Meehan, Bar Owner of PDT-NYC, Author PDT Cocktail Book
Jon Peterson, Bar Manager, Hogo

· Dick Francis Special (Bulleit Bourbon, Maraschino Liqueur, Lemon, Sugar, Fruit)
David Wondrich, Drinks Writer for Esquire, Author of Imbibe and Punch
Frankie Jones, Bartender, The Gibson

· Cointreau Punch (Cointreau, Brandy, Rum, Lemon, Sugar, Fruit)
Duane Sylvestre, Cocktail Educator and Bartender, Bourbon Steak
Glendon Hartley, Bartender, Founding Farmers

· Cherry Blossom (Beefeaters Gin, Egg White, Raspberry Syrup)
Todd Thrasher, Bar and Restaurant Owner, Restaurant Eve, PX, Eamonn's, TNT, Society Fair and The Majestic
Jayson Smith, Bartender, PX

· Holland Gin Cocktail (Bols Genever, Curaçao, Gomme Syrup, Sugar, Lemon)
Adam Bernbach, Bar Manager, Proof, Estadio and 2 Birds 1 Stone
Jennifer McDermott, Bartender, Estadio

· Coopertown (Hayman's Old Tom Gin, Sweet Vermouth, OJ, Mint)
Gina Chersevani, Bar Manager and Owner, Eddy Bar and Buffalo & Bergen
Chris Martino, Bartender, Buffalo & Bergen

· Gin Rickey (Plymouth, Lime, Soda Water)
Derek Brown, Drinks Writer and Bar Owner, Columbia Room, The Passenger, Mockingbird Hill and Eat the Rich
Patrick Sudler, Renaissance Hotel

· Bourbon Rickey (Bulleit Bourbon, Lime, Soda Water)
Garrett Peck, Historian and Author of Prohibition in Washington, D.C.: How Dry We Weren't
Emmanuel Dankwa, Mayflower Hotel

Tickets are $75 general admission and $100 for VIP, which gets attendees in an hour earlier.
· The Black Mixology Club [WAMU]
· DC Toasts [Official Site]