Originally, Derek was ‘just’ my bartender. The dapper gentleman who introduced my friends and me to Sidecars at Palena in DC’s Cleveland Park.
I should have known that he had a lot up his sleeve, so to speak. Among other things, Derek has a company called Laughing Cocktail with business partner Angie Salame. He owns The Passenger with his brother, Tom, and has also lobbied successfully for the Rickey to be named Washington, DC’s native cocktail.
There’s more – lots – but let’s have Derek do the rest of the talking.
OneChicklette: Your favorite qualities in a love interest
@betterdrinking: It may be the least romantic thing to say but a sense of wonder. We’re goddamn lucky to live in such an amazing world and it’d be hard to spend time with someone who didn’t get how special that is. Also, someone who understands that the world is fickle. I’m tempted to use the word humor, which originally meant fluid but then specified ever-changing moods. Someone not bewildered by that change and can see what really matters.
Lastly, the ability to laugh at oneself. We can be certain that by the time that we can articulate our purpose, we will long live past our abilities. My grandfather used to joke about how my grandmother was shrinking. It wasn’t sad anymore, to be old. It was silly. It made loss and pain sometimes easier to handle. If you’re going to love someone, you have to see them down the long haul.
OneChicklette: Your chief characteristic (one word)
The Passenger is already a great place to get a drink in Washington, DC.
Courtesy of Jim Webb
Great location in my old hood, quality spirits made into tasty cocktails and terrific, unique bar food made by brothers Derek and Tom Brown, plus the bar’s excellent staff.
But The Passenger’s staff has taken the inventiveness they apply to creating cocktails a step further.
I asked The Passenger’s head bartender AlexBookless how the drinks – and the fun signs that promote them – came to be. This is what she had to say:
We’ve always enjoyed playing around with pop-culture and the zeitgeist, and bringing that into our bar. We put what we think is funny on our chalk boards and hope everyone else agrees with us. We try to make cocktails that are a fun representation of whatever pop-culture phenomenon we’re referencing, and we try to make them delicious too.
The Passenger succeeds in that effort. I’m overdue for a visit.