Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are

DC Bar, Mockingbird Hill, Paves Way for U.S. Sherry Cocktail Revolution

DC Bar, Mockingbird Hill, Paves Way for U.S. Sherry Cocktail Revolution

It’s 5 PM on a warm 2013 June evening. Up-and-coming Washington, D.C. restaurateur Derek Brown sits anxiously at the end of a stainless steel L-shaped bar inside his newest venture, Mockingbird Hill.

The grand opening parties have finished, the buzz has fizzled and now it’s the moment of truth: The inaugural day of business for the country’s first sherry wine and jamón joint modeled after many bars in southern Spain. Brown’s mind is racing.

“Nobody is there. I’m like (expletive.) ‘I’m done! This is it. What (expletive) idiot opens a sherry bar?’ I was like, ‘This is cool, I’m one of the first, but I’m going to go down in flames for this.’” The first guests arrived at 5:03 PM that day and they haven’t stopped pouring in since.

Fast forward a year-and a-half later, Mockingbird Hill is leading the sherry cocktail revolution in the U.S. And Brown, already the owner of The Passenger and Columbia Room, has opened two restaurants next door to Mockingbird Hill. The adjoining restaurants are Southern Efficiency, a whisky bar that specializes in comfort food, and Eat the Rich, which serves up healthy doses of local fish from the Chesapeake Bay. The trifecta of restaurants taking over the food and beverage scene on 7th Street in D.C.’s trendy Shaw neighborhood has earned Brown the hashtag #DB3 on Twitter.

Brown said there is no coherent reason for opening such distinctively different bars and restaurants on this slice of Shaw heaven, other than the fact that all three include the foods and drinks he and his partners salivate over.

“We just love stuff and we put it out there,” he said. It is that simple mantra that led this heavy-metal loving, cocktail-slinging, native Washingtonian to go all in and open a full-scale sherry bar. Sure you can order other wines and even a gin and tonic but Brown is hoping people will give sherry a real try. There are plenty of other bars in America with extensive sherry programs, but none have moved the needle as far as Mockingbird Hill.

Brown and bar manager, former Tabard Inn mixologist, Chantal Tseng, and their team of merry bartenders (all whom must pass a test before starting) are on a mission to change the sherry perception. It’s not always sweet, it’s not just used for cooking and it’s especially not just for old people.

“I don’t know… They think old ladies drink it. But I just say - if they did drink it - they drink this sherry, like a VORS sherry, a Palo Cortado, then they are (expletive) badass old ladies and I will follow them,” said Brown.

When you stop by Mockingbird Hill for a glass of sherry, you may just leave with the following knowledge – if you so choose. All sherry wines hail from the Jerez region of southern Spain and are made up of a blend of Palamino, Pedro Ximenz and Moscatel de Alejandria grapes. The wine is vinified in a variety of ways to create sherries that ranges from super dry and savory to bright and nutty.

“It’s a really beautiful beverage and one of the most complex and interesting in the world,” said Brown.

Mockingbird Hill serves more than 80 varieties of sherry. Brown’s obsession of the month is the Tio Pepe – a crisp dry fino. For a full sherry immersion, flights based on region and aromas are available. The most popular cocktail may as well be the Adonis, the sherry equivalent to a Manhattan. In fact, that was the first sherry-based cocktail that ever met Brown’s lips and sparked his love for this distinct wine.

Mockingbird Hill opens at 5 PM, seven days a week, and serves as a coffee bar from 8 AM to 3 PM.

Mockingbird Hill, 1843 7th St. NW D.C.; 202-316-9396

Photos by Marina Cracchiolo


Tags: Dinner, Food, Wine
Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Guinness to Open US Brewery in the Baltimore Area, August 3

Guinness to Open US Brewery in the Baltimore Area, August 3

If you haven't had a chance to drink a fresh pint of Guinness in Ireland, no worries, because Guinness is opening a 62 acre brewery and taproom just s...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Jul 6, 2018
D.C.'s Best Gin Bars

D.C.'s Best Gin Bars

No matter the time of year, nothing hits the spot quite like a great gin cocktail. Check out our top five spots in the city to sip on perfectly refres...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Jun 26, 2018
Where to Drink Summertime Cocktails in D.C.

Where to Drink Summertime Cocktails in D.C.

When the summer heat and signature humidity returns to DC, there's only one way to cool off: alcoholic beverages....read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Jun 26, 2018
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
9,000 Bourbon Barrels Fall to Ground During Collapse at Sazerac Distillery Warehouse

9,000 Bourbon Barrels Fall to Ground During Collapse at Sazerac Distillery Warehouse

Pour some out, because 9,000 barrels of whiskey were damaged during a distillery's building collapse in Kentuc...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 26, 2018
John Legend is Now Making His Own Wine With Napa's Raymond Vineyards

John Legend is Now Making His Own Wine With Napa's Raymond Vineyards

Award-winning singer-songwriter John Legend is partnering with Raymond Vineyards for his line of luxury wines,...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 26, 2018
Dylan Sprouse, Star of Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Co-Founded a Brooklyn Meadery

Dylan Sprouse, Star of Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Co-Founded a Brooklyn Meadery

From the Suite Life to the Mead Life, Dylan Sprouse is living his best life as the CEO and co-founder of All-W...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Jun 14, 2018
Game of Thrones & Johnnie Walker are Releasing a White Walker Scotch

Game of Thrones & Johnnie Walker are Releasing a White Walker Scotch

HBO's hugely popular fantasy show won't return for its final season until April 2019, but in the meantime, Gam...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 12, 2018
Snoop Dogg Mixes World's Largest Gin and Juice

Snoop Dogg Mixes World's Largest Gin and Juice

Snoop Dogg, rapper and huge fan of gin mixed with orange juice, took the stage at the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival to mix up one of the large...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Jun 11, 2018
Here's Where You Should Drink in Every D.C. Neighborhood

Here's Where You Should Drink in Every D.C. Neighborhood

Whether you're looking for a new go-to spot in your neighborhood or want to hop around between bars in different areas, check out our list of favorite...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen May 30, 2018
Behind the Bar: Amanda Victoria of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Behind the Bar: Amanda Victoria of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

For this installment of Behind the Bar, we spoke to Amanda Victoria, the current Communications Director for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in America...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 22, 2018
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Home Bar Project Rectangle
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close