8 Up-and-Coming DC Bartenders to Watch

By Rina Rapuano  |  May 6, 2014
Credit: Laura Hayes

DC has its fair share of superstar bartenders these days - Derek Brown, JP Caceres and Gina Chersevani, just to name a few. But there are plenty of newcomers doing exciting things, some quietly waiting for their day in the spotlight and some who are already starting to make a name for themselves. Here are a few talented mixologists we think you should keep your eye on. You may be hearing more from them very soon. 

  • Credit: Laura Hayes

    Kristi Green, Petworth Citizen

    Favorite Spirit: Whiskey!
    Go-To Bar Order: Perfect Manhattan
    Cocktail She's Most Proud Of: Meet Me in Old Saigon - Momo Kawa Daiginjo Sake, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon and housemade simple syrup done in the style of the classic Barcelona cocktail; served in a wine glass, ungarnished, topped with club soda.
    Biggest Cocktail Influence: My experience at Vinoteca. I worked there from 2008 to 2010 before the 14th Street corridor was the monolith of hip eateries and trendy bar concepts that it is now. It was there that I realized the most important thing about working in the business: you'll never be everything to all people, but as long as you are true to your vision, you do what you do to the best of your ability, surround yourself with those whose strengths are different from your own and look for ways to constantly improve - you'll be great.

  • Credit: Ezra Gregg

    Brett Robison, Republic

    Favorite Spirit: Whiskey
    Go-To Bar Order: Beer and a shot
    Cocktail He's Most Proud Of: The Primitive American made of Small's American Gin, Catoctin Creek Rye Whiskey, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, lemon juice and sugar.
    Biggest Cocktail Influence: Jeffrey Morgenthaler

  • Orcun Turkay, The St. Regis Bar and Decanter

    Favorite Spirit: Raki (traditional Turkish spirit)
    Go-To Bar Order: Manhattan
    Cocktail He's Most Proud Of: Fried Sage made of vodka, prickly pear, ginger, sage and lambic framboise.
    Biggest Cocktail Influence: I can't name only one but during my U.K. visit I have had the best experiences at the London hotel bars.

  • Credit: Elizabeth Parker Photographie

    Caroline Blundell, Ripple

    Favorite Spirit: Tequila
    Go-To Bar Order: Currently, a gin martini with a twist.
    Cocktail She's Most Proud Of: Caroline's Shifty, a perfect twist on a Manhattan - Temptation bourbon, Ramazotti Amaro and housemade lemon-spice bitters stirred and served up. [It's] the first cocktail I ever put on the menu at Ripple. We've taken it off now, but it's still a highly requested drink.
    Biggest Influence: Josh Berner. After moving to DC, he patiently helped me refine my skills and taught me how to expand my mind and think outside the box when it comes to crafting cocktails.

  • Horus Alvarez, Vinoteca

    Favorite Spirit: Whiskey, definitely whiskey
    Go-To Bar Order: I usually go for an old fashioned, unless I know someone who can make a good Sazerac.
    Cocktail He's Most Proud Of: One of my favorite creations is a cocktail that was inspired by one of my favorite drinks - the Martinez. I combine mezcal, Italian vermouth, maraschino liqueur, chocolate bitters and orange bitters. It shares my name - I call it the Alvarez. A must-try at Vinoteca!
    Biggest Influence: Dale DeGroff was an amazing influence in my life when it came to cocktails, reading his books and learning his ways to create better cocktails. No wonder why they call him King Cocktail.

  • Glendon Hartley, Cava Mezze

    Favorite Spirit: Calvados apple brandy
    Go-to Bar Order: The Negroni is my favorite drink, or Campari and soda.
    Cocktail He's Most Proud Of: A Light Kick Punch made with lemon, honeydew, mango, pineapple, a vodka-based falernum that I made with white pepper and herbs, Cointreau, orange bitters and Grey Goose Pear.
    Biggest Influence: I would say that my palate influence comes from my Trinidadian roots. My family are the people that taught me how to balance flavors and use spices at a young age, and that transferred into my drink-making style. I love to make spicy cocktails, and I usually throw one or two onto drink menus I create. Jon Arroyo originally taught me about balancing flavor in drinks when I apprenticed under him.

  • Josh Fatemi, Sidebar

    Favorite Spirit: Rye whiskey
    Go-To Bar Order: An old fashioned
    Cocktail He’s Most Proud Of: The China Girl (pictured), made with St. George Terroir gin, Zirbenz pine liqueur, mandarin shrub, lemon juice and brut champagne, which he created for Roofers Union. (We loved it, too! Read more about it here.)
    Biggest Influence: I got introduced to cocktails when I opened up Pearl Dive and Black Jack. And then I tried the drinks at Franklin Mortgage Investment Company in Philadelphia and was blown away. So it really wasn’t a person, it was more an experience.

  • Credit: Scott Suchman

    J.P. Fetherston, Southern Efficiency

    Favorite Spirit: Whiskey
    Go-To Bar Order: Negroni
    Cocktail He’s Most Proud Of: Brigade Gin & Tonic on draft, a combination of a green apple and sage tonic tailored to the aromatics and flavors of Green Hat gin.
    Biggest Influence: Derek Brown. He gave me a chance behind the bar at The Passenger, and then guided me when I worked directly under him at Columbia Room. One of the greats of the cocktail and spirits world, a fiercely intelligent man and a great leader. He also served me my first proper cocktail when he previously ran the bar at The Gibson. Blew my mind wide open.