Session Cocktails: Low-Alcohol Mixology With Derek Brown - Atlas Obscura Experiences
Gastro Obscura

Session Cocktails: Low-Alcohol Mixology With Derek Brown

3 sessions
$65 per person
See Dates
$65 per person
$65 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

This course has already started! However, you can still join if you’d like to (and we hope you will!). Students enrolling after the course start date and time will have access to a recording of the first session (which will be emailed to participants within 72 hours) as well as the option to attend remaining sessions live. Please select the “Join Late” ticket type to enroll after the course has begun.

In this 3-part lecture series, become fluent in the history, ingredients, and techniques of making low-alcohol cocktails.

Course Description

Low-alcohol cocktails fall into a growing movement of mindful drinking, where the buzz is exchanged for the ability to fully experience complex, culinary-driven creations that can be consumed at any time. In this three-part mixology workshop, author, cocktail expert, and mindful drinker Derek Brown will serve up the rich history of session cocktails and demonstrate how to craft great low-alcohol drinks at home. Using fortified wine, beer, and spirits, we’ll explore different techniques of combining ingredients in creative ways, drawing from historical examples along the way. Each session will cover how to make two cocktails; students are encouraged to follow along in class.

Drinks include:

  • Never Have I Ever (Original)
  • Sherry Cobbler
  • Melon-Basil Cup (Original)
  • Michelada
  • Grapefruit Chu-Hi
  • Tinsy Ginsy 

Syllabus at a Glance

This course includes three total sessions, each lasting for 1.5 hours on three Thursdays beginning June 22.

Session 1 (Thursday, 6/22, 8–9:30 PM ET) | Fortified Wine 

We’ll explore what constitutes something we consider “low-alcohol.” We’ll also cover making cocktails with fortified wines, which are among the best bases for low-alcohol cocktails.

-week off-

Session 2 (Thursday, 7/6, 8–9:30 PM ET) | Beer and Wine

In our second session, we’ll focus on the myriad ways to use beer and wine in low-alcohol cocktails.

Session 3 (Thursday, 7/13,8–9:30 PM ET) | A Splash of Spirit

In our final session together, we’ll discuss using a smaller amount of hard alcohol in session cocktails, as well as low-alcohol spirits.

Course Materials

Students will receive recipes and shopping lists prior to the start of each class, and will be able to follow along during class if they'd like. 

Between Sessions

Outside of class, students will have access to related readings, and will be encouraged to practice techniques used in class on their own with an independent cocktail project.

Pricing Options

This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

Community Guidelines for Students

Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Derek Brown
Derek Brown

Derek Brown is an author, NASM-certified wellness coach, and founder of Positive Damage, Inc., a company dedicated to creating a culture of mindful drinking and making room for everyone at the bar with delicious no- and low-alcohol drinks. Previously, Brown owned Spirited Awards 2017 “Best American Cocktail Bar” Columbia Room in Washington, D.C., and was one of the nation’s top bartenders, named “Bartender of the Year” by Imbibe magazine in 2015. He was also Chief Spirits Advisor to the National Archives Foundation from 2015-2020.

In 2019, Brown published his first book, Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World, and was named 2020 “Author of the Year” at the Nightclub & Bar Show Awards. Brown changed his approach to drinking in 2018, and decided it was time to be open about his struggles with alcohol and addressed his new appreciation for mindful drinking in a 2020 Vox article entitled, “Becoming a ‘mindful drinker’ changed my life.” In 2022, Brown published his second book, Mindful Mixology: a Comprehensive Guide to No- and Low-Alcohol Cocktails. For his advocacy, Brown has been recognized as a leading beverage figure affecting positive change in the global bar industry by Drinks International in 2020 in their “Bar World 100” list and as “one of the most inspirational people and places that will shape how we drink in 2023” in Imbibe magazine’s “Imbibe 75” for 2023. Currently, Brown is co-founder of Mindful Drinking Fest and authoring a course for NASM on Mindful Drinking. He works with individuals and companies to foster mindful drinking, promote wellness, and proliferate no- and low-alcohol cocktails.

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Dates and Availability

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