Star-Spangled Banner Gala Event
September 12, 2014
Join participating mixologists in Washington, D.C., on September 12, 2014 as they showcase their Star-Spangled Banner–inspired cocktails at an evening event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. We’ll toast the flag 200 years after Battle of Baltimore began during the War of 1812, when this fledgling country held back a British attack and the flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write the song that became our national anthem. The event will be emceed by Simon Majumdar, best known for his frequent appearances on the Food Network, and will feature music by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Quartet. Guests will learn how to mix their own cocktails at home, participate in mixology demonstrations, hear from cocktail historian David Wondrich, and see collections objects out of storage. DJ Will Eastman will spin as we toast to the history of the national anthem with top-notch cocktails, food, music, and dancing.
Featuring: Cocktail historian David Wondrich; award-winning bartenders Anu Apte, Greg Best, Melanie Bowdish, Brandon Casey, Brendan Dorr, Phoebe Esmon, Christian Gaal, Charles Joly, Sean Kenyon, Steven Liles, and Josey Packard; DJ Will Eastman; and emcee Simon Majumdar.
This event is open to those 21 years of age and older. All proceeds from this event support the programmatic and research efforts of the American Food History Project at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Simon Majumdar is a broadcaster and author who has dedicated the second half of his time on this planet to fulfill his ambition to “Go Everywhere. Eat Everything.” It’s a journey that’s taken him to all 50 states and to dozens of countries around the world. He has written two books: Eat My Globe and Eating for Britain. His new book, Fed, White and Blue, which catalogues his journey to American citizenship, will be published by Hudson Street Press in 2015. If you spend too much time watching television, you may also recognize his bald head from Food Network shows like Iron Chef America, The Next Iron Chef and Cutthroat Kitchen. He currently lives in Los Angeles, which is probably why he travels so much.
About David Wondrich
David Wondrich, the lead advisor for Raise a Glass to History, will oversee a panel of judges selected by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Channel to pick three finalists for The 15th Cocktail: The Raise a Glass Contest. Wondrich was educated at New York University, where he earned a Doctorate in Comparative Literature in 1997. After a brief career as a Shakespeare professor and a briefer one as a jazz critic, he fell into a job writing about drinks for Esquire magazine, an occupation he has happily persevered in ever since. Widely acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the history of the cocktail and one of the founders of the modern craft cocktail movement, Dr. Wondrich is the author of countless newspaper and magazine articles and five books, including the hugely influential Imbibe! (2007), which was the first cocktail book to win a James Beard award, and Punch, which came out in late 2010 to wide acclaim. His books and other writings have earned him five Tales of the Cocktail Spirit Awards. At present, he is working on the Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, a multi-year project. He is a founding partner in Beverage Alcohol Resource, America’s leading training program for bartenders and other mixologists, lectures frequently on drinks and their curious history and is a member in satisfactory standing of the Yerba Buena No. 1 chapter of E Clampus Vitus.
DJ and producer Will Eastman’s sets are known to expertly move people with narratives of house, techno, disco, and left-field gems, earning him the title “one of Washington’s titan DJs” from the Washington Post. Eastman has been a member of numerous bands since age 15 and brings a fiercely independent spirit to his DJ and music production approach, pushing boundaries with new sounds and unexpected juxtapositions. His releases and remixes have received broad support from a diverse range of DJs, including Daniel Avery and Aeroplane, and have been featured by BBC Radio 1, FACT Magazine, and Urb, among many others. As one-third of Volta Bureau, Eastman topped the Beatport indie dance charts for an unprecedented six months in 2012 with “Alley Cat.” The Washington City Paper describes Volta Bureau’s sound as “bottled bliss, pitch-shifting already-shimmery sounds in the direction of heaven.” Eastman has appeared in clubs throughout the U.S., such as Smart Bar and Electric Pickle, and at major festivals like Virgin Mobile Freefest. A music curator as well as creator, in 2000 he founded DC’s longest standing emerging dance music club night and blog, Blisspop. Eastman is the managing partner and music director of U Street Music Hall, named a top 10 dance club in America by Rolling Stone and “best dance club in the region” by the Washington Post. Trained as a museum specialist and historian, Eastman previously worked for the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center at the National Museum of American History where he documented the history of the electric guitar, sound recording technologies and the work of Nobel Prize winners before dedicating himself to a DJ and music production career.
This event was made possible through the generous support of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.