Holidays Without the Hangover: Non-Alcoholic Drinks With Derek Brown - Atlas Obscura Experiences
Gastro Obscura

Holidays Without the Hangover: Non-Alcoholic Drinks With Derek Brown

3 sessions
$75 per person
See Dates
$75 per person
$75 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, learn how to prepare and pair a variety of delicious non-alcoholic holiday drinks.

Course Description

The holidays can be a boozy time. From pairing wines with Thanksgiving dishes to clinking Champagne glasses on New Year's Eve, it's easy to spend the last few months of the year in a perpetual fog of over-imbibing. But alcohol is an option, and we can also choose to eat, drink, and be merry with our loved ones and without the loathed hangovers. In this course with award-winning bartender and wellness coach Derek Brown, we’ll cover the basics of non-alcoholic (NA) drinks from beer and wine to ciders and cocktails. Drawing from his book, Mindful Mixology: A Comprehensive Guide to No- and Low-Alcohol Cocktails, Derek will demo how to concoct (and taste!) the best seasonal NA beverages. By the end of our time together, you’ll not only have a sense of how to make and pair NA drinks, but also a list of strategies for mindful drinking throughout the holidays.

Syllabus At A Glance

This course includes three total sessions, each lasting 1.5 hours on Wednesdays beginning November 15, skipping the week of November 22, and resuming November 29.

Session 1 (Wednesday, 11/15, 7:30–9 PM EST) | An Introduction to Mindful Drinking and Thanksgiving Pairings

Drinks covered: A selection of non-alcoholic wines, beers, and cider pairings

Session 2 (Wednesday, 11/29, 7:30–9 PM EST) | Winter Holiday Drinks

Drinks covered: Satin Ribbon, Glögg, and Gingerbread Old Fashioned

Session 3 (Wednesday, 12/6, 7:30–9 PM EST) | Cheering in the New Year

Drinks covered: Champagne Punch, French 75, and Airmail

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

Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.

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 the founder of Positive Damage, Inc., a NASM-certified wellness coach, advocate for mindful drinking, and expert on no- and low-alcohol cocktails. He is also known as a cocktail pioneer, former owner of the prestigious Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. (2017 “Best American Cocktail Bar” at the Spirited Awards), and one of the nation’s top bartenders as Chief Spirits Advisor to the National Archives Foundation, which he jokes made him the highest-ranking bartender in the U.S. government.

In 2017, Playboy magazine named Brown one of "The 10 Entertainers, Thought Leaders and Heroes Who'll Save Us in 2017." More recently, Brown was 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.

Brown changed his approach to drinking in 2018, realizing he had a problem with alcohol. At first, he wasn’t sure how to approach drinking with his new concerns. He subsequently released his first book, Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World in 2019. He then 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.”

Shortly after, Brown published Mindful Mixology: a Comprehensive Guide to No- and Low-Alcohol Cocktails, pursued his certification in wellness through the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), and began to study positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He wanted to understand how happiness and vitality affect our approach to drinking, and how simple strategies can improve our relationship with alcohol.

Brown is now working to help foster a culture of mindful drinking and make room for everyone at the bar with delicious no- and low-alcohol drinks. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his family, skateboards and plays chess.

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

There are no upcoming experiences at the moment. Fill out the form below to be notified when we add new dates.

All fields required.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.