Photo of José Cox by Laura Hayes
Photo of José Cox by Laura Hayes

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Local bartender José Cox is raising money to help the homeless by hosting “Campaign for the Homeless” cocktail pop-ups inside Emissary coffeehouse, bar, and cafe. The next one is scheduled for Sept. 30 from 6-11 p.m. inside the back bar area of the Dupont Circle hideaway.

“The reason I’m doing this is that one of my good friends invited me to his church where they cook for the homeless,” he says. “Wow if they can do it, I can do something. That’s the inspiration.” 

Cox, who was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, has tended bar at Oyamelbarmini by José Andrés, and McClellan’s Retreat, among others. So far he has hosted two pop-ups, one on July 7 and another on Aug. 12. The events brought in $800 for the Coalition for the Homeless

The arrangement he has with Emissary enables him to donate 80 percent of proceeds from each pop-up. “Without Emissary, I wouldn’t be able to do this,” says Cox. “I went to a couple of places on U Street, but they said we’d have to pay for the use of the space. Shout out to the Emissary team for doing it for free.”  

Together with his partners Miguel Marcelino and Samuel Ferraro, Cox creates three speciality cocktails for each event. Past drinks have included a farmers market inspired classic daiquiri topped with peach espuma, a gin & tonic featuring gin infused with bay leaves and cardamom with lemongrass soda, and a play on a Manhattan made dramatic with orange and fennel smoke. Drinks are always priced at $13 a piece.

While D.C.’s homeless population is declining, the District, its nonprofit partners, and more than 300 volunteers counted 7,473 homeless people—whether on the streets, in shelter, or in short-term housing—earlier this year. 

Emissary, 2032 P St. NW; (202) 748-5655;