When your bartender isn’t busy pouring you a drink, there’s a good chance he or she is chasing a shot of Old Overholt rye whiskey with a can of National Bohemian beer. The ”Boh and O” combo has become a D.C. bar and restaurant industry staple in recent years and now appears on a number of late-night menus. The shot of choice has evolved over the decades from Irish Mist to Grand Marnier to Jameson Irish Whiskey to Fernet Branca to Old Overholt. While rye has generally seen a rise in popularity, many bartenders credit Passenger co-owner Tom Brown for popularizing Old Overholt locally. He’s gone through about 10,000 bottles in five years at the Passenger. As for Natty Boh? The working man’s beer has Baltimore roots and was adopted by D.C. as a local-ish beer before breweries started opening here.
Regardless of the combo’s origins, local industry folks appreciate the fact that Boh and O is simple and cheap. “When your mind is completely engrossed in trying to figure out the best things to drink, sometimes you need to reset your mind with something that’s just a base level delicious,” says Derek Brown, Tom’s brother and fellow Passenger owner. “Shitty that tastes good is Old Overholt and Natty Boh.”