Black mixologists, their recipes and the long history of Black mixology will be the subjects of an intimate fireside chat—and inspire a special cocktail—at Time Out Market New York this month.
To celebrate both Juneteenth and the release of A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology by Tamika Hall, the event will highlight Karl Franz Williams (owner of 67 Orange Street) and Colin Asare-Appiah, who will chat with Hall about their experiences, Black mixology, the influence BIPOC have had on the industry as well as how Black mixology came to be.
Guests will also be treated to a cocktail demonstration and tasting of "Tings Are Just Peachy" by Williams, along with a signed copy of the book and recipe card to make the drink at home.
Across its pages, A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology provides cocktail recipes—broken down by primary spirits like gin, cognac, rum, daiquiris and mojitos—that are easy to make at home (no blow torches required) from Black and Brown cocktail specialists but also highlights some of the industry's most notable trailblazers.
Hall, who wrote the book with the goal of highlighting Black mixologists, also wanted to provide a resource and record of the history of the practice. She delved deep into research and found that BIPOC people have been mixing drinks since the founding of America.
"I think the shock factor for people is that they don't realize we've been in the service industry our whole existence here," Hall says. "Doing research, I learned that even some popular mixologists were slaves at first who used that skill to buy their freedom and eventually open restaurants do things to create a life for themselves."
Their recipes and how-tos weren't documented because it was illegal for slaves to read and write, so a lot of these recipes were passed down by word of mouth, like family recipes, she adds.
"I found a lot more than I anticipated for a starting point for these narratives," she says, noting that she was particularly taken with the story of homesteader Birdie Brown, whose moonshine and personality were so great that people from all over the nation would travel to her.
"This is about creating a piece of literature people can reference and not have to dig for information or look for things," she adds.
Hall also found in talking with mixologists that rum in particular is a uniting theme in their recipes.
"If you're from a Caribbean or Spanish household, rum in the go-to for everything," she says. "A lot of mixologists have an affinity for rum—their parents cooked with it, brewed it up in a tea—and mentioned that type of connection to rum. We're all connected in that way a little bit.
The chat takes place on Monday, June 13, at 5pm on the Time Out Stage on the Fifth Floor of the Market. Tickets are $35 and include a pre-ordered signed copy of the book and one cocktail and recipe card. Hall will be at Time Out Market Miami with mixologist Miguel Soto Rincon on June 21 for another chat.
And for the month of June, the "Lacandon Cocktail" by Asare-Appiah from the book Black Excellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology by Tamika Hall will be available at the Time Out Market bars in New York, Miami and Boston. For every Lacandon Cocktail sold, $1 will go to the National Black Farmers Association.