In my quest to find the perfect cocktail here in Atlanta, I ventured out to Negril Village to try their “Jerk Old-fashioned.” Given my affinity for all things jerk and well-blended rye cocktails, I can’t front; I was excited. However, to my dismay, they only had a regular Old-fashioned on offer because their craft person had taken off a few months ago; they haven’t had the drink since. Another opportunity lost. With Harlem Brewery, Cajun Fire, 18th Street Brewery, Black Frog and Dyckman Beer being recognized and celebrated in the market, now is the time to truly engage black cocktail enthusiasts! As a creative people who do everything so well, our palates deserve more than Ciroc and store-bought juice.
KoolAid rim? Sweet tea foam? Sorrel bitters? Where they at tho? These things aren’t far-fetched ideas. Not every white drinking hole is a craft bar, but the option to venture to one is available. I’m tired of Dekuyper liqueurs. I detest “Real Lemon” lemon juice from “concentrate.” Where the fresh fruit at?? Where the lemon at??? We can tell when you don’t squeeze it yourself! While I’m at it, we can taste the lies so keep your margarita mix, fam. We are botanists (George Washington Carver), chemists (Marie Daly), and mystics (Baron Samedi), so when will we translate these skills to a genteel glass of fire water?
Thankfully, I’m not the only one on the hunt. I recently discovered the Cocktail Bandits who record their quest for elevated cocktails. We’re out here in droves, and we recognize the disrespect present in cocktail mediocrity. Craft cocktails are not a new trend, and we aren’t playing catch up to any other culture. From Nigerian palm wine to Brazilian caipirinha, our libations have long been legit. While mixologists like Tom Bullock and Robert Bowie laid the historic smack down, “Tales of the Cocktail” interviewed these drink-slinging ladies who not only continued tradition, but brought it to bolder heights. We’re here. No half-stepping.
Ultimately, I long for a bar where I can savor a balanced botanical drink while relishing in the bass laden beats of Jeezy or Hov in the background. Let’s allow our nuanced taste for sound match that of our taste buds. I know there are a few places in NY like Solomon & Kuff and 67 Orange Street but where the rest of y’all at?? Seriously, if you know a black business that makes a wicked drink please drop us a line.