Happy Black History Month! Cheers! With so many creative drinks out there, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, there’s always something new for your taste buds but where did it all begin? Who were the pioneers in the Black community?
One of the most overlooked names in the history of bartending is Tom Bullock, a St. Louis bartender who wrote the first cocktail book by an African American which was published in 1917. The Ideal Bartender is an alphabetical catalogue of historic, meticulously constructed cocktails, including a painstakingly layered Pousse Café with Abricontine (apricot liqueur), Maraschine, Curacao, Chartreuse and Brandy.
Another name in the mixology history that you need to know is Dick, or “Uncle Dick,” Francis. Francis was born into slavery in Virginia in 1827. For 35 years, beginning in 1848, he worked at Hancock’s here in D.C. Francis began an easy favorite amongst the political D.C. crowd, and used the money he earned while working at Hancock’s to invest in local real estate and send his son to medical school. Francis was later asked to bartend for the U.S. Senate after the Civil War.