Author Tamika Hall Talks the Meaning of ‘Black Mixcellence'
For Tamika Hall, mixology - the skill of mixing ingredients to create cocktails - is more than merely imbibing delicious craft drinks. Hall, the co-author of the forthcoming book Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology (out January 25, 2022), approaches the topic of mixology from the lens of Black trendsetters in hospitality and the spirits industry. She states, “The mixology industry is super one-sided and one track in terms of promoting Black mixologists. So, my hope was to use this platform and give it to them so that they can really take their businesses and their abilities to the next level.”
Publishing company Kingston Imperial approached Hall because they wanted to produce a Black mixology book. Hall, who previously wrote branded content for Bacardi, Maker’s Mark, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, and Viniq, partnered with the acclaimed advocate in the spirits industry and current Senior Portfolio Ambassador of Bacardi USA, Colin Asare-Appiah. “When I started thinking about all of the things that Black people have done in mixology, I figured it would be good to pay homage to the past, but also highlight the future of Black mixologists because they get zero shine,” Hall says.
Initially, Black Mixcellence focused solely on Black and Brown mixologists and their cocktail creations. However, as Hall and Asare-Appiah began working on the book, they realized an essential narrative component was missing: the history. So, they layered historical references into the current and its relation to the future of mixology. Among the many featured in the book are CEO-Founder Fawn Weaver of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey and Alexis Brown, founder of Causing A Stir, alongside the rich history of the century-old Black Mixologists Club. “Yes, I wrote the book, and yes, I put the information together, but it’s really about them. I think the best part of this is giving them the shine that they otherwise might not get,” Hall adds.
Aside from learning how to personalize the mixology experience at home, Hall expresses the importance of knowing this art goes beyond the bar or restaurant where people drink. “There are stories behind the people that are serving the drinks and the drinks that they’re making. So, if you just take two minutes and have a conversation, not a venting conversation – because a lot of times the bartenders are like therapists – you can learn so much that you probably never thought you would even learn,” Hall mentions. Essentially, Black Mixcellence gives the reader a different perspective of the stories behind the mixologists serving the drinks and the innovators starting alcohol brands.
“I think it’s super important for people to take into account that this is how people earn a living,” Hall says. “So, this particular industry is important to them, and the information that they’ve given us hopefully translates, and people can bring mixology into their home and make it a super personal experience based on some of the recipes and stories that they gave.”