two authors presenting a book

An interview with Tamika Hall

Southern Glazer’s Bridget Albert talks to Tamika Hall about her book Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology


Q&A interview


What inspired you to create a comprehensive guide to Black mixologists, their history, and their cocktail recipes?

There is limited documentation on Black mixologists’ contributions to the
hospitality industry. This was an opportunity to pay tribute to those who had gone
before us with a firm foothold in the current moment reflected in the ingredients
and brands used.

Can you share some insights into the historical significance and contributions of Black mixologists in the beverage industry?


Black mixologists played a pivotal role in the beverage industry, dating back to the days of slavery. As a service industry, we were mandated to do a lot of the work that was turned into a lifestyle that earned us our freedom, and a way of life after slavery. It is important to realize that our contributions set the tone for many of the recipes we see in mixology today. We have Birdie Brown, a Black woman who was nicknamed The Unsung Hero of Prohibition. During Prohibition, she was making moonshine and running a bed and breakfast in the Midwest. Her recipe influenced the Birdie Brown brand of spirits that is on shelves today. 

How did you go about researching and curating the stories and cocktails, and what were some of the most impactful discoveries you made?


We came across a lot of stories we wanted to tell. For us, it was about focusing on the consistency of the story, the fact checks, and finding information that supported the narrative. The history of rum was intriguing. It not only highlighted the influence of slaves on its creation but also highlighted the journey that heavily influenced its flavors. A lot of the featured mixologists are from the Caribbean and picked rum as their favorite spirit and created delicious cocktails that showcased its versatility. 


Can you highlight a favorite cocktail and what makes it stand out in terms of flavor,
creativity, or cultural influence? 


There are many standout cocktails in the book, but a personal favorite is the Belafonte Margarita, which is a vibrant watermelon twist on the spicy margarita. It consists of Illegal Joven Mescal, Martini Fiero, fresh watermelon and slices of Habanero pepper, fresh lime, and a splash of simple syrup. Shaken and served up. Aptly named after Harry Belafonte who inspired so many during his career.

Leave us with a toast!


Here's to honoring our ancestors and showing gratitude for those who paved the way for us to shine. 

May we continue to honor their spirits in the work that we do and the cocktails that we shake and serve. 




About Tamika:


Tamika Hall is a mom, freelance writer, and content strategy manager.


Purchase Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology


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Follow Tamika on Social: @ladyblogga @blackmxcellence