Posted in Feature Spotlight, On The Radar, Resources

Mmmm Good!!…Celebrating Black History Through Tasty Drinks & Delicious Eats!!

To All My Chefs & Mixologists (novice and professional) out there, this is for you!

Who doesn’t love a mouth-watering, soulful meal or a delightful spirit to cap off the night?!! Well I wanted to add to your “must-see and must-try” lists by highlighting the spirit and culinary world with a few cookbooks, wineries, breweries, creators and organizations that are making Black History!!

Not surprisingly, Black Americans have contributed significantly (and still do) to the culinary world and cocktail/wine/brewery culture. We have been tastemakers and drink-makers since the beginning of time :-). Cooking and feeding the soul is in the DNA of African Americans (check out Netflix’s High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America if you don’t believe me)!

As it relates to the spirit world, I recently learned that there was a Black Mixology Club that was founded in 1898 by R. R. Bowie and J. Burke Edelin that was a “marquee professional association,” and a gathering place for African Americans who were trying to move up the ladder of social mobility within professional bartending [Check out these pioneers as well: Cato Alexander, John Dabney, Tom Bullock, and Dick “Uncle Dick” Francis]. 

Now let me say this…. the following below is by no means the only folks that have been and are in the game just a few to wet your palette (literally and figuratively), because I know there are tons of Black folks making history!!

So get ready to pop some bottles, plan your next couple or friends getaway, pull out those pots and pans, turn on your ovens, and make some magical memories!!

Black Winemakers, Wines, and Sommeliers

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Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Black Breweries & Cideries

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

Recipe, Cocktails, and other Cookbooks

  • Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology ~Tamika Hall
  • Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails ~Shannon Mustipher
  • The Ideal Bartender* ~Tom Bullock [First cocktail book by an African American]
  • Holy Spirits! Charleston Culture Through Cocktails ~Taneka Reaves & Johnny Caldwell
  • After Hours Cocktail Book ~Martina Jackson
  • My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef ~Kwame Onwuachi
  • Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora ~Bryant Terry
  • The Art of Fufu: A Guide to the Culture and Flavors of a West African Tradition ~Kavachi Ukegbu
  • Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing ~Jerrelle Guy
  • The Church Ladies’ Divine Desserts ~Brenda Rhodes Miller
  • Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family ~Alice Randall & Caroline Randall Williams
  • In Pursuit of Flavor ~Edna Lewis
  • Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day ~Alexander Smalls and JJ Johnson
  • Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul ~Lazarus Lynch
  • The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South ~Michael W. Twitty
Photo by DapurMelodi on Pexels.com

Cheers and Bon Appetit!!

Posted in Feature Spotlight, On The Radar

For All My Readers Out There!!

So as I was going through my emails this weekend (the neverending saga lol), I came across one from my colleague about a new Black-owned bookstore opening up here in Richmond. I immediately clicked on the message to get more info on this discovery!!

For all my Richmond folks, or folks who will be coming through the area there is a new bookstore coming to the Shockoe Slip area in February 5th, 2022 (right around the corner) called “The Book Bar”!!

The Book Bar is “a Black-owned, woman-owned bookstore that centers BIPOC authors and brands in effort to uplift and support a culture that is often silenced.” Owned by New Jersey native Krystle Dandridge, The Book Bar will be one of the few Black-owned bookstores in Richmond. The importance of having a space such as this is very personal for Dandridge, “growing up, I don’t think I walked into any business where the owner looked like me,” she says. “Worked there? Yes. But owned it? No. Representation matters. I used to walk into any bookstore and it was difficult to find books by authors who look like me. It’s just not considered what is mainstream even though there are a lot of them out there. Our country is diverse, so I wanted to create a space where folks can find diverse reads.”

The Book Bar logo

For me this is essential as well, considering I am always trying to find safe spaces to chill and relax as well as support. [The Book Bar has also be added to my list of Black owned bookstores, which you can find in the “Resource Guide” section.] And as an added bonus a potential new hang out spot!!

Intentional Reading | Books | Style Weekly - Richmond, VA local news, arts,  and events.
The Book Bar owner Kyrstle Dandridge (Photo credit: Scott Elmquist)

In addition to this being a bookstore customers will also be able to support and purchase from other vendors and Black-owned businesses. And if you want a little something extra you can take part in the quarterly subscription box, which includes a book and a range of products (i.e. wine, bath bombs, socks and snacks). And as you shop, customers will be able to enjoy a lounge style setting with relaxing R&B and neo soul vibes as their soundtrack to keep you in the mood.

Let me just say I look very much to visiting The Book Bar and making some regular purchases!!

And when it is all said and done, mark your calendars, get your coins ready, and if you are out of town (prepare for a visit)!! Now while you wait for the physical grand opening (Feb. 5th) make sure to check out The Book Bar online at rvabookbar.com as well their corresponding social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram= @rvabookbar , and YouTube!!

Happy Reading & Happy Shopping!!