Friday, September 14, 2012

Who is Tom Bullock?

A couple months ago I went to the annual "bartender vacation" Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. At this event there is multiple events, tastings, parties, and dinners. This year one spirited dinner stood out to me the most... "The Life and Times of Tom Bullock." We took a dinner cruise along the Mississippi River listening to fine live music, enjoy wonderfully prepared food and enjoy some very nice Four Roses Bourbon cocktails prepared by a few bartenders most notably a good friend of mine Matt Seiter of St. Louis.

Tom Bullock was the 1st African American male to write and have his own cocktail book published,  The book was titled the Ideal bartender and was released in 1917. To this day, 95 years later, to my knowledge he is the ONLY African American to have a cocktail book published.  Mr. Bullock was born in Kentucky in 1871. He worked at various country clubs, and eventually became a famous bartender at the St. Louis Country Club where he served government officials and other dignitaries. He passed away in 1964.

George Herbert Walker, who ironically was the Great Grandfather of George W. Bush, was a HUGE fan of Bullock's cocktails and even wrote the intro to the book. The Ideal Bartender contains many pre-prohibition classic cocktails, most notably the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Mint Julep, and even calls for many spirits that we still use today in our cocktails..

The most impressive thing to me is that he was a Black man who was born right after the civil war, in the south, and to probably not be able to enjoy certain freedoms as others he was still able to make a mark on the cocktail world. As a African American bartender this book is very near and dear to me, and also gives me motivation to keep learning and perfecting my craft. Staying in my lane and being the best at what i do. If you are an AA bartender, I strongly suggest that you take a look at this book and support a piece of our history!

Check out this great recap of the dinner that posted....

Until Next Time

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