RNDC is excited to present, Alcohol Industry Pioneers, a campaign centered around America’s earliest African American mixologist, restaurateurs and master distillers.
Renowned African American Restaurateur
After spending the first 41 years of his life in slavery, John Dabney, an African American bartender, was able to purchase freedom for both himself and his wife with his earnings. Dabney opened his own restaurant in the early 1870s, working for himself until the week of his passing in 1900. Read more about his story here.
First African American to Write a Cocktail Book
Tom Bullock worked as a bartender for nearly 25 years before writing “The Ideal Bartender,” the first cocktail book written by an African American. The book contains more than 170 pre-prohibition recipes. Read more of his story here.
Mr. R. R. Bowie
Founder of the Colored Mixologist Club
In 1898, Robert R. Bowie and a group of other leading black bartenders in Washington D.C. founded the exclusive “Colored Mixologists Club.” The Colored Mixologists Club was a professional organization for African American bartenders who used bartending as a vehicle for wealth and a certain degree of social acceptance. Read more of his story here.
Nathan ‘Nearest’ Green
Taught Jack Daniel the Art of Whiskey Distilling
Nathan ’Nearest’ Green, was born into slavery circa 1820 and emancipated after the Civil War. In the 1850s, he was working for a preacher and distiller named Dan Call in the hills above Lynchburg, Tennessee. Call asked Green to teach a young boy, named Jack Daniel, the craft he’d perfected. Read more of his story here.
*Pictured is Nearest son, George.