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A Page From Tom Bullock, First Published African American Bartender | Part 1: Cold Ruby Punch

Updated: Jul 16, 2021

This February, eRNDC is celebrating Black History Month with “A Page From Tom,” cocktail recipes created by Loni Lewis, inspired by Tom Bullock’s The Ideal Bartender. Join Loni as she takes you through the first cocktail book to be published by an African American bartender.

There are many fine cocktails and libations in The Ideal Bartender, a cocktail book created by Tom Bullock in1917. His book of 178 cocktails was published right before prohibition at a white owned publishing company, thereby making him the first African American to publish a cocktail book. Additionally, it gave modern day cocktail historians a perfect snapshot of what pre-prohibition style cocktails were like right before prohibition started. Numerous bartenders call upon this cocktail compendium for inspiration, and for good reason too. Amongst the 178 cocktails, there is a range between classic cocktails and Tom’s own specialty cocktails that are sure to put the taste buds and mind of a modern mixologist to work. I’m honored to be able to present my rendition of his cocktails in “A Page From Tom.”

The first cocktail that I’ve recreated is the Cold Ruby Punch.This cocktail is listed as a batched cocktail that makes 2.5 gallons for 50 people on page 35 of The Ideal Bartender. I change it from being a batched cocktail to a single portion but tried to keep the same proportion. However, I tweaked them to my taste. One of the original cocktail ingredients that I changed out was the Arrack with a Rhum Agricole due to availability. You will also notice that instead of using just lemon juice, my version calls for pineapple juice as well. Before deciding to stick with the original recipe and use green tea, I experimented by using different teas such as Yaupon Holly and Eucalyptus. It’s exciting when there are so many variables that can be changed!

In the future, I can see myself going back and making many renditions of this delicious cocktail, with Tom as my inspiration. I hope you enjoy this cocktail as much as I enjoyed crafting it. Stay tuned for more this month!

Cold Ruby Punch

1.5 oz Green Tea*

1 oz Simple Syrup

.75 oz Ruby Port

.75 oz Rhum Agricole

.05 oz Lemon Juice

.05 oz Pineapple Juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, fill with ice and shake. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice.

*Green Tea: 2 bags of green tea steeped for 10 minutes in 3 cups of hot water You can find the ingredients used in the Cold Ruby Punch and shop for additional brands or products on eRNDC. Visit our customer page to see where eRNDC is available!


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