Photo Credit: Photo by Camille Wilson
Meet Cocktail Enthusiast And Traveler Camille Wilson, “The Cocktail Snob”
Cocktail blogger and travel enthusiast Camille Wilson doesn’t have a special story about her Instagram handle, The Cocktail Snob. It came to her like an epiphany when she was walking to work one day. Her passion for cocktails as someone who makes them, drinks them, and writes about them, launched her into an exciting world. She’s collaborated with top brands such as Jameson, Absolut, and Perrier, with more on the horizon.
If there’s one drink that accurately represents Camille as a person, it’s the classic daiquiri. “Not only is it my favorite cocktail–it also describes my personality so well,” Camille told Travel Noire. “Since there are only three ingredients, it’s simple and not fussy like me. It’s balanced like me. And it’s adaptable because you can easily remix it with simple ingredients. I’m also super flexible and go with the flow.”
2018 was a pivotal year professionally for Camille. She went from causally posting recipes online as a hobby to creating a blog. She published her first Cocktail Snob post, and the rest, as they say, is history. Not only does she put her own spin on existing cocktails, she likes to make her own. Her vast knowledge of spirits makes her the go-to person among her friends and colleagues.
It might be a surprise to know that up until fairly recently, Camille didn’t care for alcohol. Her taste for it developed over time.
The cocktail world can be rather exclusive and dare we say, snobbish. But Camille believes that there’s room within it for all to kick back with a Mojito or an Old Fashioned. Her mixology workshops, conducted virtually and in person, encourage people to “enjoy happy hour at home,” regardless of budget.
“I never imagined The Cocktail Snob would become what it is today,” Camille said. “I’ve worked to hone my beverage photography and food styling skills. I’ve taught virtual mixology classes, hosted in-person events, and developed cocktail recipes for some of the biggest brands-everyone from Woodford Reserve to HBO Max.”
Born in New York to Jamaican parents, Camille had international exposure before she started traveling. Jamaica, unsurprisingly, is one of her favorite places, along with Dubai, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, and Chicago. She’s also been to China, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, and The United Arab Emirates.
Aside from adding stamps to her passport, these trips have shaped her creations. And how could they not? Every destination has a unique approach to cocktail making. It’s absolutely an art; down to the style of glass and the garnishes used.
“I’ve had the opportunity to imbibe at some really great cocktail bars,” Camille said. “After each visit, I leave inspired by their creativity and local ingredients. When I get home, I usually try to look for and incorporate some of the ingredients that I tried. My favorite example of this happened after my last visit to the UAE. While I was there, I noticed that dates and date syrup were really popular. So I created a cinnamon date margarita with tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and of course, date syrup.”
Camille also draws from her Jamaican heritage through her use of rum. “Growing up, I saw rum used in myriad ways-everything from cocktails to cooking and even as medicine. So I love creating cocktails with rum. I’m also inspired by ingredients I grew up around like sorrel, mango, and cloves.”
Can you partake in the fun if you’re on a sobriety path? Of course! Camille features a selection of mocktails just as attractive as their alcohol-based cousins. One blog she wrote features four of them: Pineapple Mint Mule, Sparkling Mocktail Bomb, Tonic Rickey Mocktail, and Sober Sour, complete with recipes. Camille’s book, Free Spirit Cocktails, features 40 non-alcoholic drink recipes. It’s available for pre-order and hits bookshelves everywhere in November.
“I definitely don’t think there’s enough Black representation in the wine and spirits industry,” Camille admitted. “But I’m in awe of those who are blazing trails for Black and brown people and carving their own path. I’m grateful for those who have opened doors and created a table for people like me. It’s been incredible to see all these Black-owned wine and spirits brands get the recognition they deserve while staying true to their values. I also have great respect for those who are helping to amplify our stories in this industry–the bloggers, photographers, podcasters, PR professionals, and creatives who often don’t get credited.”
Camille lauds those who broke barriers for her, but her achievements are equally commendable. Her work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Eating Well, and Forbes. Food & Wine included her on the list of 20 Black Mixologists You Need On Your Radar, while VinePair put her on their list of 15 Cocktail Influencers You Should Be Following On Instagram.
Become a bartender for a day by booking one of Camille’s customized mixology classes, and stay in the mix by following her on Instagram.