Photo Credit: Will Drink For Travel
The Best Black-Owned Spirits In The World, According To Blogger Ashlee Tuck
Ashlee Tuck loves travel and great Black-owned spirits. Those pursuits inspired her blog Will Drink For Travel, a website dedicated to “all things travel and mixology.”
The Baltimore native first started navigating the globe when she accepted a position with the federal government that involved a lot of travel. Tuck created her blog as a platform to document a two-month work trip to Tanzania and share her first visit to the African continent with her family. The cocktail component was added to explore her interests and separate her content from the sea of food and travel websites already flooding the blogosphere. But she narrowed her niche even more as turmoil engulfed the United States during the protests that erupted after the murder of George Floyd.
“I’ve always supported Black-owned businesses,” Tuck shared with Travel Noire. “I’ve always talked about being a Black traveler, but I was just wondering what more I could do to support my community.”
Tuck created a comprehensive list of over 65 Black-owned spirits as a centralized resource for anyone who wanted to purchase their liquor from — or simply support — a Black-owned business. That list has since grown to over 140 vendors. And as she continues to add new destinations to the more than 30 countries she has already checked off her list, Tuck searches out new spirits for her ever-expanding database.
She identified one of her favourite locations for finding new gems.
“With Uncle Nearest opening their new distillery on Juneteenth, probably Tennessee. There are quite a few whiskeys and bourbons that are made down there.”
And as for dream drinking destinations? Tuck has her sights set on a trip across the pond.
“Perhaps Ireland, so I could learn more about Irish whiskey. Ireland and Scotland for Scottish whiskey. That will be really cool. There are quite a few out of South Africa as well. I’ve been to South Africa, but I haven’t tasted any of their spirits. I’ve been to their wine countries. And then obviously the Caribbean, because the Caribbean has sugar cane available for rum.”
As she plans for future adventures, Tuck shared with Travel Noire some of her favorite Black-owned spirits to try this summer.
“I just want people to realize yes, these are Black-owned spirits. But at the end of the day, they’re also good products. So that’s why you should support them. Not just because they’re owned by Black people, but because they’re actually good products that you will enjoy.”
1. Ten To One
“It’s like a good, solid, classy rum. Usually, when people think about rum, they think about Bacardi and that sweet sort of way we think rum should taste. But Ten To One is an actual classic rum.
“That was the owners’ goal; to create something that took away that caricature of rum in the Caribbean that people think about. He’s from Trinidad and so, taking that pirates theme out of it and making something really classic. It’s delicious. There are two varieties: a white rum and a dark rum.”
2. HH Bespoke Spirits
“They have three different ones: vodka, gin, and rum. I really like them. I love that there is a family behind this line of spirits. They started out with and still have a clothing boutique. They have dressed everyone from Jay-Z to Diddy and quite a few celebrities. This spirit is like a natural extension of their lifestyle brand.”
3. Sephina Spirits
“It’s like a cognac mixed with wine. That is probably one of my favorite pandemic discoveries. He actually launched during the pandemic, and it is such a good product. I haven’t met a woman or man who has tasted it that doesn’t like it. You can use it in a cocktail, or you can drink it on its own. It’s modeled after Josephine Baker. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing them expand their offering.”
4. Anteel Tequila
“They have the world’s only coconut lime tequila, which I’m obsessed with. It’s delicious. It’s a husband and wife couple, but it’s spearheaded by Nayana Ferguson. She is a two-time breast cancer survivor who wanted to create something that she could feel good about drinking that was still healthy for her and didn’t involve a lot of additives. They have the Coconut Lime Blanco, a Reposado, and a Blanco, and the Blanco and Reposado are also very delicious.”
5. Exclave Spirits
“Exclave whiskey out of New Orleans is just an excellent rye whiskey. The owner Andrew Albert also owns River Basin Distillery in New Orleans. He wants to put New Orleans on the map, so Exclave is his ode to Black distillers everywhere.”
6. Guidance Whiskey
7. Tequila with Friends
“Tequila with Friends out of Texas; I also like what they’re doing. I haven’t tasted it, but I think people should if they can. Texas is another big state with a lot of brands.”
9. Duke & Dame Salted Caramel Flavored Whiskey
“This is another one I haven’t tasted yet, but I know when I do I will love it. It was modeled after Werther’s Original candy, I think. But as I said, I know that when I taste it I’m going to love it because who wouldn’t like caramel-flavored whiskey?”
10. Fou-Dré Vodka
“The owner, Chanel Turner, also puts on the Black-Owned Wine and Spirits Festival in DC. They didn’t have it last year, obviously because of the pandemic. But the year before I had gone and tasted a lot of these spirits. She also has her own distribution company where she distributes spirits in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia areas, which I think is so dope.”
“She saw a need, she wasn’t happy with her distribution, and she decided that she was going to do it herself. Now, she’s helping other businesses to do that as well. But her vodka is also delicious.”
Find out more about Ashlee’s passion for Black-owned spirits at Will Drink For Travel.