When Rihanna took to Twitter to punctuate Blackout Tuesday with a very bad gal message (“We ain’t buying shit, we ain’t selling shit! Gang gang! #BLACKOUT AF!”), I was moved. I was reminded about a pledge that I made to have at least 80 percent of my ongoing purchases come from Black-owned businesses by the end of 2020.
The pandemic had caused me to lose sight of it, but with my upcoming wedding, Rihanna’s fervor had breathed new life into my vow.
So when it came to finding spirits brands to celebrate alongside our nuptials, my husband and I were devoted to finding Black-owned brands that hadn’t been touted by rappers, but that would make a mark on our day, and that we would want to continue to support.
And these three emerging spirits brands did exactly that.
I couldn’t have a celebration this significant without tipping my hat to my hometown of New York City. When I heard about HH Bespoke Spirits, there was no question that we were including the brand in our special day. Simply stepping into the atelier was part of our memorable wedding experiences. When you enter the Lennox Ave shop, you immediately feel the nostalgia of the neighborhood. You’re greeted by Polaroids of the people who built the culture of Harlem. Amidst the vintage and bespoke apparel are one-of-a-kind home objects and, of course, the delicious bespoke spirits. Our hope was to bring that special feeling to our reception and with the brand’s custom creations, such as Seamstress Punch and HH Hawaiian Vacation, I think we did just that with its vodka, rum and gin. Just note: when you open these at a party, they will go quickly.
Just opening the box of Saint Cloud Kentucky Bourbon felt like receiving a thoughtful gift. The bottles (shown in Athena) are so beautiful and decorative that we insisted on keeping them on the sweetheart table like they were part of the décor. But when you have a bourbon this good you can’t just look at it – it needs to be consumed. It’s flavorful with a blend of sweet and spicy notes and it's rich enough to drink in lieu of dessert. If you’re not a bourbon drinker it’s a great brand to start with because it doesn’t hold back. The only caveat – you won’t be able to withstand anything inferior after you begin drinking it.
A party ain’t a party if you don’t have tequila. But you can’t call Revel’s triple distilled 100 percent pure agave tequila. It’s more like magic in a bottle. Not only did we toast to my (new) husband with it, guests were drinking it straight up with just lime and ice. The smooth taste makes it easy to do that. Since our friends are big fans of tequila, we knew that it would be a hit at the reception. We didn’t expect that it would be polished off as quickly as it was. But then again, it's winning spirits awards for a reason. And now it's found a permanent place on our shelf.