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A Glenside event today is celebrating “All Black Everything” by showcasing Black-owned spirits, soul food, and Black vendors.
“We’re just promoting Black excellence,” said Khamila “Kitty” Barnes, who is co-curating the event with husband Darnell Barnes.
Out of over 2,000 distilleries in the United States, few are Black owned and operated. But Black distillers have been making waves in recent years.
Khamila Barnes came up with the idea after taking classes with the Black-owned Ten to One Rum and Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey distillers.
“I was flabbergasted at how there are so many Black-owned distilleries,” Barnes said. And because she’s passionate about “libations education,” she organized the event so she could open others’ eyes to local Black-owned companies.
“We make up 2% of the nation’s distilleries, and I want Black people to know that we are in all realms of life, even in spirits,” Barnes said.
Many of the spirit companies that Barnes is featuring are based in the tri-state area, including Mishka Premium Vodka of Allentown, which in 2007 became the first and only Black-owned distillery in Pennsylvania.
Others include Striped Lion Distilling of Woodbury, New Jersey, TCapri Tequila based in Maryland, Diggs Boys Bourbon (whose owners live in North Wales, Montgomery County), NYAK based in New York, Den of Thieves Whiskey, Ten to One Rum, and beer from West Philly rapper Chill Moody.
Barnes will be greeting guests with her specialty cocktails. She’s a mobile bartender and libations consultant.
On Saturday morning she was buying fresh ingredients, and gearing up to prepare her drinks and juice fresh fruit, including watermelon and pineapple.The food pairings will have a soulful, southern twist, prepared by Barnes’ auntie, Chef Sherri Washington. The menu includes southern style pickled shrimp paired with whiskey, and a baked apple with sweet potato puree paired with rum.
The event space, which doubles as a photography studio, DSQ Photography Studio, run by Darnell, is two-years old. But Khamila has Glenside roots. She grew up in town, graduated from Abington High School and went on to Penn State Abington.
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