This rich rum has tremendous versatility, working beautifully in cocktails like this Manhattan variation. (images courtesy of the brand)

Few people in the world can make us feel quite as good as an expert bartender. And seeking out this cocktail is a great way to feel good while supporting a good cause. To mark and celebrate Black History Month, Equiano Rum invited a quartet of bartenders to concoct drinks inspired by figures from Black history. The challenge was to take a page from The Ideal Bartender, a 1917 cocktail tome penned by Tom Bullock, the first African American bartender to write and publish such a thing, and riff on his Pre-Prohibition gems using Equiano. The result is a set of intriguing cocktails with a story behind each.

It all makes sense for the brand, which was named after, and inspired by, Olaudah Equiano,  an African-born child kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Caribbean. Equiano eventually made it to the U.K., earned his freedom, and became an important figure in the abolitonist movement. Today, Equiano donates 5 percent of its profits and $2 of each bottle purchased through its website to its Equiano Foundation, supporting diversity, equality, and freedom projects worldwide. The first ever 2021 grant recipient was Anti-Slavery International, an organization that works to eliminate all forms of modern slavery throughout the world.

Our favorite comes from Texas-based bartender Kim Hunter, who chose for her inspiration the inimitable Eartha Kitt. “She was much more than what we saw on the surface,” Hunter says. “Much like Eartha, my cocktail has layers that are unique, and it just works! Eartha showed us how delicate she could be while serenading the world with “Santa Baby,” just like the sweet and delicate raspberry. On the flip side, Ms. Kitt was fierce, strong, and quick to speak her mind on social and racial issues. She was not to be played with!”

It’s perfectly fine, however, to have some fun with this gorgeous, balanced beauty.



1.75 oz Equiano Rum

1 oz Yellow Chartreuse

.25 oz Agave Syrup

.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

6 Raspberries


In a shaker, muddle 4 of the raspberries with the lemon juice. Add the agave syrup, yellow chartreuse, and Equiano rum. Add ice and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds, or until the shaker is very cold. Double strain the cocktail into a coupe glass. Garnish with the remaining raspberries and (ideally) edible rose petals on a garnish stick.