Trailblazing African American Bartender Honored with Louisville Mural
More than a century after publishing his cocktail book, “The Ideal Bartender,” Tom Bullock is back to serving Old Fashioneds in his hometown of Louisville.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 21, 2019) – More than a century after publishing his cocktail book, “The Ideal Bartender,” Tom Bullock is back to serving Old Fashioneds in his hometown of Louisville.
Bullock holds the distinction of being the first African American to publish a cocktail book. His 1917 release of “The Ideal Bartender” features 173 recipes, including his very own “Old Fashion” and a Kentucky-style Mint Julep.
A 64-inch-by-96-inch mural featuring Bullock was recently installed on the front windows of Sway restaurant in the heart of downtown Louisville’s entertainment district. Sway, located on the first floor of the Hyatt Regency Louisville, is also a long-standing member of the city’s Urban Bourbon Trail®.
The mural depicts Bullock behind the bar serving Louisville’s official cocktail, the Old Fashioned. Bullock got his start at the local Pendennis Club, which has long claimed the invention of the Old Fashioned cocktail since the 1880s. In addition, the mural provides brief descriptions about the Old Fashioned, Bullock and the mural’s artist, Kacy Jackson.
Jackson, a 27-year-old Louisville native saw his career take off after receiving international recognition for his portraits of Muhammad Ali. During Ali’s 2016 memorial service, Jackson painted “The Greatest” on the steps of the KFC Yum! Center. He has painted several murals throughout the city, including one of Albert Einstein and Nellie Crawford (a Louisville native credited with being the first African-American actor to sign a film contract).
This is not the first time Bullock has been honored in Louisville. In 2017, on the 100th anniversary of the publication of “The Ideal Bartender,” Copper & Kings Brandy Distillery launched The Ideal Bartender School.
This free 15-week course aims to educate students on the essentials of hospitality in a bar setting with a focus on spirits education, cocktail creation, beer and wine knowledge and bartending skills and techniques. The course is intended to celebrate the legacy of Tom Bullock and also provide those in need a complimentary bartending education. For more information or to apply, visit IdealBartenderSchool.com.
To request a photo of the mural with the artist, email Jordan Skora at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are planning a visit to Louisville, Louisville Tourism provides several planning resources, including suggested itineraries at GoToLouisville.com/myexperience, the monthly Lookin’ at Louisville video series, a searchable list of events at www.gotolouisville.com, a free Louisville Visitors Guide and complimentary hotel booking service via 1-888-LOUISVILLE.