Beer, Wine, and Distilled liquors have been around for centuries and since fermentation is a natural phenomenon, occurring as fruit ages and decomposes, in theory, the ability to get buzzed, has been around as long as fruit has. As man became more and more infatuated with it, society developed a knack for deliberate fermentation. From there, alcohol became a staple and an integral part of cultural and social interactions.

Speaking of deliberate fermentation, this month, Griots Republic would like to highlight a beer, a wine, and a spirit created by people of color who have carved a niche in their respective markets that we believe you would enjoy at your next cultural or social interaction.

The Thembu Chardonnay
House of Mandela

Created by the daughter and granddaughter of the late Nelson Mandela, The House of Mandela Winery tells the story of Madiba and the Thembu people using wine as the vehicle. Each wine is imbued with the history and culture of the House of Mandela rooted in rich African culture. Let’s talk about The Thembu Chardonnay.

Chardonnay grapes are probably the most commonly used grape in wine production and the net result is what is arguably the most commonly consumed white wine on the planet. The grape originates in eastern France but has gone global. In fact, nearly every winery anywhere is producing their contender for the best. The great thing about a Chardonnay is it can be dressed up or down. Whether enjoyed simply as a glass after a long days work or savored after a lengthy aging process.

The Thembu Chardonnay is a quality wine light lemony coloration and aroma. Imagine caramel and lemon on the taste buds finishing smooth and dry. This is wine is made for sipping. Call it cool and refreshing.

Sugar Hill Golden Pale Ale
Harlem Blue Brewery of Harlem, New York


Harlem is known for many things: art, nightlife, history, and even fine dining. Now Harlem has a brewery of its very own. One that is known for its very own craft beer. Sugar Hill Golden Pale is Harlem Brewery’s flagship brew.

The founders tell us that “Harlem Brewing was founded in 2000 in Harlem and has more than 17 years of history and brewing tradition. Harlem is unique because of its focus on unusual flavors and infusions but more importantly because of its passion for its Harlem heritage and flavorful recipes.”

Sugar Hill Ale is an amazingly clear libation with deep golden hues that guarantees a dense layer of creamy, frothy foam which diminishes quickly leaving very little streaking. It smells of strong grains, honeysuckle, and fruit. On the palate, it provides a smooth, even delicate hint of spice and malt with moderate carbonation. There are also hints of flavor reminiscent of pepper and ginger. This is your beer on a hot summer night. Just make sure its chilled to perfection.

Fou-Dre Vodka

Vodka, one of the most popular of distilled liquors, is comprised of water and ethanol, is usually the result of distilling fermented grain, potatoes of fruit. Some would argue that there is little if any distinguishable difference between plain vodkas and that marketing drives the demand for the leading brands.

Fou-Dre is of a different breed of brew.

D.C. native, Chanel Turner is the first African-American woman to create and own her own vodka line. Touting the title, “the sexiest bottle on the market”, Fou-Dre vodka is housed in a purple bottle shaped like a lightning bolt and why not?  Fou-Dre is French for lightning.. The bottle, a purple lightning bolt, in itself is a work of art and multiple bottles can be intertwined on your bar. How sexy is that? Enough about the bottle. This vodka is layered with fruity flavors that include pomegranate and hints of ginger. With a distillation process that is held close to the vest, all harsh tones are removed, leaving it crisp and clean. Enjoy Fou-Dre on ice or mixed.



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