In 2016, the idea for The Cocktailery, a go-to shop in South End for cocktail aficionados, was formed. Tamu Curtis built a reputation enriching and promoting some of the most prestigious brands in the world before bringing her talents to Charlotte.
The Cocktailery first grew as a concept from Liberate Your Palate, which Curtis created in 2015. Curtis is a self-described “lover of a good cocktail party”. Liberate Your Palate enabled Tamu to provide cocktail-centric events like classes, catering, and tours across Charlotte and Charleston. The venture was popular enough for Curtis to expand her business and vision in 2021 with a brick-and-mortar.
The Cocktailery, at Atherton Mill, is a one-of-a-kind cocktail supply and beverage lifestyle shop designed for the craft cocktail enthusiast. The shop carries an assortment of quality barware and accessories. Plus, it offers hands-on cocktail classes designed to enhance your ability to create delicious cocktails on your own.
The Wow Factor
“[Cocktail-making] should be lighthearted and there should always be a little ‘wow’ factor; these are all things I hope that The Cocktailery encapsulates,” Tamu said.
The modern, colorful space perfectly captures the lightheartedness and togetherness that Curtis wants her guests to feel during the cocktail classes. There’s a bitters tasting bar, sitting lounge, and a cocktail studio. Interior design was led by Ariene Bethea of Dress My Room Interiors and creative design by Studio Cultivate.
Curtis chose South End because of the central location. “Atherton Mill has some amazing shops and restaurants that complement The Cocktailery. It makes taking a class part of a night on the town,” she said.
According to Curtis, The Cocktailery was made with the intention of creating an inclusive environment and an experience where everyone in the community feels comfortable and welcome. It’s a beautiful outgrowth of the lessons we all learned in 2020.
“[Attendees] are intentionally gathering for the same social experience, therefore the energy is always fun, and I love seeing people that may not necessarily acknowledge one another in a different environment walk out at the end of the class with a possible new friend.”
In their cocktail classes, everyone of all skill levels and ages can learn the art of cocktail making. “Cocktails are social, entertaining is social, hospitality is social, and I want everyone to feel that when they walk through our doors,” she said. “You see people from all over Charlotte and it’s surrounding areas, from different backgrounds and races.”
With a Twist
During the height of the pandemic, when many businesses switched to online, Curtis was uncertain of how to successfully conduct online classes. She feared they would lack the same interactive, hands-on and social experience of in-person classes. In April 2020, Curtis figured out how to execute virtual classes.
“We ship the ingredients and the bar tools to each individual participant and that has really been the key to the success I’ve had in the virtual space,” she said.
Curtis currently works with many small businesses in the Charlotte area and nationwide who get her accessories and products.
Check out the website and organize a fun date night, friend outing, or even a team-building group class. You can book private or join one of the weekly evening classes.