Samara Davis, bourbon enthusiast and founder of the Black Bourbon Society, co-hosted our Exquisite Harmony dinner party with I.W. Harper last week in Atlanta, Georgia. During the intimate gathering, Samara gave an engaging, passionate, and interactive lesson on the art of whiskey drinking as guests followed along, sipping gleefully and studiously on their glasses of I.W. Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve. A great time was had by all, and I was thrilled to catch up with Samara after the event to talk whiskey, entertaining, parties and more. Read on for our conversation and swoon-worthy photos from the evening.
What is it about bourbon that you love so much?
What’s more ‘American’ than Apple Pie? Bourbon! It’s America’s Native Spirit! I love how it’s made from simple ingredients and each barrel tastes completely different. It’s a spirit that is rooted in tradition yet completely unique and still finding ways to be innovative and imaginative within the category.
How did your upbringing influence the way you entertain today?
Growing up in the 80’s, my parents were high-society black socialites in Los Angeles — think Diahann Carroll in Dynasty. We were always dressing up for galas, plays, and fancy dinners. I’ve always found ways to insert some 80’s glitz and glamour into my events — a little sparkle, gold, and something fizzy to drink!
What are your top 3 host tips and tricks?
1. Pair your whiskey and cocktails with creative dishes and desserts.
2. Create a hydration station with water (flat and sparkling) and fun garnishes like mint, cucumbers, edible flowers, and strawberries.
3. Don’t plan every minute of your event. Allow space for guests to mix and mingle organically. Let their energy lead you on how to execute your perfect evening.
Who is your dream happy hour companion and why?
My dream companion would be Oprah. I would love the opportunity to plan a happy hour and bourbon tasting in her rose garden and tea room. I understand that she’s a big tequila drinker but I believe I could convince her to become a bourbon lover.
Samara's Best Of
Party Song: Before I Let Go - Beyonce
Dress Code: Cashmere Chic
Icebreaker: The spirited version of ‘2 Truths and a Lie’ ~ 2 Bourbons and a Rye!
Best Party Ever: The first-ever Black Bourbon Society Event - October 2016 in Oakland, CA!
Favorite I.W. Harper Cocktail: Gold Rush (recipe below!)
1.5oz I.W. Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve
1oz honey syrup
3/4oz lemon juice
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add I.W. Harper Cabernet Cask Reserve, lemon juice and honey syrup; shake well. Strain into a chilled coupe.