The Summer of 2011 is proving to be a record-breaking scorcher in Birmingham and much of The South. The stultifying heat inspired Southernness to dream of a signature “Birmingham Cooler” libation. As we began talking with local bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts we asked the question, “What is essential for THE Birmingham cocktail?” The overwhelming answer was two required elements: 1) The Birmingham Cocktail has to be cold, because it’s frequently so danged hot. And, 2) it has to have a refreshing splash of local, Buffalo Rock Southern Spice Ginger Ale.

Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale, a true Southern Original, was concocted in Birmingham around 1901. The original spice recipe came from a Selma druggist, Ashby Coleman, who used it to soothe the stomach cramps of Confederate soldiers. After the War Between The States, that “recent unpleasantness” as it was called, druggist Coleman’s daughter, Minnie, married Sidney Wood Lee of Birmingham and introduced the Lee Family to the recipe. The Lees added peppy carbonation to the the spicey, peppery blend and another Southern, soft drink dynasty was born.

Silvertron Cafe, a long-established, Birmingham watering-hole and Southernness favorite, is introducing the Buffalo Rock-centric “Birmingham Cocktail” later this week. The whole city will be voting on a name for the drink and deciding the exact formulation. You’ll be the first to know this new “Southern Original” on the Southernness blog and we’ll try to get Silvertron to let us share the recipe. What we can guarantee you is whatever the selected drink is, it’s gonna be cooling and it’s gonna have uplifting, Southern original, Buffalo Rock.

Y’all Be Y’all,

Ben South at Southernness


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