Based in Atlanta, GA Keyatta Miney-Parker is a talented bartender who has been making waves with her incredible cocktails.
What inspired you to become a bartender?
In all honesty, it was the next step where I was working at the time, I had just come back from maternity leave and my GM thought I would be great at it. I got into studying more and craft bartending later in 2008, I grow to love it and fell in love again in 2015 after my first article came out about 5 African American women in the Atlanta bar scene. It changed everything.
Tell us about your background.
I am the child of an American mom and an African dad, I promise you this was not the life they dreamed for me, but in time my mom sees the impact I have and is happy I am doing what I love my way. I grew up in Liberia as well as Atlanta, worked in hospitality for most of my life, began bartending after my daughter was born, ran bar programs at Marriott, Serpas, and 5 Church just to name a few. Competed in serval competitions, placed in the 2020 class of Most Imaginative Bartender for Bombay Sapphire and now I currently own and operate a non-profit bartender’s community garden
Where do you tend bar now?
I have a few corporate clients I do zooms and team-building classes for and a few private events for clients, but mainly I’m focused on managing and running the garden
Who has been most influential in your development as a bartender?
I think it’s more what has influenced me, and that is my culture as a Liberian and Southern woman, I draw on that a lot in creating.
A mentor, a parent, a fellow bartender, and why?
I’ve had a few people who have mentored me in my career Eric Simpinks, Garland Raiford, Navarro Carr, Charles Gilbert, I also find it funny that they are all men, but I am grateful to them for them investing in me.
Do you have any advice for novice/at-home bartenders?
Your palate is personal, never let anyone shame you out of what you like, but also be open to trying new things.
What is your favorite ingredient right now and why How do you go about creating a new cocktail?
I have been working with more and more things from the garden, so fresh herbs, drying them out for garnishes, infusing oils, or creating teas and tisanes. Earlier in my career, I use to dream about what the cocktail would look like and figure out the ingredients from that, now I get inspiration for everything around me, from things in the garden, my home, my friends…. everywhere.
Is there a specific process or simply a moment of inspiration?
My process varies, there are times when it’s simple and times when it’s complicated.
Do you have a special technique you use or a tip for making a particular drink?
I do like the reverse dry shaking technique with egg white cocktails, and I love shaking with a lot of ice.
Where do you see the bartending/cocktail culture headed?
I see a shift for sure, I just hope the old heads can mentor and encourage a new movement or we may lose out on talent. I am definitely doing my part, I want to make sure when I get old, I can still get a great cocktail.