Jerome Adams, left, served as the bartender of the Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit for decades and was remembered fondly as a  pillar of the community. His wife, Denise, right, said his work ethic  and friendly attitude made him a positive example for anyone.

Jerome Adams, left, served as the bartender of the Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit for decades and was remembered fondly as a pillar of the community. His wife, Denise, right, said his work ethic and friendly attitude made him a positive example for anyone.

Photo by Martin Chumiecki, provided by Denise Adams


Beloved local bartender honored at Charles H. Wright Museum

By: Brendan Losinski | C&G Newspapers | Published June 11, 2019

 Adams will be honored at the Charles H. Wright Museum  of African American History between June 7 and July 12 for  his life and the creation of the beloved Hummer drink.

Adams will be honored at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History between June 7 and July 12 for his life and the creation of the beloved Hummer drink.

Photo by Martin Chumiecki, provided by Denise Adams

 The display on beloved local bartender Jerome Adams at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will include photos and memorabilia from Adams’ life, as well as news articles, accolades and honors dedicated to him and his achievements.

The display on beloved local bartender Jerome Adams at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will include photos and memorabilia from Adams’ life, as well as news articles, accolades and honors dedicated to him and his achievements.

Photo provided by Jennifer Evans

DETROIT — To those who knew him, Jerome Adams, of Eastpointe, was the kind of man who was always there with a smile to give and a hand to lend … and if that hand included one of his refreshing cocktails, it was all the better.

Working as the bartender at the Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit from 1968 until his death in 2018, Adams was a beloved member of the metro Detroit community and became renowned for his friendly spirit, helpful attitude and his skill behind the bar. 

He is being remembered by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History for his inspiring life and for the creation of his signature drink, the Hummer. 

“Before Jerome died, we spent some time together while he was in bed sick from cancer, and I told him, ‘I would like to put your name in the museum’ — and he said, ‘Sure’ — and then I said, ‘I’d like to maybe name a street for you’ — and he said, ‘Sure,’” explained his wife, Denise Adams. “One night after he had passed away, I got the ball rolling and I rode over to the museum and talked to the curators, and they just said, ‘Sure.’”

The museum will be highlighting Jerome Adams with a display about his life and career between June 7 and July 12. The renaming of a street in his honor near the Bayview Yacht Club, near Clearpointe Street and Conner Street, is also in the works. The museum display will be free to view, but admission to the rest of the museum will still cost $7.

“Jerome Adams is an inspiring person who teaches us what can be achieved and how we can positively impact our community through hard work and service,” said Jennifer Evans, a curator at the Charles H. Wright Museum. “He invented something later in his life, so inventions are possible and there’s plenty to invent to make positive changes no matter who you are.”

The Hummer became a national hit, and although it never made him a fortune, it did garner him acclaim and respect from people nationwide, and he received recognition from the city of Detroit, the governor of Michigan and organizations such as the Bartender Hall of Fame. He was also profiled by numerous news programs and magazines.

“His legacy has really lifted me,” said Denise Adams. “People’s faces light up when they talk about the Hummer. His legacy is that you can always make it.”

Besides his skills, Denise Adams said she thinks her husband can stand as an inspiration for those who start life humbly.

“He came from Georgia,  where he picked cotton and things like that,” she said. “He came here to Detroit and ... he made his way up here. When he started working for the Bayview Yacht Club, he was dedicated. He would light up being part of that club. It was his life.”

“I think people want to do something big in their community but don’t know how to do it,” added Evans. “I think they can benefit from hearing not only about the big names, like Dr. (Martin Luther) King or Malcolm X, but also about those who made a difference on a local level and impacted people positively with a good life and hard work.”

The display will include several items from Jerome Adams’ life that discuss his creative abilities and his impact on the community.

“There’s several items from his archives, including plaques and letters he received from the city and the governor,” said Evans. “There are some photos from his life and newspaper articles discussing his career and life. We also discuss his induction certificate to the Bartender Hall of Fame in 2017.”

Those who knew him hope people can learn from Jerome Adams’ life and be inspired to try something new and work hard at what they love.

“You can literally start with nothing, but with determination, you can succeed. When people offend you, you can shake it off and know there is something bigger in your future. He was determined when he came here in 1964. He had tenacity and resilience,” said Denise Adams. “He never took offense to things. He let that sort of thing roll off him. I think it’s why he was such a good man.”

“It’s not a big exhibit, but I think it will mean a lot to people,” said Denise Adams. “I’d want to tell people that I hope this helps you know that you can start from humble beginnings and God can give you a witty invention. Just keep at it and listen to what life is telling you.”


The ‘Hummer’

“The Hummer” recipe according to creator Jerome Adams’ wife, Denise:

• 1 1/2 ounces rum (usually Bacardi)

• 1 1/2 ounces Kahlúa 

• 2 scoops vanilla ice cream

• Pair of ice cubes

Blend and serve in a 7 1/2-ounce rocks glass.

 

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.