Story & Photographs Micah Green
Enter through the front. Past the wrought iron fence that surrounds the brick patio and separates Bin 612 from University Drive. The Starkville restaurant and bar’s double doors are usually wide open.
Bartender Barton Dinkins is roaming around one of the four small rooms, including the kitchen, that make up what has become a Cotton District culinary destination.
With a curly mane of hair tamed only on top, occasionally, by a Mississippi State baseball hat, Dinkins is hard to miss, whether he is in the kitchen or behind the bar.
During the spring, local produce from the Starkville Community Market gives Dinkins and the rest of the Bin 612 staff an opportunity to improvise.
When kitchen manager Paul Brasfield brought back fresh blackberries last spring and challenged Dinkins to make a drink with them, a refreshing remix on sweet tea fell together rather quickly. Dinkins, only six years into a career he is pursuing wholeheartedly, said the Bin strives to use ingredients as “close to home” as possible. For his sweet blackberry mint tea, Dinkins pulled mint leaves from a small herb garden right outside the Bin to complement the locally grown berries.
“Any sweet tea vodka will do, but you really need to use turbinado simple syrup,” he said. “I really think the ingredients, working separately or together, all speak in some fashion to Southern culture. It’s hard not to like that.”
SWEET BLACKBERRY MINT TEA
• Muddle 3 mint leaves and 3 blackberries in glass
• Add 1 ounce turbinado simple syrup (Combine 1 cup turbinado cane sugar, 1 cup water in sauce pan; heat until sugar is dissolved)
• Add 1 ½ ounces sweet tea vodka
• Splash of water
• Garnish with mint, blackberries and lemon