Women and Whiskey: Reclaiming a Lost Tradition

Why is it that whiskey is so often associated with masculinity? Promoted as an extraordinarily ‘manly’ choice of poison, the liquor has almost come to symbolize a virility that society insists all men covet. This is clearly an arbitrary marketing ploy, especially when you consider that women comprise 37 percent of the whiskey drinkers in America today.

Men seem to have dominated the whiskey-drinking scene in mainstream media. What does Mad Men’s famous Don Draper conjure up in your mind? Why, a smooth Old Fashioned or a Canadian Club, of course. Although the showreflects a common old boys’ club mentality attached to whiskey consumption rather aptly, few realize that women have been at the forefront of the whiskey industry since the beginning of its existence.

Tracing History

In fact, Maria Hebrea, an alchemist from second or third century Egypt is credited with the invention of one of the earliest versions of a still. This contraption’s design set the stage for more modern versions of the device. The alembic still continues to be used in certain regions in Europe for brandy and whiskey distillation, and the foothills of Appalachia where brewing moonshine still prevails.

In the 18th century, too, women were in charge of the whiskey-making process. It was the norm to use whiskey medicinally, as a cure for all ailing. Distilling whiskey in the kitchens was as domestic a practice as cooking a pot of stew.

Whiskey distillation among women only developed a social stigma during the Prohibition years, when brewing, drinking or selling it connoted prostitution. Women also became instrumental in repealing Prohibition laws. Although we have come a long way since then, residues of a cultural unease continue to persist.

Let’s try to shatter the hold some negative myths still have on women regarding whiskey consumption. Here’s taking a look at only a few of the women who proudly choose whiskey as their top choice of liquor.

Whiskey Extraordinaire

What do Ava Gardner, Janis Joplin, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Christina Hendricks, Hillary Clinton and Mila Kunis all have in common? An affinity for the ‘water of life’ that is whiskey. (‘Whiskey’ comes from the Gaelic ‘uisce beatha,’ which translates as such.)

Ava Gardner is famously quoted to have claimed, “I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.”

“My campaign drives people to drink,” said Hillary Clinton, pictured downing a shot at an Indiana pub, which led to plenty of delightful Internet memes. (And this was only the 2008 campaign.) Last month, the Washington D.C.-based Republic Restoratives even named a new line of whiskeys after her.

Lady Gaga’s love for Jameson Irish is no secret either. It’s what has fueled tremendous sales numbers for the brand.

“I drink a lot of whiskey and I smoke a lot of weed when I write,” she says.

Today, there is a resurgence of women in whiskey distillation. Women have proliferated the industry again, and it is only fair that we attempt to give them the credit they deserve.

Cheryl Lins is the sole figure behind Delaware Phoenix, a distillery in in Delaware County, New York. She brews a mean corn whiskey as well as bourbon, rye, and a wheat-based whiskey aged in barrels.

Allison Patel, the owner and founder of the award winning Brenne Whisky, launched a career in spirits after giving up one in ballet.

Michter’s, a now slick Pennsylvania distillery was resurrected from a shuttered ruin that may have well been the oldest in the nation. Pamela Heilmann was hired by the company in 2015. She left her postas master distillerat Beam’s Booker’s plant— the world’s largest bourbon distillery-- to pursue this opportunity.

Spirit Works Distillery in Sebastopol, California is run by an all-women distillery team. Co-founder and former head-distiller Ashby Marshall mentioned this to have been a “happy accident.”(People) get excited when they find out it’s an all-female production team,” she said.

In light of this inexhaustible range of contributions that women have made in whiskey production worldwide and through the times, it is time we did them justice. Let us at the very least, stop implying that whiskey typically reigns mainly among men.

The Process


Get Your Party Started: Whiskey and Hors D'Oeuvres

Inviting friend and acquaintance over for drink i alway an exercie in indeciion. What drink do you erve? Do you jut make finger food, or put out an entire pread? Add to thi the fact that you are done with the whole chip, dip, and cocktail affair – omething a little more ophiticated i in order. You have already ent out your invite, and thank to all the procratination, the d-day ha arrived and you are unprepared and undecided a ever. Panic kick in and the world tart wirling. Hold on to your hore, we undertand your predicament and are there for you. How about treating your guet to ome fine whiky and a elect pread of epicurean delight?To begin with, pleae note that you do not HAVE to erve wine alongide a cheee board – it’ not etched in tone, and even if it i, chiel it out. Whikey urpriingly pair quite well with cheee. All you need to know i that, jut like wine, whikey alo ha everal flavor note – ranging from fruity and flora, to nutty, woody and picy. There i a rule of the thumb – think about flavor that go well with a particular kind of cheee and then look for a whikey which echoe thoe. For example, Pyrenee Brebi i uually paired with red fruit. In the ame vein, an Auchentohan Three Wood, which i aged in Spanih Oloroo Sherry cak, contitute a good choice a it carrie note of black current which go well with the heep’ milk cheee.Jut becaue finger food conventionally invoke image of breaded, battered and deep fried tuff, it doe not mean you can’t break mold. If you don’t want to bake, you can eaily buy oda cracker off the helf. Dre ome peppery arugula or watercre with lime, alt and olive oil. Slice ome moked almon, or any moky charcuterie and place it on your board, along with the alad and cracker. Mix ome horeradih or waabi with our cream and callion and erve with the board. Your guet can create their own canape – a fun, exciting and engaging alternative to clinically erving plated food. The ideal dram to accompany the pread can be a Laphroaig or Taliker, a the mokine of thee whikie complement the umami flavor of the moked fih or charcuterie.We would advie you to keep away from dip like ala or humu. Intead, you can erve a moky bademjan, dreed with freh pomegranate kernel and mint. You can alo erve liver or kipper pâté on lice of toated ourdough bread. Don’t forget to rub your toat with a piece of garlic while it’ till hot for an unparalleled flavor. Really peaty ingle malt like Ardbeg, or omething a bit more complex with floral note like Highland Park will be tellar with the dip and pâté.It i quite imple – acquaint yourelf with the flavor profile of your whikey. Reading about it alo help dicern thoe tate which untrained palate ometime have problem with identifying. Once you know your range of flavor, it’ jut a clever job of mix and match to produce urpriing and wondrou combination.Credit: Macallan’ Pinteret PageA Deep Dive into the Ruty NailRuty Nail i known to be one of the mot popular Scotch Cocktail of all time. According to cocktail hitorian David Wondrich, the Ruty Nail made it firt appearance in 1937. It ha been categorized under The Unforgettable in The Big Book of Cocktail and tate very rough, a indicated by it name.Thi wonderful concoction i made by mixing Scotch (malt) whiky and Drambuie (a weet, golden colored 40% ABV liqueur made from Scotch whiky, honey, herb and pice) and i commonly erved in an Old Fahioned Gla.The moky avor of well-aged Scotch i abridged by adding Drambuie to the concoction, which make the aroma lightly weeter. It alo impart herbal nuance to it, without overpowering the characteritic undertone of the Scotch.Quite a few variant of the Ruty Nail are erved at different bar and retaurant around the world and variou well-aged liqueur are ued a the bae pirit. One ha to erve thi mix in gla full of ice-cube. The haken verion of thi cocktail i erved in a Stemmed Gla or a Martini Gla.Straight Up Nail i the neat verion of thi concoction, which i generally erved without ice or garnih.Make your own Ruty NailPour lot of ice into an Old Fahioned Gla and add 30ml Scotch to it. The Black Dog Centenary can be a good bet. Stir the Scotch well with the ice while pouring 15ml Drambuie into it. Stir the mix carefully and add a dah of lemon juice into the mix. You can ue cracked ice to keep thi drink chilled for a longer time. If you are a Scotch lover, we ak you to popularize thi once favored drink again, recuing it out of oblivion.Whikey Met Sandwich and It wa a Romance to RememberFew thing in life are more gratifying than inking your teeth into a toaty grilled cheee andwich oozing warm, gooey cheddar, on chilly winter evening. So atonihingly imple, yet o atifying— thi claic dih continue to reign among favorite. How doe one top uch a meal? By accompanying it with a choice dram, of coure. Here are ome idea for andwich and whikey pairing that are certain to elevate your gatronomical experience and make it a truly piritual one.Pour yourelf a gla of Ilay Scotch with that grilled bacon and cheee. The characteritic mokine of peat matche the fatty, alty meat and cheddar marvelouly. Scotch i unique becaue of it extra bite to the tongue. Cheddar too, ha a zing that i accentuated by the Scotch. The Macallan Single Malt and Johnnie Walker are both good option. Peaty whikie in general, uch a bourbon, are perfect with barbequed meat. The earthy peat heighten the lightly charred aftertate, while the weetne of the marinade erve to balance the mokine. Try a pulled pork andwich with a dram of Woodford Reerve. Your tate bud will thank you.A hot ham or patrami andwich dipped in a light gravy, i complemented plendidly by rye whikey. Rye i picy and grainy, with a tronger kick than bourbon. It combat the peppery, briny tang of the meat excellently. Rittenhoue and Wild Turkey produce quality rye whikie that are great choice.If a picy chorizo i your andwich meat of choice, why not wah it down with a weet bourbon? It will even out the chorizo’ pungent paprika heat without competing with it robut flavor profile. The Jack Daniel Single Barrel make a prime candidate for pairing, a doe the Four Roe Small Batch.Whether you like to whip up your own andwich creation or haunt your favorite diner, make ure to pair it with a gla of fine whikey next time.

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Blood and Sand

Whoever said Scotch is a difficult ingredient to mix in a cocktail may not have tasted the Blood and Sand before. Granted that Scotch by itself has distinctive, robust flavours that make for great conversations and parties. But a sip of this spiked, sweet, and citrusy liquid may pump up your spirits like nothing else. So if you are about to pop open a bottle and in the mood to try an excellent cocktail, Blood and Sand is your perfect answer. Inspired from a movie of the same name that tells a tragic tale of a matador who rose and fell because of love, the Blood and Sand has been around since 1922. It first appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930, authored by the famous English bartender, Harry Craddock. Over the years, Blood and Sand’s ingredients and proportions have remained unchanged. However, bars around the world have tried replacing its signature cherry brandy with Cherry Heering, arguing that it has a “more natural cherry flavour” than the cherry brandies sold nowadays. Some have even created alternatives like Blood and Sand No. 2, by substituting orange juice for passion fruit and sweet vermouth with Lillet Rouge. Satan’s Whiskers bar in London uses simple syrup and fresh lemon juice in their Dutch Blood and Sand. The one thing that no one alters in this drink is the whisky. Almost every bartender stays true to the Scottish legacy of Blood and Sand that carries on. One can choose between single or blended Scotch, but we recommend Chivas Regal Blended Scotch Whisky. Its caramel, peat, and burnt orange notes mingle well with the other ingredients and make Blood and Sand complex, rich and delicious. If you like your cocktail not to be overly sweet, you can add in another whisky shot in the shaker and get ready to dance in every tune.

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Here's How to Stay 'Up to Date' With a Cocktail From 1916

When you think of being up to date, do you ever think of 1916? Well, a century ago, there was a cocktail called Up to Date. Similar to the Manhattan, the Up to Date featured in Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 edition of Recipes for Mixed Drinks. Ensslin was the first to record good cocktail mixes, even earlier than the well-known Savoy Cocktail Book. Calling for equal parts of rye whiskey and sherry, this cocktail does not specify the type of rye whiskey or sherry used. If you prefer a drier and lighter flavor, pick a Manzanilla or Fino sherry. If you prefer a stronger palate, choose Oloroso or Amontillado sherry. Lustau’s Los Arcos Amontillado sherry, with its light tanginess, is perfect. The mellow flavor of a six-year-old Sazerac Rye Whiskey will do this drink justice. Ensslin also used just two dashes of Angostura bitters, which is somewhat difficult to measure. Bartenders say it approximates to about 4 ml or an eighth of a teaspoon. The clove notes of the Angostura adds a spiciness to the sweetness of the orange.

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