5 Whiskey-Loving Women Spill On Their Dream Drinking Partners, Quirky Customers, And Why They Love This Spirit
Not to make any grand sweeping statements, but women who drink whiskey are pretty much the coolest. As much as you love your friends who drink gin, vodka, and tequila, whiskey-loving women have a certain vibe that makes you want to be instant buddies with them. They're badass ladies, great storytellers, and most importantly, they have SO much to teach you about alcohol.
Luckily for you (and for me), I got a chance to speak to some ladies who really know their whiskey. Some of them are bartenders navigating the largely male-dominated cocktail industry. Others are writers who have devoted their lives to chronicling the intricacies of this unique type of spirit. What they all share is a love for the best kind of booze, a couple of crazy stories, and some serious cool-girl cred. Oh, and if you ever tell them that whiskey is a man’s drink, they’ll rightfully tell you that you have no brain cells.
We teamed up with Bonnie Rose Whiskey to interview five female whiskey enthusiasts who will win you over with their general badassery. Preferably, read this interview with a tumbler full of the hard stuff by a roaring fire.
Angela LambGeneral Manager for Boston, MA
Why she loves whiskey: "Whiskey has always appealed to me because it's strong and delicious on its own. One cube of ice, and you've ordered your drink. But if you want to take it further, it needs just one more ingredient to be something amazing. Or a different kind of ice, and you're in heaven.
Her whiskey truth: "Cocktails are meant to be enjoyed ... and God damn, whiskey is enjoyable."
Dream whiskey date: "Nick Offerman. I think he's hilarious and would totally appreciate a good bourbon."
Craziest customer: "A guy came into my bar and ordered a beer, but I just felt like something was a little off. I came out from behind the bar and [saw that] the guy had no shoes on and [was wearing] Starbucks coffee sleeves around his wrists. I wouldn't serve him, and he did a little jig as he walked out of the bar."
On why whiskey is here to stay: "Whiskey can be everything: sweet, bitter, strong. It's the perfect mixer to any great cocktail ... It's a classic and will continue to come around forever."
Ashley DanfordFounder of The Whiskey WomenChattanooga, TN
Why she loves whiskey: "I’ve always loved and appreciated the complexity and depth you find in a glass of whiskey. There are so many different types of whiskey out there that it's never hard to find something to match your mood."
On starting her website, The Whiskey Women: "I started The Whiskey Women with the goal [of] connecting like-minded badass ladies together. It’s been a lot of fun to see the community grow and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes."
On building a whiskey library: "There are constantly new releases on the shelves, leaving a lot of room to explore and discover as a whiskey drinker. It’s kind of like wine — only you don’t have to worry about the whiskey going bad, so you can collect and sit on a bunch of different whiskeys at once."
On the communal nature of whiskey: "For the most part, you share a glass of whiskey or a beautifully crafted cocktail with someone else, with the goal of connecting or sharing a moment in some way."
Dream whiskey date: "Lena Dunham. I feel like we would have a lot to talk about and I would really enjoy hearing her perspective on life and get all of the advice. I would also be very curious as to what whiskey she would order."
Tiffany CliftonBartender at Pioneers BarNew York, NY
When she fell in love with whiskey: "The first time when I had whiskey was when I turned 21. My best friend got me a bottle, and I held onto it for about a year."
How does whiskey make you feel? "It feels homey to me. It’s not strong and overpowering; it’s a nice sipping and relaxing kind of drink. Plus, vodka just seems too cold. It’s not giving me a hug."
Her dream whiskey date: "I would love to share a whiskey with Drew Barrymore. I think we'd have a nice hippy-dippy evening with whiskey on the rocks, and just talk about life and love and have a good old time."
Advice for young bartenders breaking into the cocktail biz: "Be confident, don’t get angry at customers, and know the basics: Martinis, Manhattans, and margaritas."
What she'd say to someone who told her whiskey is a dude's drink: "Shut the fudge up."
Clairessa ChaputBar Manager at Franklin CafeBoston, MA
Where her bond with whiskey began: "I still wasn't sold on the whiskey-loving thing until I made my first Sazerac. The layers of flavor and depth to that cocktail won me over, and was the first of many favorite whiskey drinks."
On the many shades of whiskey: "When the time calls for it, there are just so many different options for whiskey. You'll most certainly be satisfied after your first and last sip (and probably all the ones in between, too)."
On whiskey and the five senses: "I think my own personal experience with a tasty whiskey is unique because of what it tastes like, how it smells, and how it hits all my senses as I drink it. You can have spicy, sweet and smooth, smoky, robust, or something with heat and bite to it."
On the value of discovering whiskey: "I think everyone, not just women, should explore different whiskeys. There is definitely something out there for everyone's palate to enjoy."
Chelsea DavisBartender at Juniper BarNew York, NY
Why she loves whiskey: "It’s classic, it’s timeless, it’s always gonna have a good flavor. It’s a little sweet, but also you get that nice burn that makes you know you’re drinking a solid spirit."
Her dream whiskey date: "I would share a whiskey with both of my aunts. They’re very snarky, spunky, great conversationalists, and we can just bandy back and forth. Both of them have passed, so I would love to just sit down, have some whiskey on the rocks, and just talk about life."
Advice for aspiring female bartenders: "I think one of the biggest lies we’re told is that we need to use our bodies as a commodity, and that is not true at all ... Don’t take any sexual harassment."
What she'd say to someone who says that whiskey is a dude's drink: "I'd say 'Excuse me,' then take a shot of whiskey and drop the mic."
This post is sponsored by Bonnie Rose Whiskey. Enjoy responsibly. ©2015. Bonnie Rose and its trade dress are trademarks. Bottled by the Bonnie Rose Company, Fl. Corn whisky with natural flavor.
Image: Fotolia; Angela Lamb; Ashley Danford; Tiffany Clifton; Jo Bailon; Chelsea Davis