Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Business Cards!

Just sent off my new Women Who Whiskey business cards to the printer! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"American Spirits" at the National Constitution Center

Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

Prohibition is fascinating. 

From the birth of secret speakeasies to rise of gangsters against the backdrop of flappers and jazz, it's an era that we tend to romanticize. 

"Yet that movement altered the Constitution in a radical fashion, extending its reach to matters once considered personal and restricting freedoms rather than expanding them. In effect from 1920 to 1933, Prohibition drastically altered the legal system of every state, and overturned ordinary citizens’ behaviors and expectations. While claiming high virtue and utopian prospects, it inspired spectacular violations and grotesque criminal violence.
We tend to think of Prohibition now as some kind of crazed moral paroxysm, reflecting the worst in the American character. Or it inspires facile parallels with contemporary political movements while producing some fine folk tales about Eliot Ness, Al Capone, pious preachers, flappers, bootleggers, the Charleston and the speakeasy.
And those elements are all on display at the new exhibition at the National Constitution Center here, “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.” But the show also asks, “How did we get here?” And with its 120 artifacts, gallery stage sets, videos, games and diversions, it doesn’t just round up the usual suspects."  For more information, read more in this NYTimes article

WHEN AND WHERE Friday through April 28. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia. The show then travels to other cities.
INFORMATION (215) 409-6600,
WHERE TO DRINK Tip a few at one of these Philadelphia speakeasies: the Farmers’ Cabinet, 1113 Walnut Street, (215) 923-1113,; Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company, 112 South 18th Street, (267) 467-3277,; Hop Sing Laundromat, 1029 Race Street (which has a dress code: no flip-flops, no sandals, no sneakers, no shorts and no hats),


Stay tuned for information about an upcoming Women Who Whiskey field trip! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

3 Things You Might Not Know About Whiskey

Serious Eats is back with more whiskey fun facts!

(Photo credit: Serious Eats)

1. President Taft is responsible for our current definition of whiskey.

As whiskey came of age in America, no one was sure how to exactly define it. Could blended whiskey and bonded straight whiskey both be just be called "whiskey"? The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 stipulated that whiskey must come from the same distillery, be made in the same season, be at least four years old, and be bottled at 100 proof to be labeled "Bottled-in-Bond" or "Bonded." But that didn't fully answer the question, and producers of blended and straight whiskey were both adamant that their product be called simply "whiskey"... Keep reading!

2. Charred barrels weren't always the norm.

After the Louisiana Purchase was added to the United States, Kentucky distillers were sending whiskey down to New Orleans in uncharred barrels, but no one was buying it. Veach theorizes that it the Tarascon brothers, who hailed from France and handled trade between Louisville and New Orleans, came up with the method of putting whiskey in toasted oak... Keep reading!

3. If the bourbon mash bill has less than 10 percent malted barley, enzymes are added.

We know that bourbon must be at least 51 percent corn and that other grains such as wheat, rye, and malted barley are used to complete the mash bill. Distillers can adjust how much of each grain they're using, and there is no minimum amount of malted barley that bourbon is required to contain... Keep reading!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Make Mine Manhattan

 The Manhattan...

"’s a cocktail that requires a whole host of decisions. Rye or bourbon? Perfect (composed with equal measures of sweet and dry vermouth), or just sweet vermouth? Bitters? Garnish? Rocks? My advice is to try the Manhattan every which way (just not all at once), because different versions suit different moods. 

According to legend, the Manhattan was created some 140 years ago, at New York City’s Manhattan Club, for a banquet held by Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill’s Brooklyn-born mother. This tale has been debunked, but I still like to think it’s true, for the strong sense of time and place it suggests."

Read on for more about the Manhattan. 

{Photo credit: Sarn Kaplan, NYT}

And here are two of the best recipes found in New York:


  • 2 oz. Basil Hayden’s bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Punt e Mes Italian vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Apricot liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 Luxardo cherry.


1. Stir over ice and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish: Luxardo cherry.
Moo's Manhattan


  • 2 1/2 oz. Old Overholt rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Carpano Antica Formula
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 1-by-3-inch slice lemon peel
  • 1 brandied cherry.


1. Pour wet ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 30 seconds. Add another dash of Angostura to a chilled coupe. Twist the lemon and orange peels directly over the coupe. Vigorously rub the peels inside the coupe, then discard them. Add 1 brandied cherry. Strain the liquid into the prepared glass.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

WWW Homework: Whiskey Tasting at Ward III

One of the best parts of being the founder of Women Who Whiskey is getting to plan future wWw events. And one of the best part of planning for the events is doing the homework.

I never plan an event in a place I haven't personally tested out myself--I'd be remiss if we showed up and our expectations weren't met.

Last night Samantha and I went on a recon mission to Ward III.

Indeed, we have already been to Ward III for an event, Women Who Whiskey: Graduation Edition.

But last night was special: Whiskey Mondays at Ward III, where booze reps come in and host a free tasting of a selection of liquors.

It's a recurring Ward III evening I'm hoping to plan a Women Who Whiskey event around, and I'm pleased to say that it was a delightful and educational experience.

We tried three different alcohols: rum (light and dark), whisky, and absinthe. Below are my photos and notes from the tasting.

Banks Blended Rum

Banks Rum is a blend of 21 different rums from a number of different countries, which gives it an even, spiced flavor that isn't too sweet. Both the dark and white rum has a butterscotch bouquet, but the flavor was far from syrupy--which is what I usually dislike about rum, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Florent, the charming and handsome (and French) brand manager told us all about the different rums they blend together--from Indonesian rum to Jamaican rum--and gave us a booklet of Banks rum cocktails. 

Banks Negroni

2 oz. Banks 5-Island Rum
.75 oz. Luxardo Bitter or Campari
.75 Lustau East India Sherry or Martini Sweet Vermouth

Add all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a tumbler over ice, or unto a chilled coupe. Garnish with an orange twist. 

Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch

Monkey Shoulder is different from other blended scotches because it's a blend of only single malt whiskys. Most blended scotches use a single malt to cover up the taste of grain alcohol, which makes up most of the volume.

Monkey Shoulder is a Triple Malt Scotch--a blend of three single malts--which is why it has a smooth taste, superior to other blended scotches like Johnnie Walker or Dewars. 

It was started by David Stewart, the oldest serving distiller in Scotland--who's been doing it for more than 50 years. It's called Monkey Shoulder, after the common injury that malters use to get from turning the malted barley by hand.



Freddy, the brand rep, taught us how to make the Jam Old Fashioned, a cocktail he came up with consisting of a couple of ounces of Monkey Shoulder Scotch, two dashes of bitters, a couple of splashes of lemon juice, and a dollop of whatever jam you have on hand. Shake it with some ice and strain over ice in a tumbler.

La Clandestine Absinthe

Having French and Italian parents, I grew up with Pastis and Sambuca--both with strong anise/black liquorice flavors, which I love--so it's no surprise that I love Absinthe as well. 

I was delighted to find La Clandestine Absinthe on the tasting menu, and it was fun to watch Alan, the brand rep, pour us the traditional Absinthe and water cocktail with a fancy little thingamajig--called a Broulliar--to slowly drip the Absinthe into a glass of ice water. 

The goal is to bring the alcohol content of the absinthe down to the same strength of a glass of wine--about 13 or 14%--from it's original 53%. Normally this is about 3 parts water to 1 part absinthe.

La Clandestine is an old school no brand absinthe, which was started in 1935 by Charlotte Voucher. It was a bootleg recipe that only recently became an official brand.

We also tried La Clandestina, a deliciously crisp and refreshing cocktail.  Mix equal parts simple syrup, lime juice, and La Clandestine. Shake with ice in a mixer and strain into a chilled glass.


It was a wonderful evening--with lots of delicious free samples--and I wholly intent to make a future Women Who Whiskey event out of it. 

In the mean time, I highly recommend checking it out. It's every Monday at Ward III, on Reade St. and West Broadway in Tribeca.

11 Reade St.
(corner West Broadway)
Monday Night Whiskey Tastings
Mondays 8-10pm
Free with the purchase of a cocktail at the bar