I started writing a piece called, “Not your momma’s bourbon,” but the more research I did, the more I came across pieces that Just. Made. Me. Angry. Some were quite well written (and didn’t annoy me), but some – well, here’s my take on things.


Ancient History

Women have played a role in whiskey, for as long as there’s BEEN whiskey. Records are a little sketchy, but most point toward the first still being created by, you guessed it, a woman. Fast-forward a few thousand years, and women in Ireland and Scotland regularly distilled spirits. Lots of reasons: medicinal (before Prohibition made it “medicinal”), economic (feed the family) and social. Women even tended bar during WWII, until men came home and kicked them out. Literally kicked them out: two states, California (WTF?!) and Michigan even passed laws that women weren’t allowed tend bar. Took decades to not only remove that law, but to begin to reverse the trend. Today, there are still more men behind the stick than women. But that’s changing, a little at a time.


Modern Day

So here we are, in the age of enlightenment. Right? You think so? Not so fast. Not only does our pay still lag considerably behind men, and sexual assault still has that, “she wore a skirt” bullshit going on, but even sitting down to have a drink has a weird stigma. Which leads me to today’s point:


I can like whiskey simply because I like whiskey, and it has ZERO to do with what’s between my legs.

OK, I should’ve warned you to sit down before reading that. It’s shocking, I know. But true. So here’s my advice, depending on which set of chromosomes you have.


Gentlemen: Women like whiskey….for the taste. You can tell those that genuinely do, and those that are trying to impress the overgrown frat boy at the bar next to them. But just because we order whiskey in a bar it doesn’t signal our intent to tear off your clothes (it could, but not always, no more so than ordering wine), and it sure as hell doesn’t give you unspoken permission to rip ours off. Respect is the name of the game, whether we’re drinking whiskey, wine or water. Don’t stereotype us based on what’s in our glass.


Ladies: You can probably guess where I’m going with this. If you like whiskey, drink it. Neat, rocks, sippy cup, it’s all fair game. Mix the shit outta of it, it’s fine. Drink it how you like it. For those of you that don’t really care for it, but are doing so to “impress” – do all of us a favor, and knock it off. Those scrunched up noses and cringe-y faces that you make when you “try” whiskey are giving you wrinkles, and giving me a headache. Go back to Cosmos, wine or whatever you like, but stop trying to be something you’re not. It’s not a crime to like a sweet drink (though the hangovers suck). If you need whiskey to attract a guy, chances are fairly good he’s the wrong kinda guy anyway.

Bonus category, Ad Agencies: About once a year, one of you comes up with the most fantastically insulting campaign I’ve ever seen. Until the next year, when you do it again, but worse. Don’t believe me? Here are a couple of the more egregious offenders, so you can decide for yourself.


Woodford, if you ever say I need a man to build a bookshelf ever again, I’ll cut you, instead of a 2×4. (And btw, this ad was the reason I stopped drinking your swill, and telling others to do so, too). Tracy Moore adds her hilarious comments.


Dewar’s went full steam ahead with “Meet the Baron”, which should’ve been titled, “Meet the D-bag.” Sexist much? And this isn’t just my opinion. Here’s one from AdWeek, which includes Dewar’s just-plain-weak response.


We have bigger issues in this world to deal with, other than what a woman puts in her glass. A mangled apricot hellbeast is trying to take over the world, North Korea just banned sarcasm (guess I won’t be visiting) and my glass is outta whiskey. I can only fix one of those things….Cheers!


Article: Jeanne Runkle



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