Big Girl Drinks: A Woman’s Take on Whisky

I’m watching Mad Men (I’m a huge fan).  Roger Sterling has just walked into Don Draper’s office and Don has poured him the customary drink.  Now, Roger is more of a vodka man, but Don, he’s a rye man.  On his office bar, there is always a bottle of Canadian Club and whoever walks into his office drinks it.  It’s a man’s world in 1960’s advertising, and whisky is the drink of men.   Women on the show are always drinking wine or a vodka gimlet, but Peggy, when she lands her first account is offered a celebratory glass of rye.  She’s now playing with the boys, so she has to learn to drink like them too.

Every time I watch Mad Men, I feel like I should have a glass in my hand:  scotch, whisky, maybe a manhattan … because, aside from being a huge fan of the show, I’m also a fan of whisky (or whiskey in the US and Ireland) in all it’s incarnations.  Like many other women, I’ve embraced the world of “Big Girl Drinks” as my friend, Rachelle, calls them.  Now, I’m no expert, but I do know what and like.  I know that “whisky” falls into five major categories:  Scotch, Rye, Bourbon, American Whiskey, and Irish Whiskey.

A lot has been said about Scotch and we all know that there are blends vs. single malts.  Scotch has been the belle of the ball for many years.  Now, her sisters are having their own coming out parties and we’re taking it all in … every drop.  Just so you’re up on your party conversation, here’s a little 411 on Scotch’s sisters.

Let’s start in our own back yard with Canadian Rye.  While rye whiskey is also made in the United States, Canadian whisky is most commonly known as “Rye”. Rye is made from, well, rye and other grains, most commonly corn, and has a smooth taste.  Personally, I find rye to be one of the drier and, therefore, lighter tasting of the various whiskeys.  Canadian Club and Crown Royal have long been the royalty of the Canadian Rye scene, but I’ve found a new favourite in Forty Creek Whisky from the Kittling Ridge Distillery in Grimsby, Ontario. It’s an international award winner and has a great smooth, vanilla finish.   Whether you’re new to rye, or a connoisseur, this one is definitely worth a try.

South of the 49th parallel, we have American Whiskeys which, in my opinion, tend to be sweeter and fuller bodied than rye.  Now there is whiskey and then there is bourbon.  Let’s keep these American cousins straight.  Bourbon is made of at least 51% corn and, more importantly, is only made in Kentucky.  Gentleman Jack and Jack Daniels, while charming fellows, are not bourbon.  My friend, Lori, introduced me to bourbon a few years back by way of a bourbon manhattan.  It was love at first sip.  Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve are two of my favourites, but I will let you in on a little secret.  One of the best bourbon’s I’ve tasted is not bourbon at all.  It’s made from at least 51% corn and made in the bourbon style, but it comes from PEI.  On a recent vacation, I tasted I.C. Shore Whiskey from Prince Edward Island Distillery.  I would put it up against any true bourbon.  In fact, in a blind taste test, I couldn’t tell the difference b/w the I.C. Shore and Maker’s.  I rest my, er … tumbler.

Now being a gal of Irish descent, I would be remiss if I didn’t toss in some fresh ice and make room in my glass for Irish Whiskey.  To me, Irish Whiskey falls somewhere in the middle of the whiskey taste spectrum. It can be smooth like a scotch or rye, but can also have a bit of sweetness.  Most people are familiar with Bushmills and Jameson, but as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I have a different favourite:  Red Breast.   Red Breast was introduced to me by yet another female friend who shares my passion for fine whiskeys.  It has the smoothness of a fine scotch and an amazing vanilla-toffee finish.  It can stand up to the finest of scotch and, like a true Irish lass, will charm you every sip of the way.  Admittedly, it’s my current favourite whiskey.  In fact, I’ve been sipping on some as I write this blog.  It’s a tough job …

On the rocks, with a splash of water, or neat, whisky is a universal drink.  An education in whisky can be a fun and tasty undertaking.  Just find the right woman and she’ll point you in the right direction.

Photos by Noelle Jenkinson

______________________________________________________________

Noelle has dabbled in Mixology from an early age. Not surprisingly for an Irish lass, this Colleen has an inherent knowledge of cocktails. She is a graduate of The Jenkinson School of Bartending, where she and her siblings studied under the watchful eye of their father Noel. By the tender age of 12, both Noelle and her twin sister Lyndsay had mastered the art of making the perfect Manhattan. Over the years Noelle has expanded her repertoire and dedicated herself to honing her skills

We would like to salute Noelle (and her liver) for the sacrifices she has made during her studies. So we raise a glass, firmly make eye contact, and say, “Happiness Darling”.

Photo by Pierre Gautreau

About Noelle Jenkinson

Voice Agent/Manager @ AMI - Artist Mgmt Inc.
This entry was posted in Food & Drink, Just Plain Fun, those3chicks, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

154 Responses to Big Girl Drinks: A Woman’s Take on Whisky

  1. jodie says:

    A truly thirst quenching post! Thanks.

  2. Thanks Jo Jo! Love the sound of the ice in the glass!

  3. Rob Rubin says:

    You’re my new hero! We used to drink Genteleman’s Jack back in college because the girls actually would drink it. I’ve since moved on to bigger and better things, namely Johnnie Walker Black.,

  4. jmignano10 says:

    I absolutely love the culture that Mad Men is able to portray throughout the show. You are completely correct… Advertising in the 60s was a man’s world! This was also a great lesson in whiskey varieties as well though, thanks for the education! :)

  5. Big girl drinks — as opposed to fussy frou-frou drinks with umbrellas, right?

    Actually, I kinda like them both…

    Fun post!
    :)

  6. I think I’ll go buy a bottle of Red Breast today… :)

  7. Kathleen says:

    My dad didn’t discriminate – all us kids (boy & girl) did the same jobs around the house, helped with fixing the car, mowed the lawn, and swung a hammer and paint brush on occasion. Even today, we all delight in toasting once in a while with a shot of Jamison’s. Cheers!

  8. Love your article, it was very interesting. I appreciated the “Wiskey 411 for Dummies” as it gave me somewhere to start when I get lost in my liquor store (it’s that big).

    I recently bought a bottle of Kentucky Honey Bourbon (Wild Turkey) because I once had a bartender make me adrink (which I do not remember the name).

    It was made with Honey Bourbon, ime juice, simple sugar and served on the rocks. That’s what I remember of it anyways, it was seriously good, but I can’t seem to find the actual drink recipe (or name) and was wondering if you knew of it?

    When I attempted to make it, it was not quite right and though I could keep trying to get it, I would rather not waste the liquor.

    Thanks,
    Your fellow Wiskey “Bourbon” Big Girl Drinker
    Lacey…

    • those3chicks says:

      We will look into that drink for you – it might be a variation on a Mint Julip. Have you tried mixing it in the proportions of a Mojito? See our post THESECRET TO MY MOJO for the best Mojito recipe. Try sustituting the Bourbon for the Rum and leave out the mint… or leave it in…you might be surprised.

    • Hi! I’m not an expert mixologist or anything – but are you sure the bartender was using regular Wild Turkey? Was it maybe Wild Turkey’s American Honey? Just wondering if maybe that’s why your attempted recreation tasted a little off? American Honey is being promoted like crazy where I live now, so I wondered if maybe that was it. But I could be completely off the (maker’s) mark. hahahahaha. But American Honey is so good and smooth and sweet.

  9. Rae says:

    I grew to appreciate whiskey after I married my husband, although I still don’t have the tolerance like they have on Mad Men (which is probably a good thing).

  10. O.H. Bread says:

    Excellent! I’m a whiskey person myself. Not mixed with anything, just a good quality on the rocks. Bourbon and Irish are my preferences. I will definitely be on the lookout for Red Breast now. Thank you for raising a glass to the “big girl drinks”. X

  11. one of life’s great pleasures

  12. valentinedee says:

    You’re definitely knowledgeable, but I hate Scotch. I hate Whiskey. And don’t get me started on Bourbon. One time an ex of mine and myself drank an entire bottle of Jack in a couple of hours. It wasn’t good after that. lol Never again.

    Anyway, here’s to you and to the women who can handle their booze :)

    val
    http://valentinedefrancis.wordpress.com

  13. This certainly tickles the ears of lupine humanity! They say that rye makes the babies cuter.

  14. I love Wild Turkey American Honey!

  15. Dana Sixty says:

    I never used to like whiskey until my husband turned me onto scotch whisky. Now I know why he likes it. Not a fan of the smoky/peaty ones but there are some beautiful smoothies out there. I’m a fan!

  16. fireygoddess says:

    I’m so proud of our Canadian distilleries! I’m a true mad men fan as well!
    Cheers
    ” no time for boring or dull men”

  17. Great post – and congrats on FP!

    I love a good Scotch or whiskey drink (either way you spell it!). Tasting and finding my preferences is half the fun. Or an 1/8th of the fun, depending on when you ask me…

  18. jennotjenny says:

    Love it! Happiness Darling!

  19. I remember, as a child, being at parties with my parents. Any man offering drinks always said,”Here’s some sherry. It’s a Ladies drink.” The way he said it always sounded condescending to me. Too bad he didn’t know YOU!

  20. maryct70 says:

    I’ve always been a Jameson’s kind of girl, but I might have to try that Red Breast!

  21. G-LO says:

    Welcome to the Whisk(e)y Party Noelle! I have been enamored with this spirit (regardless of country of origin) for well over 20 years and am pleased to see women finally embracing this most complex and beautiful beverage. Just a bit of nit picking with regards to what you wrote about Bourbon…

    Here are some definitions from http://www.straightbourbon.com regarding what is and is not Bourbon:

    Q: What is Bourbon?
    A: There are strict laws governing just what a Bourbon must be to be labeled as such. For example, at least 51 percent of the grain used in making the whiskey must be corn (most distillers use 65 to 75 percent corn). Bourbon must be aged for a minimum of two years in new, white oak barrels that have been charred. Nothing can be added at bottling to enhance flavor, add sweetness or alter color.

    Q: Where is Bourbon made?
    A: Bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States. All but a couple of brands are made in Kentucky, and Kentucky is the only state allowed to put its name on the bottle. And as Kentucky distillers are quick to point out, Bourbon is not Bourbon unless the label says so.

    And as far as the Irish whiskies go, you are right on the money with regards to Redbreast. It is fantastic!

    Cheers!
    G-LO

  22. jfeldt says:

    Awesome! I love to find other women whisky appreciators. I’m a scotch girl myself, but have recently been introduced to bourbon and loved it. Will be working on my ‘education’ soon.
    jfeldt
    New follower via bloglovin

  23. Hamid Lorette says:

    I enjoyed your article, very informative, I look forward to trying some of the different kinds you mentioned. I just wrote a song called “Whiskey is Delicious” if anyone wants to hear it go to Hamid Lorette’s Original Music on YouTube. Cheers.

  24. ShoeGalKayla says:

    I’m a true vodka gal myself, but I still get a Makers and 7 every once in awhile! It’s always throws the bartender off.

  25. Ahh nice post. I feel so unsophisticated because I don’t drink any alcohol lol. Always wanted to acquire a taste for wine but it hasn’t happened yet.

    Cheers **using a glass of juice** to your Whisky lol

  26. My take on whiskey: yum!
    I actually live about 20 miles from Bushmills Distillery and I do enjoy the odd sip. There’s some tasty Japanese whiskey (Yamazaki) and of course I love Southern Comfort and Jack.

  27. A post about drinking just in time for the Holidays. I needed this. There will be many tests and trials in the coming days. I like the sound of a “smooth vanilla finish”. I’m going to start saying that at parties. Even when I don’t have a drink in my hand.

    On a perfectly related note, has anyone ever suspected that Oscar the Grouch was an alcoholic?
    Okay that was a little random. Enjoyed the post!

  28. lennymaysay says:

    Makers Mark is pretty expensive here in South Africa, but so worth it. I always have a bottle handy.

  29. lemazoni says:

    Nice post! I do prefer single malt, but every category has it’s on taste, I find that amazing! I actually just started blogging about drinks, however, since I’m brazilian I blog in Portuguese! Maybe next year I’ll blog in both languages. Anyway, keep up the good work!

  30. midnitechef says:

    A great intro to those of us ladies who are unfamiliar to the world of whisky. I’m from Canada so I would probably start with the Canadian varieties :) Happy Sipping!

  31. Patti Kuche says:

    Great post, thank you so much and I look fwd to exploring your ideas on the perfect Manhattan – shaken, stirred, straight up or on the rocks. Maker’s Mark is my favourite so far but can’t wait to discover I.C. God bless those little cherries, sometimes a valuable part of my five a day! Cheers and Merry Christmas to you all!

  32. jdwalley says:

    You are the kind of gal country singers write about. Cheers!

  33. blogattack says:

    Golly, the research for this must have just been so taxing on you (next time ask me to help!) Great article!

  34. Great Post on a piece on whiskey! Yes, Red Breast! It was my favorite Irish whiskey I tried (that I could afford) when I visited Ireland. its hard to find here in the states. I’m a Maker’s Mark man, so your post caught my eye, literally, with your pic. Lets see if you did your home work, do you know the difference, visually, between American whiskey and the whiskeys of other countries? (Canadian, Scotland, Ireland)

    Americans are the only ones that use the letter ‘E’ in the spelling.

    Anytime you want to

  35. Amy Burdge says:

    I love to read about Red Breast getting props! It’s by far one of the best, yet only seems to end up on quirky whiskey lists in St. Louis. It’s surprising to me that it can be found in a dive bar and in a class joint, but rarely in between. It’s presence is a standard by which I judge the real depth of the watering hole.

  36. jseaford says:

    You thought of Mad Men, I thought of Horrible Bosses – that scene where Jason Bateman walk’s into his horrible boss’s office, played by Kevin Spacey, and is poured a full glass of Scotch, and made to drink it all. Yikes.

  37. Fun post! Balvenie (single malt) 12 yr old, on the rocks for me. Jameson’s is also lovely.

  38. Don Levesque says:

    I always loved Jack and still do, but a few years back a friend had me taste a single malt scotch called Lagavulin and this straight up. I’ve enjoyeds scotch since though I’ve left the strong peat ones aside. Heck I love all whiskeys be it a bourbon, scotch, whiskey or rye. And on the rocks please!

    • those3chicks says:

      We like it on the rocks or straight up but chilled! If you like it on the rocks you might like the new Whiskey Rocks available in many stores. They are cube-shaped stones you put in the freezer and then use to chill your drink. They are great as they do not dilute the whiskey as melting ice cubes would.

  39. yummeblog says:

    Cool article. I’m still a girly drink girl (I only drink Bourbon during Christmas in my eggnog) but I’m curious about the Red Breast; I’m going to try it in the eggnog, I think it’ll be famous. I still have the same bourbon in my freezer from last Christmas’ eggnog, that is how little I drink. Anyway, thanks for the information, your post was very informative.

  40. Eva McCane says:

    i’m a vodka gimlet girl. having said that, i found this super entertaining. and now i want to be a big girl. so tomorrow night, i plan to go out with friends, and i’m going to branch out and take a stab at some whiskey. makes me dry heave a little thinking about it, but i’m determined to get atleast 1 down. thanks for the inspiration!
    http://www.icouldntmakethisshitup.wordpress.com

  41. Nora Blithe says:

    I’m a bourbon girl myself. Who ever said these drinks were only for the boys? I’ll learn them a thing or two!

  42. fenster020 says:

    So thirsty, so very, very thirsty and the cabinet has no Whisk(e)y. Off the the store with some new ideas in my head. It will be a grand night!

  43. 14is41 says:

    GREAT POST! Thank You! I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I no longer feel the need to drink beer (you know, with all of those calories and stuff!) and wine, well, I LOVE WINE, but tend to wake up in the middle of the night with a huge sugar buzz if overdone…and that is just no fun at al! I love sipping on a fine whiskey and am excited to try out the Red Breast you have mentioned. Hoping that BevMo may carry and if not, I will be sure to request that they order it!
    Thanks for doing the research and sharing the love)

  44. jdhughes89 says:

    Good post – my only complaint is that you’ve made me pretty thirsty! What’s your take on ale/beer, another beverage traditionally more associated with men?

  45. topiclessbar says:

    You know what…I’m buying myself a bottle of Scotch for Christmas! Thanks for the idea!

    And congrats on getting Freshly Pressed! Happy Holidays!

  46. I am of Irish decent from my grandmother’s side. I like them Irish whiskey. :D

    I usually just get Jim Beam straight up (or one ice cube). The thing is, I want to try something different. Red Breast, huh? I must try it. :D

    Happy holidays. :)

  47. limewindow says:

    In terms of Irish – Power’s Whiskey is one of the best & less well known (internationally I mean) for the money. There are three swallows (birds) on the neck label – which translates into three mouthfuls or ‘swallows’ – possibly the recommended dose!
    We (Irish) women have always drank Powers (strictly medicinal you understand) since before the rise of posher spirits & alcoh-pops – so it maybe a generation thing of 30+; an ‘acquired’ taste.
    Where Jameson’s is velvety and slack upon the throat, especially that matured & gorgeous ‘Crested 10’ – Powers draws directly from the land – tastes of earth and bog- river and a thousand uncovered nights.

    • those3chicks says:

      Wow Thanks for this comment and the additional information on Whisky! We love your descrition of Powers drawing from the land…and 3 swallows? Who would disagree with that?!

  48. Excellent post! I drink whisky often (don’t read into that too much) and more women should, too. What an interesting blog you have here.

    • those3chicks says:

      We would never judge you for indulging in a wee dram of any whisky! Thanks for your comment.

      • I wish I could “like” this post more than once. So much to like about it. I’ve been drinking whisky in various forms since college, but you are quite right about the Mad Men influence. It’s a good thing, I suppose. Two nights ago, I was drinking a Manhattan in a local pub and someone asked me about it. They said they’d been hearing about it on Mad Men and that it’s making a comeback. A bartender agreed. Sure is better than the Cosmo trend from Sex & the City.

  49. I was told by a former female colleague that if I ever wanted to impress a man to order Scotch neat. I was only 24 at the time but I’ve never forgotten that bit of wisdom! Love the post.

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