“Hello, Suckers! Come on in and leave your wallet on the bar!” This is how blonde bombshell Texas Guinan greeted guests at the speakeasies she manned in New York during Prohibition. Famous for wisecracking, running the hottest clubs in town, being hauled off to the pokey on a regular basis and having her joints shut down by Feds, Texas hails from a long tradition of strong women who drink strong spirits. Re-opening after raids, she would sometimes sport a necklace of gold padlocks to show the cops there were no hard feelings.
While women and men weren’t permitted to mingle without prejudice in the bar until Tex’s time, women like Texas Guinan have owned and operated taverns and been a part of cocktail culture for generations. Ada Coleman, for example, was the first head bartender at the esteemed Savoy Hotel in London. Dorothy Parker, Tallulah Bankhead and Mae West all had one thing in common besides fame and beauty – they loved their gin cocktails.
The spirit of Texas, Ada and Dorothy lives on today in the form of modern female drinkers who seek adventurous cocktails made with full-flavored spirits like Bols Genever. Blending the mixability of vodka with the full, malty flavor of whiskey, Bols Genever is a sophisticated answer for today’s drinking dames: strong women who drink strong spirits.
Vogue during the men-only days of the saloon and the sporting class, Bols re-launched Genever stateside using an almost exclusively female team of brand ambassadors and marketers. The product has captured the imagination of a star-studded roster of female mixologists – modern day Tex’s and Adas – including Boston-based Misty Kalkofen, a mixologist at Drink and founder of her local chapter of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails, part of a national network of cocktail enthusiast groups dedicated to “breeding, raising, and releasing endangered cocktails into the wild.”
Misty’s 1820 cocktail (below) elegantly mixes Bols Genever with Galliano L’Autentico, smoky mezcal and lavender syrup in a combination both powerful and alluringly feminine, much like the sophisticated women who love Bols today.
Bambi Weavil: What do you do?
Kirsten Anmann: Ready? I’m a writer, publicist, server/bartender, and yoga teacher. People like to ask me what I want to do when I grow up, but I’m happy with all 4. And I think I may already be a grown up.
Wendy Miller: Currently I’m doing freelance/contract jobs mainly in Sales, Project Management and Marketing. I’ve been in Internet, Technology, and Event sales in the past. I also just authored an iPhone app (Seattle Cocktail Culture – due out later this month) and spearhead the Seattle chapter of LUPEC .
BW: How do you unwind from your day?
WM: Daily cocktail hour! Either at home or out with the husband and/or friends. Just a little chill time over a nice cocktail does it for me.
KA: Half the time…or maybe 3/4 of the time I unwind with amazing friends over cocktails. The other half of the time, I unwind on my yoga mat and spend the evening cooking really healthy food to help me detox from the other half of my life.
BW: Who do you consider “both powerful and alluringly feminine”?
WM: Susan Sarandon, Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Oprah, Michelle Obama, Tina Fey, Angelina Jolie.
KA: Beyonce. Chelsea Handler. Marilyn Monroe. Misty Kalkofen & all the ladies of LUPEC Boston. I could go on.
BW: What non-profits do you support?
WM: LUPEC Seattle just had their first charity fundraising event for the Jubilee Women’s Center. Additionally, I volunteer at and support Farestart & Food Lifeline locally.
KA: Local women’s charities in Boston including Jane Doe, the MA Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, The Friend’s Place, an organization at Dana Farber Cancer Institute that provides wigs, head scarves, etc. for women undergoing treatment for cancer, The New England Center for Homeless Veterans , The Science Club for Girls, a group that helps increase the self-confidence and literacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) of K-12th grade girls belonging to groups that are underrepresented in these fields, through free programs that include hands-on learning, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. And, On the Rise, a Cambridge-based non-profit that supports the initiative and strength of women living in crisis or homelessness.
BW: What women do you salute in the world and in your own life?
WM: Well all the ladies of LUPEC across the US of course! But to add to that women who are running their own businesses in the restaurant and bar industries especially. I’ve met so many fiercely independent women that really encourage others to follow their passions. Every time I meet someone with that attitude I admire them.
KA: So many! First, I give a nod to any woman making it in profession dominated by men, from the bar to the professional kitchen to women in science & technology and beyond. It’s tough to be the only women in a boy’s club. I salute you!
I also salute all of our unsung forebroads throughout history. Women like the Hello Girls who served an important role as bilingual switchboard operators during WWII. By the end of the war over 200 women had served oversees as part of the Hello Girls. The women had been sworn into service, were considered combatants and one of their own, Grace Banker, was awarded the Distinguished Medal of Service by Congress. However, upon returning to the States the Hello Girls were denied veteran status as all military regulations had been written in the male gender. One of the operators, Mearle Eagan Anderson, spent fifty years advocating on behalf of the Hello Girls. Her diligence was rewarded in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter signed a bill recognizing the service of the Hello Girls and awarding them veterans status.
Personally, I salute my mother and her three sisters of course, and my own Great Aunt Kay who served as a Clubmobile Girl during WWII. And I salute my fellow LUPEC members in chapters across the country. I’ve met so many strong, creative, amazing women through this group and feel blessed to be part of such a network.
BW: What women influenced you in your life?
WM: My mother. She was a very strong & independent women who believed she could do anything. And she almost did except for the battle with cancer that she lost just over 7 years ago. She taught me to be the same way . She is my hero and I miss being able to share my life with her.
KA: My mother, with her limitless compassion and soft, powerful presence. My don at Sarah Lawrence, Lyde Cullen Sizer, an amazing historian who taught me how to pursue my intellectual curiosity fearlessly even though I never considered myself all that smart. All the LUPEC ladies but specifically those in my home chapter, who are creative and dynamic and have taught me so much about cocktails without pretension.
BW: Tell us something thrilling going on in your city!
WM: March is Washington Wine month and there are tons of tastings and events all over Seattle highlighting the amazing wines of this state including Taste Washington, which I will be volunteering at.
KA: We’re starting a Boston chapter of the US Bartender’s Guild and have some really great events coming up for members. I’m really excited about this!
BW: Your drink of choice is…
WM: Nothing fits any occasion like a well made martini; gin, vermouth, orange bitters with a twist.
KA: A Pink Lady, of course!
1.5 oz Plymouth
.5 oz Laird’s Applejack
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz homemade grenadine
1 egg white
Combine ingredients without ice in a cocktail shaker and shake, Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass.
BW: What mark do you want to leave on the world?
WM: I’ve always felt that I wanted to see and learn as much about the places in this big world as possible. And by doing that I will have a better understanding of different cultures, regions & people. I’d like to be remembered as someone who enjoyed life to it’s fullest and maybe encourage others to do that too. A small mark as to not take up too much space… <smiles>
KA: One of gratitude, generosity, laughter, humility and service.
We loved talking to these fun and fabulous ladies – and don’t forget to take in your Happy Hour with “The 1820″ provided below by our friends at LUPEC Boston! Cheers!
Misty Kalkofen, Drink, Boston
Founder of LUPEC Boston
1.75 oz Bols Genever
.25 oz Galliano L’Autentico
.5 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Lavender Simple Syrup
1 bar spoon Del Maguey Minero Mezcal
1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Happy Hour – Drinks To Ease Into Valentine’s Day With or Without A Date (OutImpact.com)
- LUPEC 10th Anniversary Party (IHeartPGH.com)
- Shaking up the cocktail scene (Boston.com)
- International Women’s Day 2011 (BlogHer.com)
- Countdown ‘Til Tales of the Cocktail (Bostonist.com)