June 10, 2021

Women & Whiskey: Stereotypes be Drammed

How many times have you sat down on a bar stool, been given a wink by the bartender, and then handed a slim menu where it’s purposefully opened to the page with pink drinks and parasols?
If the answer is either Once or More times than I’ve had hot dinners, then I implore you to join me on Thursday, June 6th at the Reservoir Distillery in Scott’s Addition for the first forum of Richmond’s Women in Whiskey. We need to talk about how to drive that number down to zero.
And if you happen to be a woman whose answer is That seriously never happens to me, then I still pray you join us that night, as we’re planning to make you a sash and crown, and will plead you jot down a few tips for the rest of us to laminate and carry around in our purses.
The answer we’re striving for is It doesn’t happen anymore.

Brown spirits can be a little intimidating for many of us—men and women alike—and oftentimes that fear finds us making a wide berth around the beautiful barrels that lovingly hug some of the richest tastes behind the bar.
But why should you miss out?
Certainly not because the bartender misjudged either the confidence you have when knowing what you want, or the curiosity you possess to try something new you crave.
And not because your idea of hard liquor has been framed by countless steamy episodes of Mad Men, and you can’t imagine where you’d fit within that bad boy behavior.
And for heaven’s sake, please try to erase the memories of all the horrible hooch you had in college—the ones that make you shake your head, clutch your stomach, and repeat the old adage, If you let me live, God, I’ll never take another sip.
This isn’t going to be that kind of night.
The kind of night we are talking about is one filled with sips, snacks, and spirited conversation. Literally—we’re going to be chatting and learning about spirits.

You’ll be guided by Richmond’s renowned Robey Martin, our Master of Ceremonies for the evening, and have an opportunity to learn from three women who currently work within the world of whiskey:
Beth Dixon—one of RVA’s most beloved craft bartenders/bar managers, mom, and urban farmer. Currently Beth oversees all lovely liquids at Perch, but you might have easily come across her in the past at Pasture or Can Can—leading the movement of garden to glass.
Mary Allison—a rising hero of Reservoir, and no doubt one of their incredible distillers, who knows her product and her craft extraordinarily well.
And me, Shelley Sackier—ink-slinger, spirit guide, and reflective tippler. Also part-time lumberjack, but that’s another story.
June 6th we’ll be serving up countless rounds of that along with a dram or two or Virginia’s finest bourbon, rye, and wheat whiskies, all in an effort to entertainingly educate women on “the bottles in the back of the book.”
We’ll start the night with a drink in your hand and a few nibbles on your napkin. You’ll hear from Robey—a quick intro into the world of whiskies and the roadmap for the evening’s adventures.
Then we’ll split the crowd into three groups:
Mary will give you a tour of the distillery and a memorable takeaway of how Reservoir’s whiskies are made. It’ll be a little like visiting Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but sadly, without the Oompa Loompas.

I will give you the Beginner’s Guide to seeing, nosing, and tasting your whiskies, along with a few key questions that will help you redirect any wayward conversation where you really wish to be discussing the length of the legs drizzling down your Glen Cairn glass versus the length of those tucked beneath your bar stool.
And lastly, Beth will provide you the ever useful and highly coveted one-on-one cocktail demonstration. You’ll be shown a few nifty tips and tricks for how to make the most of these beautiful brown spirits, allowing them to shine in countless ways.
The night will be one where you’ll see how whiskey is made, you’ll learn how whiskey is used, and you’ll discover how whiskey is enjoyed. You will come away after a couple of hours having learned something useful, having expanded your palette, and having found a new clan.
Join us. It’ll be a night you’ll definitely remember.
Shelley Sackier--Director of Distillery Education