After more than 35 years slinging cocktails at spots like Drink, Brick & Mortar and Toro, Misty Kalkofen and Kirsten Amann distilled their knowledge into Drinking Like Ladies: 75 recipes with short histories of female trailblazers like Filipino-American activist Florence Finch. When it comes to their own guidelines for guzzling, the pair gives it to us straight—along with a recipe for a Finch-inspired bourbon-sake drink—before the book hits shelves on June 19.
Claim your space: Until the Roaring ’20s, the publick house, saloon and barroom were distinctly male preserves to meet, talk, work or relax and answer only to other men. We have lots of lost time to make up for, ladies, so hook your heel to the brass rail with confidence.
Drink culturally: While traveling, drink what the locals drink: rosé in a small cup in the south of France, kalimotxo in Spain, baijiu in China. Let your bartender be your tour guide and note that consuming a cocktail in its natural habitat is one of life’s great pleasures.
Drinks are not gendered: Every lady is unique, and so is her palate. There is no such thing as a girly drink. Drink what you want, whether it’s sweet, pink and fruity or down, brown and bold.
Show your appreciation: The bartenders and servers who make their jobs appear effortless are the hardest workers in the biz. They depend on gratuities for the bulk of their pay. Twenty percent of your bill is a great standard, with 25 percent or more showing sincere appreciation for exceptional service. And always remember: Cash is king.
Drink historically: Your neighborhood spot is just as likely to have a house cocktail as the new cocktail den garnering national media attention. Take advantage, but don’t forget to educate yourself on the classics from which these modern concoctions arose. You will appreciate the Deconstructed Corpse Reviver more having tasted Corpse Revivers #1, #2 and #3.
“Frequently the biggest heroes are ordinary people tucked in the shadows. Such was the case with Florence Finch. Finch, known throughout her life as Betty, was born on the island of Luzon, the daughter of a Filipino mother and a U.S. Army veteran father. Upon graduating high school, she was hired as a stenographer at the U.S. Army headquarters in Manila, where she met her future husband, a U.S. sailor who was killed in action shortly after they married while attempting to resupply captured soldiers.
Betty claimed her Filipino citizenship to avoid internment during the Japanese occupation of Manila. Touting the skills she learned as a stenographer, she was able to procure a job with the Philippine Liquid Fuel Distributing Union. Her job writing gas rationing cards provided the perfect avenue for her clandestine work with the Philippine resistance movement, allowing her to divert fuel supplies to the underground and to sabotage shipments to the Japanese. During this time, Betty learned her former supervisor from her days as a stenographer, Major Englehart, was imprisoned. Through hidden messages, she learned of his mistreatment and began smuggling food, medicine, clothing, and soap to prisoners of war.
In October 1944, Betty was captured by the Japanese. She was imprisoned in a two-by-four-foot cell, interrogated, and tortured. Through it all, Betty refused to divulge any information that would be beneficial to her Japanese captors. She was released in February 1945 weighing only eighty pounds.
After her release, Betty moved to Buffalo, New York, and joined the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve. She rarely spoke about her experiences in the war, saying, “I feel very humble because my activities in the war effort were trivial compared with those of the people who gave their lives for their country.” When her superiors in the Coast Guard learned of her activities and what she had endured, she was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon and later the Medal of Freedom.”
1 1/2 ounces Belle Meade Bourbon
1 ounce Nigori sake
3/4 ounce fresh pineapple juice
1/2 ounce coconut milk
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce wildflower honey
Shake all ingredients and double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orchid and a sprinkle of smoked sea salt.
By Megan Deschaine, The Macintosh, Charleston, South Carolina
Excerpted from Drinking Like Ladies, published by Quarry Books, an imprint of The Quarto Group