“When a woman orders whiskey, it’s an aggressive act.” WHAT?!?

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been invited to an increasing number of “Women & Whiskey” themed events. 

Some of these are transparently marketing-driven posturing, where chocolates and cupcakes accompany whiskey, as if all the spirit needs is the right accessory.  

But lately, I feel an earnest wind blowing in, from the direction of the Scottish Isles.

Ardbeg Flip

In mid-August, I attended a “Single Malt & Seafood” pairing intended “for women only,” with no chocolate in sight. Instead, the menu ran to well-made Rob Roy cocktails (Glenmorangie LaSanta, Carpano Antica, orange bitters) paired with scallops, and smoky Ardbeg Flips paired with Warm Bread Pudding.

And last night, at the Food Network kitchens, whisky specialist and Glenfiddich ambassador Heather Greene hosted a kickoff event for a “Women & Whisky” series – a whisky dinner, hold the cupcakes. Again, the focus was on Single Malt Scotches.  What surprised me most wasn’t that it’s possible to pair seared duck breast with Scotch, but rather the attitude struck by a couple of dinner-mates. 

When a woman orders whiskey, it’s totally an aggressive act,” said one woman (who later chuckled over the fact that her 30-year-old dram was older than she). Another woman, in a separate conversation, described the same act as “shocking.”

I was floored, and promptly sent that “aggressive act” comment out on Facebook and Twitter. The responses flew back (I’m sparing the names, but noting the genders):

 If that’s the case, then I’ve been witness to a lot of aggression over the years…  (Male)

Sounds like bullshit to me! And my wife, big whiskey fan. (Male)

 That statement drove a switchblade into my liver! (Female)

False. Capital F.  (Female)

Aggressively hot!  (Male)

How narrow minded. I’ve been a Scotch drinker since I was in my 20s. I’m pretty sure no one who knows me would call me aggressive. (Female)

Good heavens! By that judgment I’d be Ms. Bitch on wheels. (Female)

Telling, don’t you think?

Label - rare 15yo Scotch

By the end of the evening, clearly some whisky walls had broken down, as the woman sitting to my right plopped a dollop of vanilla ice cream into her snifter of rare 15-year-old Glenfiddich, a bottling that Heather had carried back from Scotland the previous week. Of course, I tweeted that too. I tried a little of the combination together, ice cream and Scotch — and it was a surprisingly lovely combination, not unlike the creamy Ardbeg Flip I’d tried a few weeks earlier, minus the smoke.

But when I checked Twitter, clearly some people were scandalized.

Quipped one pithy tweet:   I would classify ice cream in 15 yr old whiskey as an aggressive act.


10 thoughts on ““When a woman orders whiskey, it’s an aggressive act.” WHAT?!?

  1. Yo Kara!

    That’s too funny. An aggressive act? No friggin way! I can think of nothing more appealing (or sexy) than a woman who can appreciate a fine drink, whether it’s beer, whisk(e)y, wine, or anything else you can think of. Pity I missed your Tweet. The replies were hilarious!

    And regarding the whisky + ice cream thing… why the hell not! It’s at least worth a try.


  2. hey there! yes, the tweet/FB replies really WERE hilarious — it was why I absolutely had to get this post up. All hail social media!

  3. I am grateful that my wife loves whiskey, isn’t afraid of straight spirits, and dislikes sweet cocktails. None of that ever seemed “aggressive” or “shocking” to me. I guess it’s all relative. You know what’s shocking and aggressive to me? Men who happily, unashamedly drink cake-flavored vodka. In the cocktail and spirits world, we forget that much of the market — for men and women — is overly sweetened drinks, flavored vodkas and now flavored whiskeys (like Jim Beam’s Red Stag and Phillip’s Revestoke spiced Canadian whiskey). And, to make matters worse, on the other side, half the market for single malt scotch is jerks who choose by price, age, and perceived status. (I once endured a conversation with a guy, his polo shirt buttoned all the way up, who told me that ‘any scotch that costs less than, say, $200, $250 is total shit,’ and therefore not worth drinking.)

    I guess what I’m saying is that it’s always surprising to discover how (maddeningly) different we can all be, even in our shared love of booze — and how judgmental.

    • LOL – “You know what’s shocking and aggressive to me? Men who happily, unashamedly drink cake-flavored vodka”

      right on, mister!

  4. I don’t understand why the woman’s comment is seen as negative – what’s wrong with an aggressive act? We’re not talking about punching someone here – we’re talking about booze. When someone says “aggressive,” I take it metaphorically. The chocolate & cupcake nonsense exists because whiskey is often treated as “Men’s Country.” Going into someone else’s country is aggressive. Not to get dramatic, but anytime someone violates what people imagine as a boundary (right, wrong, or indifferent) you can think of yourself as aggressive. Sometimes that’s an awesome thing like when you demands your rights or drink a delicious rye.

    I love love love whiskey because it’s delicious, but I also love the looks I get from big dudes down the bar from me. I love it when bartender’s say, “Whoa! Alright lady!” It’s fun wandering around in places where people don’t think you belong.

    • “Going into someone else’s country” – fascinating way to put it.

      On FB, someone (a female someone) also observed that it’s not so much about aggression as it is about confidence. I feel like that goes hand in hand with your comment and the perception of boundaries.

    • Hey SD, I’m glad you found the blog too! Let’s keep in touch, and eventually we’ll find an excuse to share a dram. (And your ps literally had me laughing out loud)

  5. Pingback: Take this quiz: is it perfume or hooch? | Spice & Ice, and more…

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