Whisk(e)y history

Spirited Women Who’ve Run the World of Spirits

Spirited Women Who’ve Run the World of Spirits

With International Women’s Day, we wanted to take a few moments to recognize some of the women who have helped shape the spirits landscape over the last century, ranging from Prohibition to modern-day.

Ninety-nine years ago, a bespectacled Ohio attorney who’d once been pitchforked by a drunk farmhand and a glacial Minnesotan with a mountain for a mustache guided the U.S. into one of its darkest ages. President Herbert Hoover called this era “a great social...experiment”. That was, of course, before the era abruptly ended thirteen years later. As you might have guessed, this Great Social Experiment was Prohibition. Or “Prohibition”, as anyone with a thirst for the bottle might have called it with a wink and a nod during the era. For speakeasies and locker clubs abounded in cities all across the country, catering to parched politicians and performance artists alike.

Foiled sieges and fake cats: the history of the modern bar

Foiled sieges and fake cats: the history of the modern bar

In 1920, a young Atlanta alderman by the name of William Hartsfield began reading speculative literature on the future of what many believed would become a way to transport mail faster. A few visionaries spotted the much more wide-reaching implications of this newfangled technology, the airplane. Hartsfield was one of them, and soon learned of the United States Postal Service’s plan to locate a refueling hub between its New York City and Miami airports for mail planes. 

Bourbon vs. Whiskey: What's the difference?

Bourbon vs. Whiskey: What's the difference?

When you were in kindergarten, you likely weren’t a regular bourbon drinker. In fact, you probably didn’t yet know much about bourbon. This makes sense, as teachers are busy teaching you the basics of counting and cooperation, leaving little time to instruct you in the finer spirits of life. As you matured through the years like a fine bourbon in new charred American oak barrels, you likely developed a taste for Scotch, or bourbon, or rye whiskey. (We base this assumption on the fact that you’re here, and all we write about is whiskey.) 

Cognac was the Scotch of the 1800s. What happened?

Cognac was the Scotch of the 1800s. What happened?

At sunrise in December 1861, with soldiers staving off pneumonia, Union General Robert H. Milroy led his troops across a snow-covered rocky meadow against an entrenched Confederate force. Even as the sun slowly flared to life amidst the iron clouds, the wind at the crest of Allegeny Mountain in Virginia’s western barrens kept up its relentless howling. Against the piercing gale, Union troops advanced throughout the morning. But as the clock tipped past noon, Confederate troops unleashed a barrage of artillery fire that drove the Union soldiers into retreat on Cheat Mountain. The war would continue — largely in stalemate — for almost four more years.

"It's not spelled with an e." A brief history of the whisky vs. whiskey debate

"It's not spelled with an e." A brief history of the whisky vs. whiskey debate

One rather balmy December day nearly eight years ago, celebrated New York Times author Eric Asimov published an in-depth piece comparing a number of 12 year old Speyside Scotches. Within hours, single malt enthusiasts the world over had left him angry messages. 

Was it because he’d rated The Glenlivet above Macallan? Or had he perhaps done the unthinkable and added ice to the tasting? 

Neither, it turns out.