Women & Whiskey: Becoming a Whiskey Woman

Move over men, women want your whiskey. Although whiskey is notorious for being a masculine drink deeply connected to artists and poets, modern women are enjoying the earthy flavors of this classy, amber-colored liquor.


If you’re an aspiring whiskey woman, you need to pay a visit to Ari Kolas, part owner and whiskey aficionado at Apollo Liquor. “Whiskey was invented in Ireland and comes from a Gaelic word meaning ‘water of life,’” Kolas says. Kolas travels to distilleries in Ireland to learn the history and background of a variety of whiskeys. He’s always eager to share his findings with customers.

Typically at a whiskey tasting, Kolas discusses the difference between bourbons and whiskeys. He teaches whiskey lovers how to make different cocktails with whiskey, like a mint julep or an old fashioned. Many of his tastings are in-home for Bunco groups, book clubs and other private parties.


Kolas says that women love flavored whiskeys too. “Jack Daniels has a nice honey whiskey, as does Evan Williams,” he says. “One of the  most popular infused whiskeys is Red Stag by Jim Beam. It has hints of black cherry.” Kolas says Red Stag can be enjoyed neat or mixed with Coke or 7UP. “If you like a Manhattan, since cherry is already a part of the recipe, the Red Stag gives a Manhattan a little oomph.”


If you’re a whiskey virgin and you’re looking for a fool-proof recipe, whiskey lover Francoise Davis and her husband created the perfect drink.

Davis says, “We started with a generic recipe out of a Vitamix blender book, and then experimented with different ingredients to suit our tastes.” She says all you need is a 64-ounce jar and a good quality blender with blades that can puree ice and fruit to a fine consistency.

Add the following items in this order:

  • 1 large grapefruit, peeled and seeds removed
  • 1 large orange, peeled and seeds removed
  • 1 ripe lime, peeled and seeds removed
  • 8 oz. grapefruit juice (not from concentrate)
  • 12 oz. of your favorite whiskey (Crown Royal, Jameson, etc.)
  • 2 oz. of Agave syrup (you can use additional to taste)

Fill remaining space in the blender with ice. Blend 2 to 4 minutes until you achieve a smooth, fine consistency. If it isn’t blended thoroughly it can affect the taste.

Davis says, “If done correctly, it tastes like sunshine and an ocean breeze in a glass. It has a natural calming effect that will have you reminiscing about past vacations, and those yet to come.”


For the more experienced whiskey woman, add Irish Fest to your calendar. It will be held over Labor Day weekend this year at the Kahler Grand Hotel. The event begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 4. Dan VanHook, an organizer of the event, says, “This is a very classy event that is fun and educational.”

VanHook says, “In the past Ari Kolas has hosted the whiskey tasting, and we hope he considers helping us again. This year the tasting is held in the Elizabethan room at the Kahler. The cost is $50 per person. Many of the whiskeys offered are in the $200 per bottle range.” To cleanse the palette, they offer Irish cheese and crackers. If you want the royal treatment, there is another tasting available for $125. This tasting is held in the Lord Essex room, where whiskey connoisseurs can sip casually while learning about each brand of whiskey. This option also includes an overnight stay at the Kahler and a traditional Irish breakfast including eggs and rasher, which is Irish bacon and black pudding.

If you aren’t ready to indulge in the upper echelon of whiskey at Irish Fest, The Half Barrel, a Rochester-based restaurant offers whiskey flights ranging from $12-100. You can also sip mixed drinks and devour tasty entrees infused with whiskey. 

Nicole Czarnomski is a freelance writer.