The Whiskey Women of Charlotte Drink Up

The Whiskey Women of Charlotte are at large on the cocktail scene. Since launching in February, their Facebook group is about 140 members strong and they are recruiting. (Really, all you have to do is click the “Join” button on their private page and you’re good to go. If you’re a woman.)

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Their meetups are not a scene out of Girls Gone Wild, spring-break style.

The Charlotte co-founders — Kimberly Pace, Amanda Fisher and Savannah Greer — got the idea to sidestep the mainstream party scenes and networking scenes from Tennessee-based Whiskey Women. Their mission: “As women, to come together to connect, share and discover all things whiskey.”

In Charlotte, the co-founders have made it as simple as joining the Facebook group and jumping into monthly meetups at various cocktail hotspots around town: from Heist Brewery, to Block & Grinder, to Pint Central, to Bar Louie and, today, to Customshop.

“It was important for us to be able to move around,” Pace said. “We wanted to be able to experience all levels of cocktails.” Not to mention new places.

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They also opted out of work connections and into whiskey-infused creativity. As Pace put it, they wanted to see “women gathering together around a central interest.”

Whiskey, assumed to be a masculine drink, gave the women just the edge they wanted. “A lot of times it’s hard to make yourself known in a man’s world,” said Pace, who loves whiskey for its smoky, strong and savory splash.

The members continually share recipes involving whiskey. Like this recipe for whiskey-soaked orange cupcakes with Old Fashioned buttercream frosting and this recipe for an Old Fashioned with brandied cherries.

Pace and her fellow Whiskey Women co-founders represent the group’s diversity of backgrounds. Pace is an English professor at Gaston College, Fisher runs a map-publishing company called EDIA, Inc., and Greer is a service learning coordinator at Central Piedmont Community College.

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“It’s a unity of the strength and energy that is the feminine nature,” Pace said. “It’s important to have things that encourage women to become stronger together … and be able to experience each other’s stories.”

Tonight, at 7 p.m. at Customshop, members will strengthen their understanding of Old Fashioned varieties during this month’s Drink Up thanks to help from restaurant manager Chip Townsend. “It’s not just done one way,” Pace said. “It changes per generation and per demographic.”


The menu:

1860s: Old Overholt rye, Jerry Thomas bitters, dissolved comptal de sud sugar cube, lemon twist, splash water

1870s: Elijah Craig Bourbon, Fernet Branca rinse, kirsch, brandy cherries, fresh orange, creole bitters, orange & brandy cherry garnish, splash water

Post-Prohibition: Crown Royal, muddled pineapple, orange & fresh cherries, simple demererra, orange bitters, splash soda water, mint garnish

Modern: Bulleit Bourbon, fresh orange, aromatic bitters, stick cinnamon, rich ginger demerara, pickled cherry garnish, splash soda water

“We want to provide history, not just let it be a drinking club,” Pace said of member meetups. “We want to give them a good taste of everything.”

Photos courtesy of Whiskey Women of Charlotte.

Katie Toussaint
Katie Toussaint @katietoussaint