Ten years in the making, the new book “Drinking Like Ladies” is not only chock-full of bewitching drink recipes, it’s a history lesson. Seventy-five two-page sections are devoted to trailblazing heroines — from the first female private detective, Kate Warne, to scientist Marie Tharp, who mapped the Atlantic Ocean floor. And, noted female bartenders from around the world created “toasts,” as the recipes are called, to unsung female pioneers. Both the historical figures and the cocktail makers in the book are extraordinary women, with tenacity, integrity and cleverness.
Authors and bartenders Misty Kalkofen and Kirsten Amann included Atlanta’s Kellie Thorn in the pretty tome (dismantling the patriarchy doesn’t have to be ugly). Thorn oversees the beverage programs for all of Hugh Acheson’s restaurants (Empire State South, Five & Ten, the National). Her cocktail, the Chrysalis, is a tribute to social worker/activist Pushpa Basnet, who runs a home for Nepalese children of prisoners. It’s called the Butterfly Home.
Thorn’s cocktail (Page 85) incorporates spices and herbs she frequently uses in her home cooking. She shakes cardamom, tulsi (holy basil), honey and cucumber with rum for the refresher. It’s comforting, much like how she envisions Butterfly Home, where children who otherwise would be prisoners themselves, are safe, nourished, and allowed to grow and bloom.
We asked a few highly revered bartenders to whom they would toast. Here are their champions:
Bar manager Adrian Fessenden-Kroll resonates with a quiet intensity behind the bar at Watchman’s, as she expertly swizzles and stirs classic cocktails and modern creations that match with chef Daniel Chance’s sustainable seafood. She not only helped open the Krog Street Market restaurant, but also the much lauded Kimball House. She would clink glasses to Katharine Hepburn, the dauntless actress who holds the record for most Academy Awards (four) for acting.
“She was reserved, yet outspoken and independent. She worked with grace and integrity, never letting Hollywood or the media tell her what she should be. She was sophisticated, with a little bit of crass,” Fessenden-Kroll said.
“I was thinking about classic Hollywood, and wanted to tie in some classic ingredients (gin, sparkling wine) with some unexpected ingredients (pine honey, Chartreuse) to create something that is sophisticated, but a little daring,” Fessenden-Kroll said. “Katharine was also supposedly a scotch drinker, so I think the pine brings some of that earthiness to the table.”
Here is Pantsuit No.2:
1 ounce Hattrick Gin
.5 ounce Yellow Chartreuse
1 teaspoon pine-infused honey
4 dashes Angostura Orange bitters
Stir; serve in flute; top with cava; lemon twist garnish.
Over at newly revamped Hotel Clermont, Jordan Moore, creative director of beverages, paid homage to Blondie, the longtime star of the hotel’s subterranean institution, the Clermont Lounge. “Blondie is an inspiration for a lot of reasons, but one of the things I most admire about her is her confidence and love of herself. More women need to think highly of and speak to and feel about themselves kindly. Blondie knows that she is special, talented and wonderful, and she rocks it,” Moore said.
He said the drink is “based on the classic Kamikaze, the cocktail Blondie orders when she visits the hotel’s bar or restaurant, Tiny Lou’s. I just classed it up a little bit.” (Much like the recent renovations classed up the former bedraggled hotel.)
“We make the lime cordial in-house, and the turmeric-infused dry vermouth gives it more of a golden, or blonde, tint that makes the cocktail more interesting and unique, like Blondie.”
It’s not too sweet, not too acidic, and it’s zesty, just like one of Atlanta’s favorite characters.
Equal parts vodka, dry curaçao, turmeric-infused dry vermouth, Clermont lime cordial.
For the lime cordial: let peel and equal parts lime juice and sugar sit overnight, and strain.
Shake with ice and strain into a Nick and Nora glass.
When speaking on cocktail culture, Tiffanie Barriere is known as the Drinking Coach. She mixed drinks for people from around the world while running the bar at One Flew South in Concourse E of Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport. Her toast is to Toni Tipton-Martin, an award-winning food journalist and community activist who was the first African-American editor of a major metropolitan daily newspaper (the Cleveland Plain Dealer).
“She is one of the reasons I research so hard. She was the first woman I heard speak about African-American history, and it wasn’t so heavy. It was so special, as she highlighted all the great food and beverages that came out of such a trying time,” Barriere said.
Her drink is a basil strawberry lemonade with bourbon. She chose these ingredients “because (Tipton-Martin) is all of these to me as she presents and peels through these topics — savored and monumental, like strawberry; bright and sassy, like lemon; with historic sweetness of cane syrup; strong and bold, like basil; and bourbon, because that’s how she rolls!”
Hugs & High Five:
2 ounces bourbon
.5 ounce Poirier’s Pure Cane Syrup
.5 ounce fresh squeeze of a lemon
3-4 basil leaves
Muddle strawberries and basil in the bottom of a mixer glass. Add syrup, bourbon and ice, and shake cold. Double strain (to get basil and strawberry bits out) over ice. Garnish with fresh basil and strawberry. Sit on a porch and be proud of yourself.
“Drinking Like Ladies: 75 Modern Cocktails From the World’s leading Female Bartenders” by Kirsten Amann and Misty Kalkofen (Quarto, $24.99).