Women’s Month 2019 was exciting for me: Captain Marvel was finally released to the public, showing us (#spoileralert, but c’mon y’all have got to have seen it by now) a strong heroine whose clap back on Jude Law’s character towards the end of the movie was the ultimate response to every guy that has mansplained to every woman on earth. It also came with a soundtrack that resonated to my inner grungy 90s kid, which is why I chose this title for today’s article (Smashing Pumpkins’ Adore is playing in the background as I write).
Speaking of mansplaining – which Google’s dictionary defines as “the explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronising” – I was over the moon to be part of this year’s Women & Tipple: Women in the Local Drink World list, compiled by our friends from DrinkManila.com.
A bit of a background: As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, DrinkManila came up with the series of events highlighting women who love a good drink (BTW, their co-founder Tatum Ancheta’s fantastically researched history of women’s presence in bars is amazing) faced a little controversy from a man questioning Filipinas’ ability to determine a good tipple, to which I told myself…
…Wait, hold my glass of Veuve Cliquot*.
(…but he was such a non-entity, so I decided to apply one of my favourite philosophies to the situation: Ignore the ignorant)
Fast-forward to a year later, I was asked to share my views on matters about being a woman in my industry. While I’m #blessed not to face too many issues with mansplainers internationally (but have been on the receiving end of racist remarks a few times), I’ve had more problems with women here. Sure, I’ve had a guy slap me in the back and tell me to treat a pregnant woman differently (but hey, industry legend Jancis Robinson took a wine exam while pregnant and has been setting the wine world on fire for years, right?), been told by a guy that I should stop working with alcohol to get pregnant and that he could teach me how (I’ve never forgiven him, BTW), and been told that a cask strength whisky was a “man’s drink” (this guy was apologetic, so I forgave him).
“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” – Madeleine Albright
What has always bothered me (which I mentioned in the DrinkManila interview) is how women treat fellow women in the industry. Some women have told me that I should get pregnant already because the clock is ticking (to whom I say, hey, my uterus, my problem). I’ve been thrown so much shade and have been treated as competition even when, as far as I was concerned, I wasn’t even competing (in most wine producing regions I’ve been to, there is so much room for all aspects of wine, so it’s really sad and backwards that some people think that monopolising wine in Manila is the way to go).
The irony of it all was that some women (women!) thought that I should treat DrinkManila (and other female beverage writers) as competition. As I’ve said, there is so much room in the world for every voice (from women and men alike) in alcohol to be heard. My voice is different (not better or worse, but different). I think that we already have a hard time, as women, being taken seriously by men in the industry, and the least we can do is support our fellow women.
Personally, I love what DrinkManila does, with their genuine spirit of inclusivity, pinoy pride, and their talent (co-founder Icy Mariñas is one hell of a creative force behind the bar).
Speaking of Icy, man, did she show her skills off in the second leg of the Women and Tipple series 2019 (I was sad I wasn’t able to try the lambic beers in the first leg, which I missed… Boo). The event was a collaboration between DrinkManila, Discovery Primea, Benefit Cosmetics, and some of my favourite people: Booze Online, represented that night by my long-time drinking buddy, Chester Cabrera.
The evening was so much fun: I arrived early (yes, Tatum, too early, haha :p) to get my brows done by Benefit’s National Brow Artist Celina Fernandez (I know for a fact that my brows are so challenging that it took her amazing skills to make any sense of them).
We were then treated to the three gins (and the matching cocktails Icy made specialised cocktails for) featured during the evening.
First in line was Empress Gin. Empress Gin’s claim to fame is the fact that it’s naturally blue (from the blue pea flowers that were used to create the gin) and changes color depending on the pH level of what’s used to mix with it (oh, the possibilities…!). Having that in mind, Icy created a cocktail called Purple Unicorn, which involved the use of rose tea and blue pea ice cubes, a fresh lemon wheel, tonic water, tarragon, grapefruit peel, and a cotton candy (totally made me relive my girly-girl, Lisa Frank loving days). It totally messed with my head, with the gin turning purple after including most of the ingredients, then turning into a bright shade of cobalt after adding the cotton candy.
Next was Langley’s Old Tom Gin. A personal favourite (partly because of nostalgia, but mostly because of the quality and how different it is from most gins in the market), I was pleased that Icy decided to name the cocktail made with it after something quintessentially English: Lady Macbeth. The Shakespearean character drove her husband to commit regicide so she could become the queen of Scotland, ending up with her suffering from the guilt and committing suicide.
The cocktail Icy made was just as complex (but definitely less guilty) than the character it was named after, with key ingredients being lemongrass (for fragrance), ginger (for a spicy kick), lemon juice, agave syrup, cardamom bitters, aquafaba (made using chickpeas’ rinse), orange peel, and orange bitters.
The last gin for the evening was Hanami Gin, named so because of its infusion with “the true essence of distinctive cherry blossom and herbs” (“Hanami” is a Japanese festival celebrating the annual falling of cherry blossoms). The gin on its own was delicately floral, citrus, and has hints of baking spice…
…Then bam, Icy decided to make a fiery cocktail called Furiosa, named after the equally spicy character in Mad Max: Fury Road (played by the incomparable Charlize Theron). My personal pièce de resistance for the evening, it was a very refreshing sweet/sour/spicy drink made with strawberry purée, mango syrup, lemon juice, kimchi powder, a lemon peel, and garnished with a kimchi chip**. It made for a deliciously refreshing drink that I nursed for most of the evening (nah, ok, I downed one).
At this point in the article, I realised… Man, Women’s Month 2019 really rocked. In the spirit of the title, however, treating women in the industry (or any industry, for the matter) fairly and equally shouldn’t end once the month is over. I think the month should be considered the beginning of a new perspective on ladies and libations. 😉 Cheers!
*A lot of Champagne houses have so much female influence in them. Take for instance Veuve Cliquot. Veuve means a widow, so label roughly translates to “Widow Cliquot.” Madame Barbe Cliquot Ponsardin was left with the champagne business when her husband died. She was 27 at the time, and became one of the first modern businesswomen.
**Can someone tell me where to buy this? #nomnoms