In recent years, there have been significant changes in the way we view history. Now, more than ever, the women who played a defining role in culture, business, education, and activism are being increasingly celebrated as previously ignored accomplishments become unearthed. With the Toast to Herstory cocktail competition, Marie Brizard and Tales of the Cocktail gave American bartenders the opportunity to honor the women of the past or present who they believe to be the most iconic in herstory. The rules of the contest were simple: create a cocktail using a Marie Brizard liqueur that pays tribute to an iconic woman, upload the recipe and a picture of the cocktail to Instagram, and tag the post with #ToastToHerstory. None of the entries disappointed; each submission revealed a personal connection between the bartender and the woman the cocktail chose to honor, with specific creative touches on each drink showcasing the tribute’s best qualities.
USBG NYC President Pamela Wiznitzer, legendary bar-maven, Ms. Franky Marshall and Tales of the Cocktail Founder, Ann Tuennerman served as judges for this contest. While each entry had significant merit, the judging for the competition revolved around the general quality of the recipe, its use of Marie Brizard products, and the explanation about how the cocktail pays tribute to its inspirational figure. As Ms. Franky said, “I really enjoyed reading all the thoughtful tributes to some fabulous women. Well done!” Out of the flood of impressive entries, five excelled in all of these categories, and earned their spots as the contest finalists.
Marie Brizard Senior Marketing Manager, Mark Dean, stated, “We were impressed at the quality of entrees from mixologists and bartenders from across the country for our bartender challenge – A Toast to Herstory. The creativity of the cocktails along with the detailed write up on how the cocktail links and pays homage to an iconic woman from the past or present was even more impressive! To all of the participants and the five finalists we say thank you for your participation. I think Marie Brizard herself would have been equally impressed with the quality of the competition and the knowledge and skills the participants demonstrated as true master mixologists! So in France we say “Felicitations Bien Joue’!”
The finalist bartenders and their winning cocktails are:
PARIS OF THE SOUTH
Alexandra Bowler, the French 75, New Orleans, LA
1 1/2 oz Cognac
1 oz Lillet Rose
1/2 oz Marie Brizard Apry
1/4 oz Marie Brizard Parfait Amour
Four dashes Peychauds Bitters
Edible flower garnish
Germaine Cazenave Wells defined restaurant business as theater. “It’s a play in two acts- lunch and dinner.”
Germaine was the daughter of Lady Irma and the self-appointed Count Cazenave who came to America from France and built the small Creole empire that encompasses nearly a whole city block on the cross roads of Bienville and Bourbon Street in New Orleans. She took control of the iconic Arnaud’s restaurant when her father past in 1948 until in was bought by the Casbarian family in 1978. .
However, Germaine was far less known for her entrepreneurial skills than her vivacious attitude and desire to be the center of attention. Her most notable accolades include spreading the fame of Arnaud’s around the world including a list of the world’s five greatest restaurants in a Paris newspaper as well as Arnaud’s inclusion of the two thousandth birthday celebration of Paris held in New York. For Germaine the inclusion of Arnaud’s was natural “after all,” she said “New Orleans is the Paris of the South.” She was named one of the country’s top hosts by the National Restaurant Association. .
She instituted an Easter parade of horse-drawn carriages to show off her latest hats with her friends- a parade continues to this day. .
Lastly, she was the queen of 22 Mardi Gras Balls, an achievement that will likely never be challenged. She adored New Orleans in all of it’s vibrancy and tradition.
Germain Wells embodies all that is New Orleans and I would implore you to visit the Germaine Wells Mardi Gras Museum in @arnaudsnola during your trip to @neworleanscvb for@tales_of_the_cocktail this summer. .
This cocktail is meant to commemorate the ultimate Queen of Mardi Gras.
THE CRAZY DAME
Jordan Ricasa, Mace, NYC, NY & Forest Hills Station House, Forest Hills, NY
My cocktail draws inspiration from journalist and activist Jane Jacobs. Once referred to as a crazy dame for her rabble rousing, she was well known for protecting vibrant communities like the West Village from so called “slum clearance” and was most notable for being instrumental in the cancellation of urban planner Robert Moses’ proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway, a road that would have destroyed iconic neighborhoods such as SoHo and Little Italy.
Without these neighborhoods, casual exchanges of ideas and inspiration would not have been possible. Given that Manhattan is one of, if not THE hub of the resurgence of craft cocktail culture, our industry wouldn’t exist if not for the courage displayed by Jane and her recognition of the importance of diverse and vibrant urban communities.
The Crazy Dame’s components are inspired by Manhattan’s more endearing name, The Big Apple.
In a mixing glass, muddle 33 grams of granny smith apple slices.
Add a conservative barspoon of horseradish.
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz Marie Brizard Cassis de Dijon
1.5oz Hendrix Gin
Shake/double strain into a chilled Nick and Nora glass
Garnish with 2 thin apple slices and rosemary sprig
1 spray Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters
LOVE & LUST
Christina Mercado, Vanderbilt Grace, Newport, RI
This #ToastToHerstory goes to the one and only Rita Moreno (née Rosa Dolores Alverio) – Puerto Rican actress, singer, dancer – and Beautifully Strong Woman.
I was first introduced to this leading lady in her role of Anita in West Side Story. I saw her character as a fierce and independent Hispanic woman, and that spoke to me. I watched West Side Story (… a lot) growing up, and I even ended up performing a piece from the musical for our drama department while in high school, although I played Maria.
Over the 70+years she has been active, Rita has garnered multiple awards that include achieving the status of EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony winner) -making her the first Latina to both receive that status and an Academy Award – and she still remains humble. “It’s never, for me, been about the importance of my name as much as about the joy I can derive from doing things that make me happy (…) And I see this Honor as the reward, for all of that hard work (…) A singular and formidable reminder in this third act of my life, that falling down and getting up is very much a part of the American Dream.” -RM. WP2014 on Kennedy Center Honors
Aside from accolade, she has shown incredible resilience in both life and industry. In a time when Latina actresses were not heard of, she persevered and made a name for herself – fighting the stereotypes. And this is something I can relate to – I work everyday, as a Latina, as one of Puerto Rican descent, to not play to stereotypes- to be seen as the individual and not the label – recognized for my work and person.
“You always have to be able to get up, dust yourself off, and keep moving.” And at 85 years of age – she shows no sign of stopping or slowing down. “Retirement isn’t in my DNA” And like her I plan to always keep looking towards the next goal, no matter age or achievements – I plan to keep pushing, and keep moving.
1 oz Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Cristal Rum)
1 oz guava purée
3/4 oz Marie Brizard Orange Curacao
3/4 oz Marie Brizard Anisette
1/2 oz Coconut Purée
Shake all ingredients together. Strain into chilled coupe. Garnish with citrus scented hand painted wafer rose and citrus leaves.
This cocktail was designed to reflect the flavors you find in Puerto Rico – that take me back to La Isla del Encanto – bright, fresh and sweet with ripe guavas, coconut, and the scent of citrus… the anisette represents the strength and fire in Rita Moreno… and the garnish – the passion and love that Rita has for life – which also ties into the name. “Love & Lust” comes from Rita Moreno’s references to her relationships with Marlon Brando and her late husband Leonard Gordon – two important pieces of her life – and two words which I also feel summarize her feelings for life itself.
I AM THE LIZARD QUEEN
Adrienne Feinberg, Boheme, Houston, TX
Lisa Simpson is by far one of the most iconic figures in history. She has been referred to as “the most enlightened individual in a room full of adults”. Strong, intelligent, witty, brave and thoughtful are all attributes that we need in our lives; “a noble spirit that embiggens the smallest man”. Lisa taught us that we could participate in a beauty pageant and take down large corporation, while still always being full of meaningful life advice such as, “when I get married I’m keeping my own last name” [Lisa v. Malibu Stacy]. The ruby port highlights Lisa’s red dress; “it seems like I’ve been wearing this same red dress forever [Marge in Chains]. The egg foam represents her pearl necklace; “ and pearls on a little girl…it’s a fairy tale!” [featuring the voice of John Waters in Homer’s Phobia]. And the orange slices depict Lisa’s hair.
1.5 ounce Rittenhouse Rye
.75 ounce Marie Brizard Apry
.25 ounce lemon juice
1 egg white
1 ounce Kopke Ruby Port
Dry shake all ingredients except port. Add ice and SHAKE.
Strain open hawthorne into chilled coupe.
Slowly pour the port over the back of a bar spoon.
Garnish with fanned orange slices.
ECHO IN THE DESERT
Trip Sandifer, Painted Pin, Atlanta, GA
2 oz Marie Brizard Apry
1 oz Unsweetened Almond Milk
½ tsp Matcha Powder
¾ oz Lemon
Dash Cardamom Bitters
Shake. Double strain to cocktail glass.
Garnish with cardamom and lemon rose.
This cocktail is a tribute to Sanmao, the Taiwanese writer also known as Echo who inspired a generation of post-Mao Chinese women with her travel writings. In 1976 she published “Stories of the Sahara,” a memoir of her time spent in the last days of the Spanish Colonial Sahara with her husband Jose, chronicling her days and the congruence and conflict of East, West, and indigenous North-African culture. This cocktail is a blend of ingredients reflecting those cultural contributions: Spanish almonds highlighting the nutty notes of the Apry; green tea from Asia emphasizing the stone fruit; and cardamom, ubiquitous from North Africa to India, providing resinous minty notes to unify the fruit and spice of the liqueur. #toasttoherstory #mariebrizard #talesofthecocktail
For the final round of the competition, the finalists will compete at Tales of the Cocktail this July at Marie Brizard’s Toast to Herstory Tasting Room. Here, the public will have the opportunity to sample each cocktail, and make their opinion heard by voting on the cocktail they deem to be the best out of the five; whoever receives the most votes will be the official contest winner.
“These five cocktails truly honor the legacy of Marie Brizard, a pioneer for women in our business,” said Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail. “I can’t wait to try these cocktails at the Marie Brizard tasting room at this year’s Tales.”
So if you’re coming to Tales this summer, be sure to stop by the tasting room and place your vote on your favorite herstorical cocktail!