Whisky for Women

Ladies Night at the Ritz with Johnnie Walker


By Brett Graff

It’s not that I don’t think women have come a long way. We make up 58 percent of the nation’s college students, hold 51 percent of the economy’s professional jobs and direct 99 percent of our households’ philanthropic dollars — all while managing to remain the world’s only gender with the ability to gestate and birth human life.

But before we start clinking glasses, let’s remember we still earn less than men for doing the same job –23 percent less to be exact. Contributing to the problem, I figure, is this: you can’t hammer out a corporate merger or instill shareholder confidence if the drink in your hand is pink, fizzy or romantic. Serious business people sip scotch. And my extensive personal research proves many women don’t.


Marcy Rudershausen, Carolina Zalles

We all select our roles in furthering feminism and mine is to establish an event at which women would be introduced to whisky on their own, discerning terms. So I brought together the most perfect of players - Johnnie Walker’s senior master of whisky Marcy Rudershausen, society chronicling powerhouse SocialMiami.com, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscyane, and 35 of the most sophisticated women on the glamorous island I call home, including Ronda Fuchs, Jazmin de la Lama, Claudia Potamkin, Paige Latterner and Coralie Duchamp.

Now back to Johnnie Walker’s Rudershausen. She is, please realize, not only an expert in her field but also the only woman in the United States to hold her title, which carries with it an exceptional level of training and knowledge. She’s also one of five American females – the first who also happens to be Hispanic – to be inducted into the Masters of the Quaich, a society formed by Scotland’s whisky distillers. Rudershausen, as you’ve by now reasoned, is way cool.

She was our whisky guide at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, where the chef prepared smoked salmon on spoons and bites of creamy risotto. To sip, there were Johnnie Walker cocktails, such as a Raspberry Walker and a Walker Mule, made with ginger beer. Rudershausen then walked us through the

Leni Weber

brand’s marks – Black Label, Green Label, Gold Label served chilled, and finally the legend come to life in small, crystal snifters that is Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

I’m not going to share with you Rudershausen’s teachings. In part because I might like to invite you to the next Whisky for Women event. But also because I simply cannot do the material justice. I can only tell you that each of the women — all of whom are accustomed to delicious food and fine spirits — left that evening with the experience in whisky’s complex flavors and the intelligence to order and discuss them. Basically, they walked out empowered.

Photography by Paola Padovan