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Boston Food & Drink Website|Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Boston Cocktail Summit: Women Behind the Bar 

Women Behind Bars
Day Two of the Boston Cocktail Summit kicked off with the lovely ladies of LUPEC Boston (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails) in Women Behind the Bar.  Kirsten Amann, Misty Kalkofen , Lynnette Morrero and Meghan Dorman gave a rousing chronological account of women’s roles as America’s cocktail scene went from tavern, through disorderly house, to saloon and finally to the bars we know and love today.
There is no way I can re-create the passion with which these women presented these facts of history, so below are only my personal highlights.
  • Female brewers date all the way back to the late Medieval period, where is was common to see Puritan women brewing ale in the home.
  • In the late 1600′s, women were not allowed to hold a liquor license, unless they were widowed (what kind of loop hole is that?!). In 1690, widowed women held over half of the liquor licenses.
  • Moving into the early 1700′s, only 1/3 of these widows remarried (maybe implying that the other 2/3 enjoyed their single-hood and time behind the bar!).
  • ‘Republican Mothers’ played a major role in starting the women’s temperance movement.  Charged with creating an ideal home, free of alcohol and a place to raise respectable children to become good citizens, these women started lobbying against alcohol.
  • Lemonade Lucy, First Lady to President Hayes, banned alcohol in the White House, and it is argued that this led to his failure to be re-elected.
  • During Prohibition, Lydia Pinkham of Lynn, MA developed a medicinal herb meant to bring about a rosiness to the cheeks.  It was 36 proof.
  • The Hanky Panky recipe was developed by Ada Coleman.
  • And finally my favorite fact: Harry Craddock, author of the esteemed Savoy Cocktail Book, was apprenticed by a woman! (And it happened to be Ada Coleman.)
Tip of the cap to LUPEC, researching, preserving and educating all of us on women’s oppression and their final rise behind the bar.  Cheers, ladies!

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