A Toast to International Women's Day

suffragettes 2
suffragettes 2

International Women’s Day is not just one of those recent PR-contrived events used to market a product, like National Oreo Day (no offense to Oreos.) This is a real day with purpose and meaning, originally proposed in 1910 by German women’s rights activist Clara Zetkin, who envisioned a set day of the year simultaneously observed around the world to focus on women’s issues and accomplishments. After a conference of over 100 women from 17 countries who represented unions, socialist parties and working women's societies (including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament), Zetkin's suggestion was given unanimous approval.

IWD was originally observed March 19th, 1911 in several European countries including Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Later that same month, the tragic workplace fire in New York City that killed more than 140 women at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory brought attention to the plight of immigrant women workers and US labor legislation, bringing more focus to International Women’s Day movements in the US. In the years since then, hundreds of countries have joined the movement and the date of March 8th became official in 1975 as an occasion to connect women, inspire and rejoice in women’s achievement.

Around the Corner, courtesy Compass Box
Around the Corner, courtesy Compass Box

Of course, IWD is an excellent opportunity to raise a glass to the great women in your life for all that they do! In the liquor industry, two of the biggest advocates for IWD in recent years have been Compass Box Whisky and LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), who have collaborated on several events to raise awareness and benefit women’s causes. Follow Compass Box on Twitter @CompassBox and their Facebook page for their tributes to IWD. LUPEC has several chapters around the country, including Boston, Seattle, Washington, DC and Denver. Check for their individual Facebook pages to stay informed on IWD activities around the country!

This year, LUPEC and LOAD (Ladies of American Distilling) have teamed up with several New York City establishments to create a unique cocktail experience for IWD. On Saturday, March 8th from 2-5 there will be a special spirits tasting at Union Square Wines featuring LOAD brands New York Distilling Co., Tuthilltown Spirits, Hillrock Estate Distillery, King's County Distillery, Laird & Company, The Noble Experiment NYC,Atsby New York Vermouth and Uncouth Vermouth. While the tasting is free, they will be selling an $85 cocktail passport, with all proceeds to benefit Bottomless Closet. The passport is good for LOAD specialty cocktails served at Clover Club, Dram, Mayahuel, Death and Company, American Whiskey, Distilled NY,Raines Law Room, The Counting Room, Middle Branch and Grace. Also, if you can't make it to Union Square Wines on Saturday, but are still interested in the cocktail passport (Hey, 10 drinks, top cocktail bars in NYC = $85? A STEAL), please click here.

Of course the women of the world deserve acknowledgement for making the world a better place every single day of the year. However, no matter how much the world advances, women everywhere still face many obstacles, and it is important to have a designated day to remember them and take action to raise awareness for their causes. Thanks to the legacy of Clara Zetkin, we have that.

Lynnette Marrero's South of the Brooklyn Border by Charles Steadman
Lynnette Marrero's South of the Brooklyn Border by Charles Steadman

Here are three cocktails to celebrate International Women’s Day. Ladies everywhere, we salute you!

South of the Brooklyn Border  

One of the cocktails from the LOAD passport mentioned above, by Lynnette Marrero, LUPEC NYC chapter and Speed Rack co-founder.

Shake all ingredients with 2 ice cubes. Strain over crushed ice. Garnish with mint.

Vineyard Stroll

Meaghan Dorman's IWD cocktail by Charles Steadman
Meaghan Dorman's IWD cocktail by Charles Steadman

A classic IWD cocktail by Meaghan Dorman of Raines Law Room and LUPEC NYC.

Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into chilled coupe glass. Serve with a lemon twist.

Around the Corner

This drink, by Pamela Wiznitzer, can also be ordered at the Dead Rabbit, New York City.

  • 52 ml (1.75 oz) Compass Box Great King Street Whisky
  • 15 ml (.5 oz) Lillet Blanc
  • 15 ml (.5 oz) Benedictine
  • 15 ml (.5 oz) Yellow Chartreuse
  • 2 dashes Lemon bitters

Stir all ingredients with ice until well chilled. Strain into chilled Delmonico glass and garnish with a lemon twist.