Ladies Who Lunch with the Ladies of LUPEC

BartenderOne Boys New Orleans

As I sit here in the prestigious Lowes Hotel in New Orleans waiting for the Ladies of LUPEC lunch, I patiently wait to see if I am one of the only males in this seminar. I wouldn’t mind because I am surrounded by some of the most beautiful and inspirational ladies ever! As I sip the New Orleans classic, the Sazerac, I find myself wondering if this seminar will change the views I have regarding women behind the bar. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a girl that can make a great cocktail but, in my home town of Toronto, Canada, we are used to the stereotypical gorgeous girl who is well-endowed but can only come up with a rum and Coke when asked for a cocktail.

One of the major shifts in this trend is Audrey Sanders who owns Pegu Club in NYC. Audrey is an amazing mixologist who started her career in 1996 and has just won the Best Bar Mentor at Tales of the Cocktail. I would love if I walked up to a bar and a lovely lady made me a Ramos Gin Fizz, but since I have started my career in bar tending I haven’t met more than 3.

Ladies of Lupec Lunch

LUPEC stands for Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. As the lunch started I learned a lot about the history of LUPEC and how it was created in Pittsburgh in 2001 with a mission in mind – “to breed, raise, and release cocktails that are endangered or even believed to be extinct.” As I listen to the MC speak, I realize that all 67 ladies at this lunch are filled with the same amount of passion for cocktails if not more than the BartenderOne team.

Although this was not a structured seminar like the rest there were a couple of key speakers which included Hollis Bulleit, the aire to Bulleit Bourbon and the two major chapters of LUPEC, Boston and New York. Over the lunch I spoke with all eight ladies at the table and one in particular grabbed my attention, Tiffany Soles. I learned that she grew up in Forth Worth, Texas and even at the young age of 21 she knew the old Cuba Libre wasn’t for her. She was fascinated by cocktails, one in particular, the Negroni. This is a cocktail with equal parts of Sweet Vermouth, Campari, and Gin and then garnished with a slice of orange or flamed orange zest. She took her love of cocktails and moved to New Orleans where she currently works serving some of the best cocktails in the city.

As the lunch ended with a closing cocktail made with Bulleit Bourbon and chai tea I acknowledged that the ladies of LUPEC have an overwhelming passion for cocktails which I’d never really witnessed before. Over the four days of Tales of the Cocktail I attended four major seminars but I can truly say that the Ladies who Lunch with the Ladies of LUPEC was by far the most inspirational. As I sit here, in my office in Toronto, back in the working mill I look forward to receiving my copy of “The Little Black Book of Cocktails” that was published by the LUPEC ladies of Boston and filled with monikers that will hopefully help me to ignite my passion for cocktails even more. If that is even possible.

Heading back to Toronto... Not happy.

Stay Thirsty,

Andrew Campoli

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