Jeanette Hurt is the award-winning writer and author of eight culinary and drink books, including The Cheeses of California: A Culinary Travel Guide, which received the 2010 Mark Twain Award for Best Travel Book, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine and Food Pairing. As full-time journalist, Jeanette has written about spirits, wine and food for TheKitchn.com, The Four Seasons Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Entrepreneur.com, Esquire.com, and dozens of other publications.
She is the 2008 recipient of the Midwest Travel Writers Mark Twain Award for Best Midwestern Travel Article. She is also a food and drinks correspondent for Milwaukee NPR affiliate WUWM’s Lake Effect program and has been featured on several radio and television programs, including Martha Stewart radio. She teaches wine and culinary classes, both privately and publicly, and has appeared at the Kohler Food & Wine Experience, Wisconsin Wine & Dine, and the John Michael Kohler Art Center. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
In a previous life, Jeanette was a police reporter for the City News Bureau in Chicago and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She graduated from Marquette University with a journalism degree. When she’s not writing, traveling, cooking or shaking up some concoction with gin, bourbon, or rum, she can usually be found walking along Milwaukee’s lakefront with her husband, their son, and their dog.
Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass. Thanks for joining me for the second part of It’s All About Food. And moving on, we’re going to be talking about something that goes very well with food. And that’s drinks…especially cocktails. And some of the stories behind these drinks. I want to welcome my next guest Jeanette Hurt. She has a new book out called Drink Like a Woman. Jeannette is the award-winning writer and author of eight culinary and drink books…and she’s a full-time journalist and has written about spirits, wine and food for the kitchen.com, Four Seasons magazine, Wine Enthusiast, entrepreneur.com, esquire.com and dozens of other publications. She’s a recipient of the 2008 Midwest Travel Writers Mark Twain award for best Midwestern Travel Article and so much more. You can read about her bio on my website www.responsibleeatingandliving.com.
Jeanette, welcome to It’s All About Food. Thanks for joining me.
Jeanette Hurt: Hi, thanks for having me.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, when I first saw this boOkay, I thought this is really…this is fun stuff. And then I read it and it’s more than fun. And I want to tell you why.
Jeanette Hurt: I’m so glad you got that part.
Caryn Hartglass: Excuse me?
Jeanette Hurt: I’m so glad you got that part of the book because it’s fun but there’s a whole lot more going on.
Caryn Hartglass: So I don’t know what your politics are. My listeners know what my politics are and the whole election scene has been very disturbing to me and I’ve been looking for inspirational around to continue my work to make the world a better place and to encourage liberty and justice for all. And there are so…you’re including so many stories about great women in this book. There are just brief, but they’re enough to remember how women were so discriminated against. The images that many men had about women over the last few hundred years and of course longer than that. About what we could not do. And it’s so easy to forget in this current time when we have so much.
Jeanette Hurt: That’s exactly right. And it… My book focused on the history of women and drink. And women and bartending. But it also just goes across the history of women of course. And the one thing that shocked me in researching this book…well there were lots of things that shocked me…but until 1971 there was one last state that didn’t allow women to bartend.
Caryn Hartglass: 1971!
Jeanette Hurt: Yes, now…take a guess, which state was that?
Caryn Hartglass: Oh God…I don’t know…Michigan? I don’t know.
Jeanette Hurt: No, Michigan has another interesting story, but it was California, if you can believe that. California!
Caryn Hartglass: <Laughing> Oh goodness!
Jeanette Hurt: And it wasn’t until…and the whole story about how California women got the right to bartend because all the…at one time 26 states outlawed women bartenders.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow.
Jeanette Hurt: And it didn’t start after, well, after the end of World War II. But it really continued…if you go back historically especially in the late 1800s we went from the early 1800s, late 1700s and bartending was an OK profession even for Puritan women. It was OK for them to bartend. And own or manage a tavern. In fact, one of my favorite drinks is Start the Revolution and it’s likely that an American woman invented the cocktail, which I think is fantastic. Now if you go into any sort of cocktail history, you’ll hear a thousand different stories, but the most likely one is that a woman named Katherine Hustler who was a sutler during the American Revolution that meant she outfit troops with booze because the troops needed booze in order to fight. And she and her husband had owned a tavern in eastern New York. After the war, they moved western New York to a town called Lewiston and they opened another tavern called Hustler’s Tavern and in 1821 a certain American novelist James Fenimore Cooper spent his summer there working on his second novel The Spy which was of course about the American Revolution. And he based…he was so enchanted with Katherine that he based the character on her named Elizabeth Betty Flannigan and in his boOkay, he describes how Betty created a cocktail. Now we don’t know at which point truth became fiction or fiction being truth but we do know that she was serving cocktails by 1821 and a lot longer because she had owned the bar since the early 1800s at that location. And she also was an astute business woman. During the War of 1812, she also served British soldiers so her bar was one of the few buildings in town not to be burned. And she was still bar tending and managing her tavern when James Fenimore Cooper was working on his novel. So likely he based that character on her recollections of the war.
Caryn Hartglass: I think that’s just fabulous.
Jeanette Hurt: It is. But you go from 1820s and it’s still OK for women to own and manager taverns. Some places you know you had to have a male relative as an overseer or in case something got out of hand but mostly it was OK. And then you go to the late 1800s and women weren’t allowed in many saloons. In my state of Wisconsin, which at one point was a progressive state, now some people call it a purple state. I guess it depends on who you talk to in my state. But one of the interesting things is women were allowed to drink in Wisconsin taverns, but they had to go through a side or women’s and children’s entrance to the bar. So if you go to historic taverns in Wisconsin, you’ll notice they have a back door, they have a front door and then they have this weird side door and that was the women’s entrance.
Caryn Hartglass: Who makes these things up?
Jeanette Hurt: Crazy, right?
Caryn Hartglass: It is crazy, yes, but somehow, I don’t know, some guys felt better that way.
Jeanette Hurt: They must have. But the thing is, this continued for a long time. And one of the biggest problems for women who wanted to bar tend because of course, after…I mean, there’s a whole phenomenon of prohibition which taught women how to drink because women got to go out and drink in public, which was shocking back then. And after prohibition, there were so many men who were dismayed that there was this one gentleman who wrote an essay about her hooking her French heel over the brass rail and how he lamented the death of the old saloon. And so I have a drink in my book called The Invasion of Women because he really hated the invasion of women into his sanctity space or…
Caryn Hartglass: Hey, I could imagine reading an article like that today on Breitbart. No, really, you know we get that all the time. These kind of twisted stories.
Jeanette Hurt: Isn’t it…well, and the interesting thing is, of course after prohibition, then we had World War II and a lot of women replaced the male bartenders who went off to war. And then when they came back of course they wanted their jobs. And they didn’t want to have the competition from women. And there were…there was a hotel and restaurant workers union and they represented a lot of bartenders. And they didn’t allow women to have membership. They allowed it during the war but then afterwards they didn’t and then they actively lobbied state and local officials to pass ordinances and state laws against women bartenders. And of course there were lots of states doing this, but one such state was the state of Michigan. And Margaret and Valentine Goesaert, a mother and daughter duo, decided that when Margaret’s husband died that she should really be allowed to bartend and continue operating the family bar because in Michigan, you could be a bartender if your husband or father was a bartender, or owned the bar. So they felt that was discriminatory. They hired a very feminist lawyer who represented a lot of women and she pushed for this and it worked its way through the Michigan courts eventually ending up before the United States Supreme Court in Goesaert versus Cleary in 1948. And unfortunately, the very sexist Supreme Court justices of the time said “Well of course it wasn’t an unchivalrous desire of male bartenders to protect their profession. They just want to protect women.” So that set the precedent. Now one thing I found out after my book went to print is that these flunky Michigan barmaids as they were known because female bartenders in that era were known as barmaids kept pushing their local legislators so that by 1955 women in Michigan could bar tend. However, since the states, the United States Supreme Court had already heard this court case then all these other states passed laws. They didn’t start changing them until the 1960s when of course we had a Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act, which allowed women to sue when they were discriminated against in work environments. As we talked about earlier, the last state to hold out was California.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m still reeling from that one. I moved to California from New York in 1982 only eleven years after that and I thought the world is my oyster, I can do anything and I had no idea that just eleven years before they had turned that around.
Jeanette Hurt: Or if you had wanted to be a bartender in California, you couldn’t. Now, the whole story behind California women getting the right to bar tend. It started with the owner of a strip club called “The Classic Cat” and they guy had the idea that after women shook something on stage, then they’d go and shake drinks behind the bar. And he of course wanted them to be topless. But the state Supreme Court in California was ready to dismiss this lawsuit just because they’re like “We’re not going to touch something about naked women bartenders” except there was this very smart female law clerk who had just started working. Her name was Wendy Webster Williams and she said, “I know this sounds really cheesy and sleazy but it’s really about women’s rights and women employment,” so her justice said “Go ahead, write me a letter explaining why we need to take the case.” She convinced him, he convinced the other justices, they took up the case. Not only that, once the briefs started coming in she realized, well these are strip club lawyers, they’re not so smart. She didn’t like their arguments, so she convinced a female law professor and some law students to write an amicus brief, which the strip club lawyers then used. They never got the right to bar tend naked but as a result of this law case, women in California got the right to bar tend.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow.
Jeanette Hurt: And what’s amazing is that from that point on, women started joining the profession in…by leaps and bounds. And today, more than 60% of all bartenders are women. Now what I find striking about this, I think this is absolutely amazing especially because back in 1895, .2% of all bartenders were women. That meant…to give this a little more perspective, a woman who was a doctor wielding a stethoscope was 50x more common than a woman wielding a shaker. And of course, you know 1890s, 1900s women doctors were not common either.
Caryn Hartglass: Yep, it’s a strange world we live in and I don’t pretend to understand any of it. So, this book is full of many, many wonderful stories like that and it got me inspired, it got me angry and it got me wanting to have a drink. That’s for sure.
Jeanette Hurt: Well, I think that’s a good solution when you get frustrated and you need some inspiration. Pick a story because there’s a lot of women who did some amazing things and that was one fun thing for me. Growing up as a little, I loved read biographies of women who made a difference. People like Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony and Nellie Bly was one of my favorites. Of course I have a Nellie Bly Tai instead of a Mai Tai in my book.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, the drink names are really wonderful. The Tubman-tini and the Dina-colada. Are you calling that Dino, or D-n-colada?
Jeanette Hurt: D-n-a for Dina-colada because…
And that was a story that shocked me too because there’s this woman even…I mean, I remember studying in biology about how DNA was discovered and I didn’t realize that they actually stole research from a female scientist and used that to help them make their conclusions.
Caryn Hartglass: Well you might have been surprised reading it for the first time, but I hope you’re not surprised today if you heard something like that because apparently, ethics do not abound.
Jeanette Hurt: No they don’t and there’s all sorts of excuses.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, I want to just, for a brief moment, talk about some of the drinks and the ingredients. You may know, I’m a vegan. I don’t know if you knew that. And I went through the whole boOkay, read all the stories and went through all of the recipes and I want to tell you that most of the drink recipes are vegan, but the ones that aren’t, I can make vegan. So it’s a…I stamp this vegan-friendly. But I want to mention a few things for people that are concerned about animal ingredients, you can always go to a website called barnivore.com. Are you familiar with barnivore.com, Jeanette?
Jeanette Hurt: Love it.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s a great website where it lists what alcohol, beer, wine and liquor are vegan or not vegan-friendly and if it’s not listed, that just means they haven’t connected with the producer so you could email the producer and get back with them to find out what’s in the drink, but there are many vegan alcoholic beverages and more and more. For example, let’s talk about Guinness for a minute. I have a silly story where I was living in France as an adult, I came back to New York and then I went to visit my Aunt and Uncle for an overnight stay in Connecticut and they made me dinner and somehow we got into this macho scenario, my Uncle and I, and we ended up doing six Guinness stouts chased by shots of tequila.
Jeanette Hurt: <Laughing> That’s a fabulous story!
Caryn Hartglass: And uh, I went to bed, I got up at like 5 in the morning, took a tub and I was on my way. Cause you know, it’s a macho kind of thing to show that you can hold your liquor and I’m not a big drinker, but I think I got this from my Dad, where I could handle it. But I discovered that Guinness in the United States is not vegan-friendly, although they are working on it and promise that by the end of 2016, they’ll have some equipment going where they won’t be using the fish gelatin anymore, so I look forward to that and they’re doing it because there’s a percentage of people out there in the buying public that want it that way.
Jeanette Hurt: Well, and I think most people who like the taste would not be offended if it was vegan.
Caryn Hartglass: No! It tastes the same!
Jeanette Hurt: Good booze is good booze.
Caryn Hartglass: Exactly!
Jeanette Hurt: The other thing, in the meantime I would suggest, is contact some of your local craft brewing producers in your area because you can always ask them and usually, you can call up the place and talk to the brewer or somebody close to the brewer to find out exactly how they make their beer. And there are a lot of fabulous stouts out there.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh yeah! I, I’m not…
Jeanette Hurt: So while you’re waiting for Guinness, you might…
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I’m not deprived right now. I have, I have all kinds of access to all of the booze that I could possibly want. The other thing I wanted to mention, you have a few recipes that require egg whites and I don’t know if you’ve tried Aquafaba yet…
Jeanette Hurt: I’ve not tried it in drinks.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, but they’re…
Jeanette Hurt: The only thing is, in general when people use egg whites, it’s for the texture. But you can take it out and it will still taste just fine. It might not be as frothy, but who cares if it tastes good?
Caryn Hartglass: Right, well with being Aquafaba, which is like…the last two years has just gone crazy with what you can do with it. I mean, it’s great because it’s cheap and it’s easy to use and doesn’t harm anybody. And it makes things really foamy and frothy.
Jeanette Hurt: Then that’s what you use.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah and people are using it, which is really exciting. So just wanted to mention those few things.
Jeanette Hurt: I think that those are great ideas.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, and then of course we vegans know that when recipes say use milk or ice cream or whipped cream, we’ve got in our back pocket all the great substitutes that can work instead of dairy ingredients. I remember the first time I had a White Russian that it was vegan…it was…it was in the late ‘90s.
Jeanette Hurt: And I bet it was fabulous.
Caryn Hartglass: It was, and I was so excited that the bar that I went to in this little place in Burlington, VT actually had non-dairy milk.
Jeanette Hurt: Well, most bars also have coconut milk.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, and that’s delicious.
Jeanette Hurt: Because they have to make pina coladas.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh yeah, well some coconut mixes have dairy in them, some don’t. It depends. You can never be too careful.
Jeanette Hurt: I agree.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, and then Bailey’s. I think you have a recipe that calls for Bailey’s and they’ve been talking about creating a non-dairy version called Almonde.
Jeanette Hurt: I bet that’ll be really good.
Caryn Hartglass: According to what I’ve read, they didn’t realize what they were doing and included beeswax in the recipe and now they’re working to get it out because some of us don’t want beeswax in our drinks. Anyway, they’re working on it and I’m excited because that means not just for vegans, but when you want to make a product better for health or for the environment or for animals, for all life on Earth, whatever it is, speak out and talk to the right sources and we can make change all over the place and then toast to it.
Jeanette Hurt: Well, I think you bring up a really valid point, which is you have to know the ingredients of your food. And so many people just take something off the shelf and they don’t read the ingredients. And besides the animal products, there’s a lot of different not-good-for-you chemicals in certain foods. And they’re not good for anybody.
Caryn Hartglass: There were some liqueurs and drinks that you mention that I wasn’t exactly familiar with and I typed it out…fernet branca?
Jeanette Hurt: That’s an Italian liqueur.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, with herbs and spices. It sounds wonderful.
Jeanette Hurt: It is a fantastic bitter liqueur and it’s used in…a lot of bartenders love to drink shots of it. It’s also good as an aperitif or a digestif and it’s also really good with balancing different flavor profiles of drinks. One of my favorite drinks, which has fernet branca, is in Lucille’s Balls.
Caryn Hartglass: Another great name, and another great story.
Jeanette Hurt: Yes, which is…the drink is a better tasting Rum and Coke. It’s like the best Cuba Livre you’ll ever have. And it’s using the real cane syrup cola, lime juice and fernet branca and something with fernet branca and cola just really go really well together and that recipe comes from Julia Momose, a Chicago bartender who’s absolutely amazing and she’s in charge of the Green River Bar Program.
Caryn Hartglass: My favorite drink is the Manhattan.
Jeanette Hurt: Ohh.
Caryn Hartglass: And I didn’t see it in here or a variation on it.
Jeanette Hurt: Well there’s the Renaissance Womanhattan.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, I missed it. I’m glad you told me about that.
Jeanette Hurt: But it’s not a Manhattan, it’s the Womanhattan.
Caryn Hartglass: Of course. Oh gosh, I’ll have to check that out. I’m a fan of bourbon. I like Maker’s Mark and anything. And on the rare occasions when I’m feeling ill, like feeling a cold coming on, there’s nothing like a warm drink with a little splash of that in there.
Jeanette Hurt: A little splash of bourbon, a little splash of fresh lemon juice, maybe a little bit of sweetener if you need it, but I don’t think you need sweetener with bourbon.
Caryn Hartglass: You have the Monthly Medicinal, which looked really good.
Jeanette Hurt: That is another lovely drink. I think it’s a good thing because…well, the story behind that drink is when women were not supposed to drink alcohol, a lot of these medicinals that were sold in pharmacies were really just booze with some herbs and spices added to it.
Caryn Hartglass: Mmmm, yep, oh you know any way to make a buck, you know, they’ll just repackage something and get it through and people buy it.
Jeanette Hurt: Well, they do and they did.
Caryn Hartglass: And we should, but anyway it looks really good with pomegranate liqueur and hibiscus tea and bourbon.
Jeanette Hurt: Well bourbon is wonderful.
Caryn Hartglass: Bourbon is wonderful. All right, well I really enjoyed reading Drink Like a Woman: Shake, Stir, Conquer, Repeat. I’m glad that the first recipe was the one that you mentioned, Start the Revolution.
Jeanette Hurt: Which I think is ongoing, isn’t it?
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, we just…we may need to mix up a lot of these Start the Revolution because there may be a new on starting soon.
Jeanette Hurt: Well, I wanted to add one little thing since holidays are coming and with that drink or other drinks that have bourbon, one of my favorite things for the holidays is you take two cups of bourbon and you take one cup of fresh cranberries, you put in a glass jar and you let it sit for a couple of weeks and you get this lovely, fragrant, cranberry fragrant and infused booze. And then you can substitute it in any drink that requires bourbon and it suddenly becomes a holiday cocktail.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow, that sounds fantastic, but is it bitter because cranberries need to be sweetened?
Jeanette Hurt: No, it isn’t.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow.
Jeanette Hurt: I mean, it’s really fragrant, it’s red. I think it tastes fabulous.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so what is the recipe? How much to how much?
Jeanette Hurt: Two cups of bourbon, or you could take two cups of whatever your favorite spirit is, and one cup fresh cranberries. If you’re using a white spirit, I wouldn’t let it go for two to four weeks, which you can let it go with bourbon that long. But if you are using a white spirit, you know, give it a week, maybe a week and a half and you’ll have this red, red blush colored spirit, which you can then use, of right now I have a batch going with some white rum and some tequila and then…they’re both separate…and then also one, of course, with bourbon for the holidays.
Caryn Hartglass: I am very excited about that. Thank you, Jeannette, for sharing that with me. I’m doing it. No question about it.
Jeanette Hurt: You’re very welcome.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, I’m raising a glass to you. Happy holidays and I really enjoyed reading Drink Like a Woman.
Jeanette Hurt: I’m so, so grateful you did and I have had so much fun talking with you.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you!
Jeanette Hurt: If you ever want to talk about cocktails or famous women, I would love to talk with you again, so cheers.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, sounds great. Awesome. Happy holidays and thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food. Oh, we’re coming to the end. I’m Caryn Hartglass, this has been It’s All About Food. Find me and www.responsibleeatingandliving.com , read my daily blog What Vegans Eat, we’ve got great recipes for the holidays for you and have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Kevin Coughlin, 12/6/2016