Been a member of the Women Who Whiskey group since I first discovered their LA chapter a few years back, but I had never made it to one of their events. Who would have thought that a pandemic, and the ease of Zoom meetings, made joining in finally so easy? This was the invite that grabbed my thirsty attention:
Enjoy FIVE delicious Straightaway Cocktails (+ paired snacks!) at a virtual Happy Hour with Women Who Whiskey members from around California! (There would also be a) Guided Tasting and History… (where we would) Sip and learn about the origins of the following cocktails: Old-Fashioned, Paper Plane (both rye-based), Negroni, Lintik (both gin-based) and The Cosmos (vodka).
The event was held on August 26. The snacks that Straightaway Cocktails included with the cocktails were Marconi almonds, dark chocolate, rosemary bagel chips, corn nuts, and sweet/salty hazelnuts. We picked up the small sample bottles and the pairings at Remedy Liquor in Glendale. (Remedy also carried very limited quantities of 750 ml bottles of Straightaway Cocktails.)
At the appointed hour I was let into the Zoom meeting, watched faces pop up and pages grow from one screen to three. Lots of thirsty women out there. Women that usually gather over single malt or whisky cocktails, and yet here they were, anxious to try these drinks, some made with gin and vodka.
Niki Green, the president of Women Who Whiskey Bay Area instigated the event for every chapter statewide. She introduced Cherina Sellens, the GM for Straightaway. Sellens explained that the company was new, about 19 months old, and had two founders. (More information about the founders and the cocktails themselves can be found on their website, listed at the end of this article.) Knowing she was addressing a group of drinkers she quickly got us started. I was able to jot down some tasting notes:
Lintik: A cocktail of gin infused with bitters and lemon, reminded me of a Limoncello laced martini, as it had none of the cloying sweetness that can sometimes be the case in a straight Limoncello, but with the same rich mouthfeel. Sellens said that the cocktail itself was over 90 years old. I liked the aroma, the balance of tart and sweet, the lightness and found it very refreshing. Sellens prompted us to save a bit to mix with our next drink which was…
The Cosmos: A vodka cocktail in the spirit of a Cosmopolitan but without the pink to red coloring, and a lot less sweet. I think everyone liked this drink far better than Carrie Bradshaw’s of Sex in the City fame. Sellens called it their “Blanco” version. I found it very interesting, with lots of citrus and ginger, which paired nicely with their ginger candy and Marcona almonds that are roasted in olive oil. Also tasted great with just a splash that I had left of the Lintik.
Negroni: This one was sadly missing from my sample box. I’m a big fan of the cocktail and it was described as being made with gin, liqueur, vermouth and cochineal extract. Sellens said that historically the drink was too sweet, so bartenders added more gin.
Paper Plane: Unfamiliar with this rye whiskey-based cocktail, it reminded me of a nicely spiced Whiskey Sour. This drink was Sellens’ favorite. Straightaway makes their own Amaro, and the Paper Plane, as well as the Negroni, benefited from the flavor.
Oregon Old Fashioned: This may have been my favorite drink. Certainly was my favorite pairing as it came with chocolate covered hazelnuts. The difference in this one compared a standard Old Fashioned was the addition of Filbert and Fir bitters, both of which are found in Oregon where the company is based.
One more tasty idea: Anyone that likes low-alcohol Spritzers (and who doesn’t when it’s nice and toasty out?) look for these: Negroni Spritz, Apico Spritz, Last Word Spritz and Fiore Spritz. All are made with their in-house amaros. Information on the full ingredients can be found on their website below.
In a time of Covid or not, having batched and bottled ready-to-drink cocktails is a great convenience. Of the ones I’d tried before I felt most were lacking in flavor, balance, and/or alcohol content. It was not the case with these from Straightaway. I will purchase them again, at Remedy Liquor in Glendale, or locally if I can find them.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.