Celebrating Women and Whiskey and Margie’s Mark

by Julie Pacheco-Toye

For International Women’s Day this year in Portland, a lucky 60 or so women entrepreneurs and leaders spent an evening celebrating inspiration, aspiration and motivation at the Nightwood Society. The idea for this “women and whiskey” event created by Maker’s Mark, was a twist on the concept of winemaker dinners, in which restaurants and wineries are paired to collaborate on wine-pairing dinners. The evening paired four standout Portland women bartenders with four women entrepreneurs and leaders, who then created cocktails featuring Maker’s Mark bourbon, each inspired by those relationships.

women and whiskey

Women and whiskey and Margie’s Mark at The Nightwood Society (Photo Julie Pacheco-Toye)

Innovative Cocktails Featuring Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Each of the innovative cocktails accompanied a different course in the beautiful four course meal prepared and served by the Nightwood Society, a culinary venture and private event space owned and run by an all-women collective.

The celebration was in honor of International Women’s Day, but also commemorated Margie Samuels, the co-founder of Maker’s Mark, and the creative force behind the Maker’s Mark brand. It was Margie Samuels who created the iconic red wax and the mark on the pewter seal, as well as the font on the label, and much more.

women and whiskey

(Photo by Julie Pacheco-Toye)

Women and Whiskey and Notes to Our Future Selves

Every element of the evening from beginning to end was meaningful and filled with thoughtfully designed details. Upon entering, each guest was invited to write an inspirational note to her future self on a small scroll and to personally date and sign a label which was then placed on a Maker’s Mark bottle into which the message was placed. Over the course of the evening each of those bottles was sealed with the Maker’s Mark signature red wax and seal and they were given to the guests as they departed.

women and whiskey

Wax dipping bottles with Maker’s Mark (Photo Julie Pacheco-Toye)

Forging Relationship with Works of Art

The evening was emceed by the enigmatic American Whiskey Ambassador Megan Breier and Brandy Felt, Key Account Manager at Beam Suntory. To introduce each dinner course, the paired bartenders and business and community leaders were introduced and given a chance to talk about their businesses and organizations, the relationship they forged, and the cocktail inspired by that relationship. The cocktails were veritable works of art, and “bartender” feels like almost too common a term to use to refer to these innovative creators.

“For the Underdog” is one of four cocktails creating for the evening (Photo Julie Pacheco-Toye)

One of these incredible creations, called “For the Underdog” was made with Maker’s Mark Cask Strength, Lustau East India Solera Sherry, Sticky Rice Puerh Syrup (made from scratch by the bartender), bitters, and a specially designed individually laser-cut ice cube by PDX ICE. That one was created by Clara Ridabock of Victoria Bar.  Another one, the cocktail designed by Kari Graczyk of Mother’s Bistro to highlight the Wetlands Conservancy, featured mint leaves hand-cut in the shape of ducks in every glass!

“Brain Food” by Kari Graczyk from Mother’s Bistro (Photo by Julie Pacheco-Toye)

The Teams

The four “pairings” teams were Mariyah Lowden of Jacknife Bar with Moriah  Hilden of Women Who Whiskey PDX, Clara Ridabock of Victoria Bar with Glynis Olson of Finger Bang Nail Salons, Kari Graczyk of Mother’s Bistro with Esther Lev of The Wetlands Conservancy, and Emily Mistell of Hey Love and Michelle Battista of The Nightwood Society.

Although those relationships were planned by design in creating the evening, so many more new relationships were forged across the tables over dinner, nourished by the celebratory atmosphere, the inspired drinks and the plentiful and scrumptious food.

(Photo Julie Pacheco-Toye)

“I Am Woman, Hear Me Pour”

Where there are women, there are hugs.

The evening felt different from other networking events, less about “me” and what “I” hope to gain, and more about “us” and what “we” can do together.

It was a perfect evening down to the smallest detail, including the stunning floral arrangements which were designed by one of the honored attendees, Rosemary Stafford, of Rosemary Stafford Floral design, and small pins for all guests with the image of Margie Samuels and “I am woman, hear me pour.”

women and whiskey

Margie Samuels, co-founder of Maker’s Mark

For More:

-All photos by Julie Pacheco-Toye.

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Leanne Mann April 10, 2019 - 1:53 pm

Thank you Julie for such a heartfelt review. It was an inspirational evening and so many of us will remember our new friends.

Julie Pacheco-Toye April 10, 2019 - 6:25 pm

Thank you Leanne. So will I.


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