The 10 Best Whiskeys for Mother’s Day, As Chosen by Moms
From local craft distilleries to classic single malts, moms know best
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Wines for mom and whiskey for dad: undoubtedly, you’ll see gift guides for Mother’s and Father’s Day play to these stereotypes. Thankfully, it’s 2021 and we all (hopefully) recognize that you can’t pigeonhole someone’s booze preference by gender or parental role.
“For all the talk of inclusiveness and diversity in the spirits industry it’s kind of depressing how many Mother’s Day campaigns fall back on clichéd imagery and focus on pink, nonsensically-gendered, clichéd gifts,” as Jugoslav Petkovic, the co-founder/CEO of the spirits club Flaviar, said earlier this month. “In March the industry fell over itself to celebrate the fact that women drink whiskey and now, yet just a few months later, most of the major campaigns and promotions are focused on pink gins and fizz. I know from my son’s Mom that women appreciate the flavors that are in the bottle and don’t need things pinkified.”
While that spirits club can suggest a pretty wide range of tipples for Mother’s Day, we wanted to keep the focus on whisk(e)y. So we asked 10 moms what they’d like if they were to receive a gifted bottle.
And that’s the really important thing here: Ask your mom. Sage advice.
“I’m a mother, and my sister-in-law and BGF — all moms — love, love, love whiskey” says Rosemary Siciliano, the Senior Director of MarCom and PR at Jack L. Gordon Architects. “Seriously, we buy it for each other for Christmas, birthday, etc.” Her picks are all NYC-based, including Widow Jane (specifically the Vaults, Baby Jane and Chocolate Malt Bourbon) and Kings County Distillery (Wheat Whiskey, Bottled in Bond and Wine Barrel Finish).
“I’m a mom of a beautiful seven-year-old baby boy, and I’m obsessed with this bourbon,” says Daniela Baker, Community Manager at CreditDonkey. “Fruity, honey aroma that’s gentle on the nose, and a crisp apple flavor that makes it easy to drink. It’s well balanced and I can drink it on the rocks or in cocktails. I’ve had it with apple juice, Averna amaro, sweet vermouth and even with espresso and coffee liqueurs.”
“It’s this or Basil Hayden’s; they both run down smooth in your mouth,” says Lana Lee Leazer, a maitre’d in Winter Park, FL.
“I started drinking whiskey three years ago and this is my absolute favorite,” says Amy Morton, the mother of three girls and owner/operator of Found Kitchen, The Barn Steakhouse and Stolp Island Social in Illinois. “Angel’s Envy Bourbon was my favorite up until a regular guest — the chief of police, who happens to be a woman — gifted me a bottle of their rye. I think most people start with bourbon as it’s rounder and sweeter with more caramel notes. But the moment I tried the rye … I had arrived!! It adds a spicy complexity.”
“It’s a pre-Prohibition style of American whiskey,” says Debbie Gold, a mom of two girls and the Executive Chef at Morton’s three restaurants. “It’s a blend of four-year-old bourbon, five year-old rye from Alberta and nine-year-old light corn whiskey — and 15-year-old Oloroso sherry from the Williams & Humbert Bodega. I like the varied spices and vanilla flavors and it has a nice smokiness and a pleasant sweetness at the finish.”
“Quality cannot be down-priced in a great Scotch,” says Essie Button, a former esthetician and make-up artist (and now entrepreneur and mother of two). “I love this single malt. It’s smokey but also light, with a fruitiness. I’d never mix with with anything apart from an ice cube.”
Guidance is a Black-owned whiskey brand from Nashville. “It’s the perfect sipping whiskey for after work, after homework and after my dinner rush,” says Leslie Taylor, a Logistical Freight Analyst and mother of four. “My favorite drink is Guidance over ice with ginger beer and a twist of lime.”
Kelly Schmidt, the Inn Manager for Chicago’s Michelin-Starred whiskey bar Longman & Eagle and a mother of a three- and four-year-old, heads for a classic. “I’m surrounded by wonderful and interesting whiskeys at work, but my go-to is always Maker’s Mark,” she says. “I like the softness of the flavor and the unique profiles offered from the private barrel selections. As any mom would say, it’s very hard to find alone time, so the gift of a bourbon on the rocks paired with some really good dark chocolate and a quiet spot to sip is truly priceless.”
“I would gift the other moms in my life Broken Top Rye,” says Erika Boutillier, a mother of two and the owner of Abundant Tables, a charcuterie and cheese board company. “I’ll be drinking Broken Top Whiskey Sours on repeat this summer. The spicy and smoky notes in the whiskey pair so well with salty pork rillettes, and it’s a welcoming drink to those newer to whiskey.”
“My go-to whisky categories are Scotch, Irish or Japanese,” says Sasa Muzga, the Member Experience Director of Flaviar (and wife of Flaviar’s CEO/co-founder Jugoslav Petkovic and mother to a two-year-old boy). “Because of my work, I get to try many different spirits from around the world, so as a gift, I would really appreciate something I haven’t had before, especially if there is an interesting story behind it (buckwheat whisky from France? Bring it on!). That said, she sticks close to home/work with The Redeemer. “It’s the third in the series and our peatiest blended Scotch, it makes a strong entrance on the first sip, but turns our delightfully sweet on the second sip.”
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