Nicola Nice’s Success in Creating Drinks for Women, by Women
Mother’s Milk or Mother’s Ruin — call it what you like; the happy fact is that gin, a staple spirit dating back to the 17th century, remains a classic. And the history and progression of women and their relationship to this elixir are as inspiring as they are interesting. Just ask Nicola Nice. The researcher and brand consultant, who holds a Ph.D. in sociology, is the creator of Pomp & Whimsy, a craft gin cordial targeted toward women.
“For the first time in 100 years, it’s a good time to be a woman in the spirits industry,” says Nice. “Women are creating a tidal wave of innovation and entrepreneurialism in general, and with increasing knowledge of cocktails and spirits, are now a driving force of trends in the industry.” Take Orange County’s own Gabrielle Dion, for example. The owner of the Mixing Glass at the OC Mix is considered to be one of the region’s top mixologists. She’s had a hand in crafting the cocktail menus for restaurants like Vaca and Broadway by Amar Santana.
As for Nice, she set out to create the ultimate women’s drink — one that was made by a woman, for a woman. Mission accomplished. The proof: Pomp & Whimsy launched earlier this year and earned double gold and gold medals in its first four international spirits competitions.
Unlike spirits such as whiskey, gin isn’t typically consumed neat as often as it’s used to create specialty cocktails. The spirit comes to life when mixed with almost anything — tonic water, Campari, raw egg whites, Champagne. More classic cocktails are made with gin than any other alcohol. And women played a role in its rising popularity during its early days. One in four licensed gin retailers — and an estimated one-third of unlicensed sellers — were women. Those of the feminine persuasion found a place to socialize in England’s dram houses, mainly because they were the ones pouring the drams. The gin was reportedly sweetened to appeal more to female customers. Since Prohibition, there has been a distinction in alcohol consumption between genders. Male-dominated pubs, gentlemen’s clubs, biker bars and the like stemmed from a culture that portrayed female drinking as inferior, laughable and forbidden in some places.
Obviously, we’ve come a long way. Today, men and women alike celebrate with cocktails, pub crawls and wine tastings. Distilleries are commonplace. And although gin is ever-evolving, it has been commonly categorized into four types: juniper-flavored, London dry, Plymouth, Old Tom, and Young Genever or Dutch. Now, there’s a fifth category — the New American Style, characterized by new flavors, including a variety of botanicals, leading to a lighter, sweeter gin that could be called female-forward in the same regard that whiskey has been referred to as a man’s drink.
And this is where Nice comes in. She researched the flavors women prefer, how they like to drink and what they like to mix their drinks with. Her findings led her to create a subtle, botanical gin liqueur with fragrant notes and a sweet flavor. “There are floral associations with jasmine and lavender,” she says, “and we’ve used fruits like melon and lychee.” These cocktails beg to be poured into a pretty glass, garnished with fresh fruit or a floral accent, and enjoyed at any time of the day or night. “(Women) are more sensitive to smells and can better differentiate between them,” Nice adds. “Many can be supertasters, meaning they have a larger number of taste buds and can taste more intensely.” Although men may certainly enjoy a Pomp & Whimsy cocktail, the women will appreciate the beauty in its appearance, its scent and its taste. So let’s raise our glasses and toast to friendship, fun, and a Pomp & Frosé.
P O M P & F R O S É
Recipe courtesy of Kate Richards from Drinking With Chickens. For more delicious recipes, visit drinkingwithchickens.com.
Yields approximately 4 servings. But who’s counting?
- 1 bottle dry rosé wine
- 8 oz. guava juice
- 4 oz. Pomp & Whims
Start by making rosé cubes. Pour your rosé into standard ice cube trays (should fill about two trays). Freeze overnight. To make the cocktails, add rosé ice cubes, guava juice, and Pomp & Whimsy into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately and garnish with a properly pink flower.