Women + whiskey: Meet a bartender who says you don’t know jack until you meet her gentlemen

Bartender Paulina mixes up A Women’s S’corn at URBN and Basic with Gentleman Jack. (Advertisement)

The Jack Daniel’s Distillery was established in 1866. Now, 150 years later, meet the San Diego women who are making whiskey history.

Bartender: Michele

Venue: Basic and URBN

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in San Diego, California.

What’s awesome about the bar you work at?

I am the beverage director for a couple of bars, so each one of them have a special place in my heart. One is more craft-driven, and one is about volume - both very family-oriented and welcoming. 

What cocktail are you making today?

The name of the cocktail is A Women’s S’corn. It is an Old Fashioned variation - a classic Old Fashioned in spirit, with Angostura bitters, sugar cube, lemon and orange zest garnish. I wanted to magnify the notes of the spirit, so I took peppercorns and rosemary and baked them on a cookie sheet to bring the oils out. Then I took demerara sugar and did a one-to-one ratio with the hot water it was soaking in. Then I made strawberry Angostura bitters to grab some of the sweeter notes. 

Why does Gentleman Jack work well for this cocktail?

Gentlemen Jack works perfectly in this cocktail because it takes the sweet notes and adds a savory boozy afterthought to every sip.

What makes this a great cocktail for women who are just getting into whiskey?

It is a very approachable cocktail, but still very direct. 

 What makes this a great cocktail for women who are already experienced whiskey drinkers?

It’s direct and has some complex notes one can pick out. 

 What was your first experience with whiskey?

Let’s just say I don’t think I could never drink Irish whiskey again. I think I threw it up the entire next day.

 What advice would you give women who want to get into drinking whiskey?

I would let them know that developing your palate is gradual and fun. The first sip does not tell the whole story; taste it again, and you can see a huge difference. 

BASIC, 410 10th Ave., East Village, 619.531.8869,

URBN, 3085 University Ave., North Park, 619.255.7300,



‘Tender moments: Tiana Selvin, barleymash

‘Tender moments: Sonja Benavides, The Office Bar

‘Tender moments: Paulina, Kettner Exchange