at Silvia Plath’s bell jar, Protagonist Esther Greenwood visits a bar and tries to disguise her lack of drinking expertise by ordering a glass of plain vodka she’s never had. “I once saw a vodka commercial with just a glass of vodka standing in the middle of a snowdrift, and in the blue light, the vodka looked as clear and pure as water,” Greenwood said. In her telling, vodka is dreamy and refined. Its clarity implies cleanliness; its lack of color lends it alchemical potency. “I’m starting to think that vodka is finally my drink,” she said. “It didn’t taste like much, but it went straight into my stomach like a sword swallower’s sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.”

Fast-forward 60 years, and vodka, known for its purity and tastelessness, no longer means the power of alchemy in the popular imagination. Instead, it represents an innate blandness and lack of sophistication, which is reflected in those who order it. The ethos has long been banned from craft cocktail bars due to a lack of “character”, and while some have loosened their dogma and brought vodka — and the drink it was originally served in — back to the shelves, Others persevered. Vodka’s innate versatility is still often seen not as an advantage but as a trick of the spirit on philistine tastes. Who are these uncultured drinkers who eschew the smoky flavor of mezcal or the spiciness of rye in favor of universally delicious vodka? Of course, who else but women – at least according to stereotypes.


If men were once from Mars and women were from Venus, then in 2022 men drink whiskey and women drink vodka — not easy-going, flattering women. Vodka drinks, from Skinny Bitch cocktails (vodka, soda, lime) to Bitch brand vodka, often named after unknown bitches. ⁰ The menu at Miami bar Sweet Liberty includes a vodka cocktail called the Basic Bitch (Vodka, St. Germain, Lemon, Strawberry, Prosecco), while the Hank Cocktail Bar in Washington, D.C., favored milder options before it closed due to the coronavirus. The “Becky” series of vodka cocktails. (Sample Becky cocktails include “Becky’s No Brunch” with pumpkin spice and “Becky’s Back” with berry syrup.)


Now, I love spicy cocktail names as much as the next bitch; after all, tacitly making fun of one’s own customers is one of the bartender’s perks. But the names speak to a persistent attitude among spirits lovers that bland vodkas are only ordered by women who are bland.

Whiskey, meanwhile, has a strong flavor for the sturdy man and the woman who is too cool to shout “Wow!”According to reporter Courtney Balestier, during spring break, he broke The metaphor of the “whiskey woman”“If you can appreciate something that isn’t very accessible, like whisky, on the first try, it means sophistication,” Balestier said. “In this case, vodka communicates the opposite of you – you don’t have the palate of whisky, you just want to get drunk, or you don’t want to taste anything, or you’re on a diet.”

Of course, the idea that vodka is used exclusively for dieting is plausible. Vodka has few more calorie-conscious options than whisky (100 and 110 calories per serving, respectively). These two spirits are often found in cocktails along with sugar, fruit, and liqueur. So why is it a stereotype?

According to Dave Infante, the spirits reporter behind the newsletter finger, “The rise of vodka in America fits with the urban and refined tropes,” he said. “The Keitel 1 ad, when they first started airing — there were men in the ad, but you’re talking about a very sleek and sophisticated male consumerist packaging.”

If vodka used to mean purity to Esther Greenwood in the 1960s and diet to vodka bitches, it now merges the two into one impossible calorie-counting meal.

That quintessential vodka-loving urban sophistication died in the cocktail revolution of the 1990s. cosmopolitan that carrie and the girls love Sex and the City Be the most famous, but by no means the only, front-line revolutionary. Bartenders and winemakers realize that vodka’s adaptability is a boon: The drink can be infused with herbs or buried in a blender without detracting from its flavor. “One caveat to trying vodka cocktails is that vodka doesn’t necessarily impart any flavor,” says Matt Friedlander, owner and bartender at Sally Can Wait in New York. “On the other hand, you basically get a blank canvas. If you do want to create something more universally delicious, Vodka gives you a great forum to do that.” So we got Aptinischocolate martinis and devastating Vodka Red Bull-Drink less than intellectuals who like vinyl records, and sorority girls who think beer is too fat.

Ketel One’s Botanical Collection Launched Gives us some clues about the makeup of modern vodka drinkers. According to the brand’s website, a serving of Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit & Rosé has 40 percent fewer calories than a glass of white wine. If vodka used to mean purity to Esther Greenwood in the 1960s and diet to vodka bitches, it now merges the two into one impossible calorie-counting meal.

So the stereotype persists, even as the bar community grapples with an industry-wide reckoning of sexism and inequality. Perhaps the issue here is one of the stakes — attention to women’s beverage choices takes a backseat when industry icons are still often accused of abuse.Or maybe just the opposite: Despite the industry taking a step in the right direction, pervasive sexism persists because The attitude that caused the vodka bitch was never addressed at the root.

Of course, neither the Vodka Bitch nor the Whiskey Woman really exists – each is a metaphor that says more about what we expect from women than women who happen to share some figurative attributes. Whiteness, youth, and a morbid desire for thinness are all attributes of a vodka bitch, but they are also attributes that women should achieve and maintain against the laws of nature. At the same time, Balestier points out, women are also rewarded for breaking stereotypes and “drinking.” [whiskey] Like men” – as long as they maintain the attributes that make vodka bitches the norm they should rebel against.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Okay, this is going to be a vodka cocktail, which means it’s going to serve women between the ages of 22 and 30,'” Friedlander said of his process for making the new cocktail. “But I don’t look at specific demographics. We know who’s going to get into our bars, and the range varies widely. We start by asking, ‘Does this taste good? Does it work from a cost perspective?

Indeed, appearance, desirability, appropriate gender representation—why are these considerations for those who just want to order a drink? Let’s remember that whisky, not the person who drinks it, is the thing that is said to have “character”. Vodka, not woman, should be called “tasteless”.