Scotch Whiskey: Still a ‘Man’ Drink

Cynthia Cheng

At the Home for the Holidays event last week, I had my first experience of drinking scotch on the rocks.  Yeah.  Scotch Whiskey.  With Ice.  Nothing Else.  For a girl who usually sticks to wines and fruity cocktails, it was quite the experience.  It was really strong, for one and definitely an acquired taste.  While it wasn’t as bad as when I had my first tequila, it wasn’t like my first pina colada, either.

According to the rep at the event, there are a growing number of women who are starting to drink scotch and are moving away from the fruity drinks like Cosmopolitans.  In fact, she mentioned how she was glad that Cosmos weren’t even mentioned in the second Sex and the City movie.  While I agree with her that it’s good people are becoming more adventurous, I’m still not convinced that the drink will ever be super-popular with women.  It still has an “old man” feel to it.  I mean, the first thing I think of when it comes to Scotch on the Rocks is male.  And not just any male, but an older man, probably someone who is close to his 70s or older.  One who has a “library” rather than an “office”  in his house with dark wooden walls and leather bound books.  One who probably has an addiction that isn’t his Blackberry or iPhone.  The drink has such a Mad Men vibe that you don’t even picture trendy guys drinking this.  Instead, you see Don Draper or Roger Sterling.

I think it will be very difficult to make this drink more woman-friendly, no matter how many women are apparently drinking it.  It has such a “masculine” vibe (though a sophisticated man vibe, unlike most domestic beers (which either remind you of cottage life or a fraternity party)) that it’ll take someone very special to make the drink fit with pearls and little black dresses rather than dinner jackets.  Of course, this is just my opinion.


  1. Scotch is a man’s drink? Nonsense. I am a woman and have been drinking scotch (and other whiskies) for many years, and I generally drink it “neat” (i.e. straight, no ice). I know plenty of other women who drink scotch too, so it’s not just me. But I can see why it might taste too strong and “manly” especially for a first-timer. The trick is to find a milder tasting scotch that you are more likely to enjoy, then progress to more intense whisky as your palate gets used to the experience. There is a huge variety in flavour and intensity in the scotch world. I don’t know what kind of scotch you tried, but perhaps there’s a softer, sweeter scotch that you might have really enjoyed. Some scotches are mild and sweet with honey, floral or heather notes, some are bold and powerful with smokey and peaty notes, and everything in between. If you’re a wine drinker already I’m sure you could come to enjoy scotch too! Much like many wine drinkers start with chilled white wines or light fruity reds, then progress to big, bold cabernet sauvignon, you can progress through whisky in a similar way.