I am part of a few bourbon groups on Facebook, and Eddie is the guy who admins some of them. He asked. I answered...
Clearly, not all women are the same, so I cannot speak for them all, nor would they want me to. The easy answer to why more women are trying bourbon is that as something gains popularity, more people try it - men and women. I'm sure there are many more men drinking it now, too.
Certainly, it is being marketed to women, but I’m not convinced that it makes much of a difference that the aim is women. I think what’s making the difference is that it’s got a higher profile in general. There are magazine covers with whiskey, articles all over the place, and it’s showing up more and more as a drink in mainstream TV and movies and such. Which means it’s also showing up in fun cocktails at cool bars across the land.
I began drinking whiskey for three main reasons. First, I noticed classic cocktails on the menus of my favorite bars. Deciding to be fashionable, I started ordering sidecars and old fashioneds and manhattans. I tended to enjoy the latter two because they weren’t so sweet. More on that in a bit. I had been a wine and then a vodka drinker: martinis, then cosmos, then flavored vodka/soda on the rocks. I drank those things because they were popular, I admit. I thought grown ups drank wine, but I realized it gave me headaches. I really didn’t know much about alcohol and just ordered what I’d heard of to be honest. But, to continue with my thought above - I know men were drinking a lot of vodka and martinis at the time, too.
Second, my cousin introduced me to sazeracs. Oh my goodness. This is still my favorite drink, no question. I fell in love because it tasted a-MA-zing, and because my cousin is a badass and everything he does is cool. Plus, no headache the next day. Sold.
Then, lastly, back to the sugar thing. One of the reasons I had moved from martinis and cosmos to vodka/soda was because I was counting calories. I wouldn’t even use tonic because there were 10 calories in it, versus 0 in soda. I fell in love with the whiskey cocktails, but still - there was sugar in them. So…I did what any self respecting calorie counter would do - cut the sugar and go neat. I found that bourbon was freaking delicious all by itself. So are other whiskeys. Score!!!
I was so impressed with the complex flavors I could taste in a bourbon that I started trying them ALL…then becoming a bourbon geek with a bourbon sensei and new best friend, my local liquor store buyer, Dominic…and now I talk about it every day and blog as well - and renamed myself Ms. Bourbon!
Sure, I think of it as a more masculine drink and call myself a badass all the time for drinking it neat - bring on the barrel proof! But the more I talk about it, the more I find women who love it as much - well close to as much - as I do. Really. Enough in this small midwestern town I live in to be planning to put together a bourbon posse made up entirely of women. :D
Maybe women don’t feel the need to talk about it as much, so it seems like less women enjoy it? I’m not sure. I bet, though, if you dudes asked around a little, you’d find that many women you know love it. There are badass women all around you - they just may be keeping it their little secret. ;)