By: Robin Gibson
Charlotte Voisey, the dynamic, and talented Director of Advocacy for William Grant & Sons USA, is back at Charleston Wine + Food for the seventh annual Iron Mixologist competition. Inspired by reality shows like Iron Chef, the popular competition notoriously pits four local bartenders against each other in timed trials involving secret ingredients and the ability to craft cocktails under pressure. The winner, chosen by a panel of four high-profile judges, walks away with bragging rights and the title of Iron Mixologist Charleston.
2018, however, is different. Voisey took note of the fact that previous contestants had all been men, save for one female bartender, and she decided to change it. Instead of the usual preliminary elimination rounds producing the competition's finalists, four of Charleston's best female bartenders were hand-picked to compete. What she noticed wasn't a talent gap as much as it was indicative of a trend not limited to the Food and Beverage industry: the world of bartending is male-dominated. Often, head bartenders and bar owners, who tend to be men, end up in the spotlight making it tough for women to get their due.
Another notable difference this year is location. For the first time, Williams Sonoma on King Street will host the competition. The retail store offers the perfect backdrop with its in-house kitchen demo space in the rear and brand new line of barware to be featured along with spirits from the William Grant & Sons portfolio.
Competing this year are:
Caroline Woodruff, Proof
Ariana Cohen, Prohibition
Melissa Cone, The Macintosh
Anna Lazaridis, Home Team BBQ.
Doors will close to the public for the sold-out ticketed event taking place today, Saturday, March 3rd, from 1 PM to 2:15 PM. Visit Charleston Wine + Food for details on this and other events. The festival, in its thirteenth year, ends its run on Sunday, March 4th.
More about Charlotte Voisey from Charleston Wine + Food:
Best American Brand Ambassador, two times Golden Spirit Award winner at Tales of the Cocktail and recognized by the James Beard recognition for contribution to mixology, Charlotte Voisey is the Director of Advocacy for William Grant & Sons USA. Host of The Proper Pour with Charlotte Voisey on www.smallscreennetwork.com, Charlotte has cocktail recipes published and placed on menus across the world including New York’s famed PDT, the iconic Dorchester Hotel in London and Whitechapel in San Francisco. In addition, Charlotte seeded the cocktail programs at the Gramercy Park Hotel in Manhattan, Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, FIG at the Fairmont Santa Monica, Beautique and at W Hotels across the country. Charlotte has traveled the world but made her name at home in London. In 2002, with the Gorgeous Group, Charlotte opened classic cocktail bar Apartment 195 and was soon named UK Bartender of the Year. In 2005 Charlotte was invited to guest bartend at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic and consequently fell in love with the US cocktail community, one year later Charlotte officially made the move stateside to represent her favorite spirit, Hendrick’s Gin. Charlotte was named inaugural Mixologist of the Year for Wine Enthusiast Magazine and previously won silver medal at the World Female Bartender Championships in Italy. Other favorite accolades include her Punch & Judy named Cocktail of the Year by a panel of peers at Tales of the Cocktail in 2008. Charlotte’s passion for all things spirits and cocktails keeps her in an active speaking role at all major industry events including Tales of the Cocktail, Aspen Food & Wine, Las Vegas Nightclub & Bar Show, Charleston Wine & Food, Roots and Barra Mexico.