Above: Cointreau Master Distiller Bernadette Langlais enjoying a Cointreau Fizz, naturellement
Given that one of the strap lines at Cointreau is, ‘be a free spirited woman – don’t follow the rules, play with them’, it’s easy to see why we partnered up with the brand for our Leading Ladies of Drinks exhibition. Those words not only encapsulate the spirit of the triple sec made famous by Louisa Motais, the guiding light of the company, they say everything about the top talent we photographed as well.
Leading ladies in the house: clockwise from above left, Amanda Humphrey, Andrea Montague, Alex Irving Smyth, Georgie Bell, Jenny Gardner, Sarah Mitchell, Leanne Davidson, Sacha Filminov
From bartenders to brand ambassadors, spirits specialists to hotshots in PR and marketing, this was the first in a series of exhibitions we’ll be staging over the next year or so to celebrate the wealth of incredible female talent in the drinks industry. Please don’t take that as us being sexist or, heaven forbid, patronising. Think of it as a recruitment drive. While there are an increasing number of women doing fabulous things in the world of drinks, it’s still very much regarded as a male domain. And there’s no reason why it should be. It’s probably one of the least sexist industries around.
From top: Leanne Davidson and Sarah Mitchell; Emma Murphy, Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne; Andrea Montague; Jenny Gardner
It does take a certain strength of character though. Only those with chutzpah need apply. This isn’t an industry for anti-social, corner-cutting shirkers – just ask any of the 24 bright stars whose photos graced the walls at the Hospital Club. Not for nothing were they chosen as leading lights in their fields. They’re bright, sassy, strong, amazing, personable, talented, ambitious individuals who just happen to be women…
One of those was Bernadette Langlais. Although strictly speaking we were focusing on London, a) Langlais is one of the top bods at Cointreau our sponsor and it would have just been plain rude not to; b) she’s been Master Distiller there for over 30 years and embodies what the exhibition is all about, and c) she’s pretty damned awesome (see picture below).
Bernadette Langlais and Peter Dorelli
We had a terrific turn out – including mucho friends and supporters from the drinks industry, media bods and of course, our family and friends who knew us b.c. (that’s before cocktails). Guests enjoyed an array of Cointreau Fizz cocktails – choosing from Classic, Strawberry & Mint or Cucumber made by the bar team, or mixing up their own fruity combos at the DIY table.
The exhibition will be open to the public during London Cocktail Week after which we’ll be auctioning off the pictures with all proceeds going to The Haven Breast Cancer Support Centre in association with Speed Rack UK. Check in for details later.
Next stop: the rest of the world.
With thanks to Bernadette Langlais and all of our Leading London Ladies (and apologies to the ones we missed out – we’re coming to get you for round 2!):
and not forgetting Johnnie Pakington for taking the fabulous photographs which inspired this exhibition in the first place;
the teams at Cointreau and House PR for their vision, help and amazing support;
Lucy May for curation
and Tareena Mody for make-up.
To see the portraits from the exhibition, see here
Let’s get fizzical: from left to right, Cucumber, Strawberry & Mint, Classic Cointreau Fizz
Fancy a Cointreau Fizz?
Making one at home couldn’t be easier…
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
100ml soda water
Pour the Cointreau into a glass or large wine goblet. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and drop the peel into the glass. Top with soda water and there you have it, a Classic Cointreau Fizz. Feeling more adventurous? Create your own combo by muddling fresh fruit and herbs instead.
Photographs: Caitlin Mogridge