Kayleigh’s first book, Booze for Babes™: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Drinking Spirits Right, was released in 2014.
True babes are not intimated and if there is one overarching lesson readers will take away from this book, that was it. Women who bought Booze for Babes™ did so to learn how to appreciate booze, but not just any kind – the kind of booze that reflects refinement; the kind of booze that takes a lot of time, care and expertise to produce. This was not another cocktail recipe book.
The book spawned from a drinking epiphany: I had been the sort of girl who never doubted what she wanted in life but, like many young women, instantly managed to lose my way at a bar. When people came to my home, she’d grab a no-fuss bottle of wine or six-pack of beer. Rather than savoring a cocktail, it was an accessory.
This was a crucial mistake and no way for a confident, sassy, smart and independent woman to live. After all, I was a woman who appreciated the finer things in life, enjoyed good food, wine, traveling, learning. And that was the best I could do? That is until a trip to the heart of whiskey and bourbon country taught me to appreciate what the spirit offers the refined pallet.
Soon enough, she was teaching her husband and his friends about booze. She became dedicated to empowering women everywhere through journalistic endeavors to embrace, learn about and consume various fine spirits the way they should be (responsibly, of course). There was more to do it: once I began researching the on-again, off-again relationship between women and booze throughout history, it was easy to see why women had a complicated relationship with cocktails.
But times have changed since drinking liquor was neither ladylike nor appropriate for ladies. Booze for Babes™ is for all women who’ve fallen victim to the marketing of spirits companies that taught them to stick to the pink stuff. The book broke down the basics of spirits like whiskey, rum, tequila, gin, mescal and brandy in a fun and endearing fashion while combining style, entertaining, etiquette and interviews with successful women working as experts in the liquor industry.
I partnered on the foreword with Lynnette Marrero, bar consultant, president of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails NYC (LUPEC) and co-founder of Speed-Rack, a ladies only bartending competition that raises money for breast cancer research.
And when it came time to market, I did the extremely fun tasks of cocktail and tasting television segments and partnering with celebrity chef restaurants for book and tasting events, mostly in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans.