Whiskey bar

Bianca Espinosa is breaking stereotypes in the whiskey community

Sometimes women who drink – let alone something like whiskey – elicit a certain type of reaction from men, and even other women. In many parts of America and the world for that matter, it is considered unfeminine for women to drink anything other than the occasional glass of wine or a fruity cocktail. However, we don’t care much for terms like “ladylike”, and we never hesitate to ask for the whiskey menu at happy hour, so when we came across Bianca Espinosa aka TheScotchGirl on Instagram, we felt like we had found a soul mate. Bianca Espinosa has made a name for herself in the sometimes insular world of whiskey and is rooted in her genuine love for alcohol.

Bianca is of Cuban descent and originally from Miami and spent part of her childhood in Caracas, Venezuela, where it was not uncommon to see women sipping blended whiskey. It wasn’t a new idea for her, but it was something she hadn’t thought much about until she started drinking in her twenties. She soon realized that drinking wine made her sleepy, which prevented her from enjoying a night out.

On the suggestion of a client she met in her day job as a senior finance manager for a janitorial services company, she decided to try whiskey. Bianca was hooked almost immediately. In fact, more than a decade later, she still remembers the very first scotch she ever drank – Glenfiddich 12, she says HipLatinaa popular single malt, which remains one of his favorites today.

Although Bianca still has her day job, she is also one of the founders of the Scottish Society 305 and a true whiskey influencer. In 2016, Bianca and a few friends founded Scotch Society 305 — a Miami-based members-only whiskey club — as a way to network with people with a mutual affinity for Scotch. The club started with 10 members and now has over 300 members, with Bianca leading the way in tastings and whiskey education.

“At first they assumed I was a bottle girl,” Bianca tells us, noting that of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But no one expected her to be the one to love let alone teach people about whiskey. She admits that Scotch is usually associated with “older white men.” She’s not wrong, even though demographics have changed over the past few years.

bianca espinosa the scottish girl
Photo: Bianca Lilly Espinosa

The newcomers to single malt Now they tend to be younger, between the ages of 25 and 35, a sign that young people are increasingly being attracted to them,” said Maria Ropero-Ortiz, former senior brand manager of Glenfiddich, according to The spirits business. “It’s a fantastic position for the category, but there’s still a long way to go before single malts reach the growth volumes of traditional ‘powerful’ spirits categories such as vodka and gin.” Of course, both of these spirits are known to be much more accessible and feature heavily on the party circuit, i.e. the number of people under 40 who tend to drink.

In Miami, Bianca tells us that there isn’t really a whiskey culture, but the community that she has been instrumental in creating is what makes her so passionate. Whiskey people are good people. So not only does Bianca enjoy drinking it, getting to know it, and discovering new varieties of whiskey, but she also enjoys doing those same things alongside people who are equally fascinated by the nuances of whiskey and its long history across the whole world. .

Just over half a decade after starting Scotch Society 305, Bianca tells us that its members are now about 40% women, many of whom identify as Latina. Interestingly though, Bianca says it’s actually other women who judge her more on her preference for dark liquors.

Perhaps the lack of knowledge and snobbery within whiskey culture is part of why many are put off trying. We asked Bianca to share some of her top tips for new whiskey drinkers and Latinas who would like to try. Here’s what she had to say:

“Don’t go for fads.” There will always be trendy bottles lining big city bars and filling your Instagram feeds. Bianca says these whiskeys won’t necessarily be your thing. Give it a try and if you like it, keep drinking it and look for whiskeys with similar flavor profiles. If not, move on. Don’t try to force yourself to like a whiskey just because a fad tells you you should.

“Age doesn’t mean it’s better.” Many bottles of Scotch have the number of years the alcohol has aged, i.e. the time it has spent in an untapped cask, prominently displayed on the front. If you’re new to whiskey, you’ll probably be confused by these numbers. According to Bianca though, it doesn’t really matter. She says an older whiskey is not necessarily the best tasting whiskey. Sure, it sounds fancy to say you like the 18-year-old single barrel, but you might actually prefer the 12, and it’s okay to admit it.

“To ask questions.” Most good bartenders will be happy to tell you about whiskey. Befriend the bartender at your favorite bar and recruit him to help you find out more. At a bare minimum, Bianca says they should let you look at a bottle so you can see exactly what you’re drinking and how it’s described by the distiller, so if you like it you can search for similar whiskeys and if not, you will know.

“It’s all about trust.” Whether you know a little or a lot about whiskey, or even next to nothing, be confident when ordering or even just asking questions so you can order. And never, ever get in the way when someone – the bartender, a friend or even a colleague – assumes you’ve ordered the white wine, but the Indian single malt, neat, thank you very much, is actually the your.