Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are

Behind the Bar: Amanda Victoria of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

by The Drink Nation on May 22, 2018 in Culture

 
For this installment of Behind the Bar, we spoke to Amanda Victoria, the current Communications Director for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in America. Though she has been in this position since 2016, she has taught wine, cocktail, and spirits education, has traveled the world, and has worked for legendary bars in New York City. Currently a resident of Brooklyn, we talked to Victoria about how she got into scotch, why she loves it so much, and her favorite places to drink in New York City.
 
The Drink Nation (TDN): Can you give us a brief overview of where you’re worked?
Amanda Victoria (AV): I’ve worked for most major spirit companies in the states such as Remy Cointreau, William Grant & Sons, Bacardi, and Moet Hennessy. My roles have been national, which makes for a lot of travel, and have all largely been based around education and media. Currently I work with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society as their Communications Director. Formerly, I specialized in French spirit education, working with Lillet, St-Germain, Cointreau and Grand Marnier. I’ve also worked at some of the “world’s best bars” early on, including PDT and Pegu Club in New York City.
 
TDN: How did you get your start?
AV: I graduated college during a recession having predominantly studied screenwriting, French cinema and media production (as well as advertising and marketing), so I was quite out of luck when it came to traditional employment. I turned 21 as a cocktail waitress at Pegu Club in New York City many moons ago, toasting with a 2 oz. shot of Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof Whiskey (which I went on to name my dog after). The rest, I guess, is history.
 
TDN: Describe a typical workday. 
AV: I’ve spent so much time traveling for work that there are no typical workdays, which is just how I like it. When I’m home I prefer to work from home – I’m up cycling or running as the sun comes up and talking to my plants, and then I’ll check in on emails and social media, write for various columns pertaining to spirits education, and often review whisky and other spirits in the evening. Other days, I’m shooting video or hosting events. My work revolves mostly around media and education, and I absolutely love it.
 
TDN: Who are some industry professionals you’ve learned from or who have influenced you?
AV: Audrey Saunders, the brainchild proprietor behind Pegu Club in New York City, is my original mentor. I feel like I should have paid for the training I received under her, when in reality it was work. I’ve learned a lot recently from the younger generation of bartenders – they keep me sharp!
 
TDN: Why scotch whiskey? What's special about it?
AV: Where to begin?! Scotch whisky is like the wine of the spirits world, since it is nearly as vast in flavor and style – I believe there is definitely a Scotch out there for everyone’s liking. It’s a true journey and sensory experience built around occasions, experiences, and memories to be made. The brooding writer in me loves whisky in solitude for contemplation, but I also love a beach bonfire dram with friends! Whisky is all about range. And there’s always the bottom line - it’s so delicious!
 
TDN: Any predictions about where the industry might go next, or what trends we'll see soon?
AV: My hopes always with spirit trends are to bring the pretension down and to make quality spirits more accessible. I’m not a teacher that likes to stump the student, and as a student, I don’t want to feel bad for asking the basic questions. I hope to invite new imbibers to whisky by making it less intimidating and focusing more on the flavor of what’s in the glass.
 
 
TDN: Favorite beer?
AV: I like my beers deconstructed… so basically whisky highballs.
 
TDN: Favorite liquor?
AV: An elegant Islay whisky.
 
TDN: Favorite cocktail?
AV: Spritz! If I’m drinking a cocktail these days it’s got to be hydrating, refreshing and contain little to no added sugar. I’m a big fan of cocktails that use honey, as well as highballs.
 
TDN: You’ve traveled extensively for your job. What’s one of your favorite travel experiences?
AV: Islay, Scotland and Reims, France are old school favorites. I miss having Napa Valley in my backyard, as well. I greatly enjoy nature, vineyards, open fields, wild animals, bare feet, and so on.
 
TDN: What do you think the essentials are for a good home bar?
AV: Whisky.
 
TDN: Where do you go for a drink when you’re not working, and what bartenders do you always visit?
AV: Clover Club in Brooklyn, by the fireplace, to see Julie Reiner, the queen of Smith Street. Don’t call ahead for that seating, just cross your fingers and hope I’m not already there. Don’t tell Julie I wrote this.
 
TDN: If you could have a drink with any person, living or dead, who would it be, what would you drink, and why?
AV: An Islay dram in matching kilts by the fireplace with a Scotsman by the name of Sam Heughan to chat about all things fitness and whisky.
 
Photos via Amanda Victoria
Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Miller High Life is Now Available in Champagne Bottles

Miller High Life is Now Available in Champagne Bottles

Miller High Life, commonly known as the 'Champagne of Beers,' is now available in actual champagne bottles for a limited run during the holiday season...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 13, 2018
Jack Daniels is Making a Whiskey Advent Calendar For the Holiday Season

Jack Daniels is Making a Whiskey Advent Calendar For the Holiday Season

Jack Daniels has debuted a boozy advent calendar filled with, naturally, whiskey, just in time for the holiday...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 13, 2018
Drinks Decoded: Hot Buttered Rum

Drinks Decoded: Hot Buttered Rum

In this series, we take a closer look at well-known cocktails. This week's Drinks Decoded takes on the Hot Buttered Rum....read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Nov 12, 2018
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Behind the Bar: Jason Wise, Director of the SOMM Documentary Film Series

Behind the Bar: Jason Wise, Director of the SOMM Documentary Film Series

For this installment of Behind the Bar, we spoke to Jason Wise, documentary filmmaker and director of the new ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 31, 2018
Where to Drink in D.C.'s Navy Yard

Where to Drink in D.C.'s Navy Yard

One of the city's fastest growing neighborhoods, Navy Yard is home to a plethora of bars and restaurants with more on the horizon. Here are our picks ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Oct 29, 2018
Beam Suntory Has Launched a Japanese Vodka & Gin

Beam Suntory Has Launched a Japanese Vodka & Gin

Beam Suntory, one of the largest producers of both American and Japanese whiskeys in the world, has introduced two new clear spirits to its lineup: Ha...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 29, 2018
You Can Now Minor in Bourbon at This Kentucky University

You Can Now Minor in Bourbon at This Kentucky University

Thanks to the booming bourbon tourism industry in Kentucky, the state's Midway University now offers a minor in Bourbon Studies as part of their under...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 29, 2018
You Can Make Your Own Whiskey at This Virginia Beach Hotel

You Can Make Your Own Whiskey at This Virginia Beach Hotel

If you've always wanted to make your own whiskey, you're in luck - a hotel in Virginia Beach is letting guests make their own barrels of whiskey....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 15, 2018
Bono Has Purchased a Stake in a New Irish Whiskey Distillery

Bono Has Purchased a Stake in a New Irish Whiskey Distillery

Lots of celebrities have been partnering with distilleries lately, and now, U2's Bono is the latest star to form a partnership with a liquor company....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 15, 2018
Drink Locally at These DC Distilleries

Drink Locally at These DC Distilleries

Get into the local spirit by discovering some of DC's craft distilleries and the products made right here in the nation's capital. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Oct 15, 2018
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close