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For Mother's Day—All About Women.
Bourbon from Boss Molly, Chef Nana, and Wines from Naidu
Happy Friday my friends,
Today’s edition of the Strong Buzz is all about women—three making bourbon, one in the kitchen, and one making wine. Have a read!
Boss Molly Bourbon
Three women who met at a poker game are behind Boss Molly, a gorgeous new bourbon that’s finished in brandy staves. As the story goes, after a few hands of Hold ‘Em and more than a few glasses of bourbon, they got to talking and convinced each other that they could make a bourbon that would “make seasoned bourbon drinkers do a double take and make first timers sit up and say, “Whoa. I didn’t realize bourbon could taste so amazing.”
The founders are Brandi Bowles, “a Kentucky girl who’s got grain in her veins;” Kate Rosante who’s “been pouring drinks in her family’s home bar since before she could ride a bike,” and Victoria Horn, “who’s got a palette so perfect it would make Annie Oakley drop her Winchester.” Together, they’ve put their blood, sweat and tears into every bottle.
Friends, this is damn good bourbon. Named after the ranch term for a “stubborn female mule,” this 90-proof bourbon is crafted in small batches and finished with toasted wood from brandy barrels. Here’s a cool little detail: it’s poured into the barrels at 100 proof rather than 125, giving it a creamier feel and a smoother finish.
It’s aged in American oak for four years, distilled in North Carolina, and bottled in Tennessee. It has upfront notes of butterscotch, citrus and vanilla, and finishes with some leather and spice. It’s smooth as silk and I loved it. I drank it neat and had it in a cocktail I like to make at home just with some fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters, shaken and poured over ice. Loved it both ways. I hope you do too.
Chef Nana Wilmot Residency
Chef Nana started cooking at age seven with her grandmother who gave her a love of cooking for others. After graduating with two degrees in Culinary Arts and Culinary Management at The Art Institute of Philadelphia in 2013, Nana went on to work for Wolfgang Puck Catering and Iron Chef Jose Garces’ restaurants. She moved to New York as opening crew for Garces’ FiDi location in 2016.
Nana went on to work at Le Coucou, the Steven Starr restaurant collaboration with Chef Daniel Rose in Soho that garnered a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in 2017, and 1 Michelin star in 2018, and then worked with Chef Marie Rose at Le Mercerie while picking up bartending at YN Bar in Nolita.
In February 2020, Chef Nana accepted a job in Paris to work at La Bourse et La Vie by Daniel Rose, but the pandemic brought her back to Philadelphia where she started Love That I Knead Supperclub, a West African focused dinner series celebrating Black history and food ways across the African diaspora.
At O Studio, her a la carte menu reflects her passion for creating food that reflects her heritage: Kelewele Tostones with palm oil aioli and black eyed pea hummus; Tomato and Stone Fruit salad with Jollof Vinaigrette; Charred Okra and Egusi Peanut Granola with basil aioli; West African Shrimp and “grits” with head-on shrimp, red gravy and Fonio “grits;” Roasted Whole Tilapia for two with green peppers and onions and Eba (pounded cassava); Pounded African Yam and Sweet Potato Cake with collard greens and smoked turkey jus, and Plantain Upside Down Cake with Coconut and Baobab Glaze. Reservations can be made on Resy.
I don’t know about you, but I love wine and drink quite a lot of it, but I’ve never had a wine made by an Indian woman before this week, when I learned about Naidu Wines, the first Indian immigrant female founded and operated winery in the United States.
Raghni Naidu, the founder of Naidu, was born in Punjab and moved to Melbourne when she was 18. There, she fell in love with a guy named Kaushick Naidu, from Chennai, India. They married and immigrated to the States in San Francisco where they had two kids and began a life together. Raghni had always been passionate about wine and the farm-to-table movement, and when she stumbled on a plot of Pinot Noir vineyards, Naidu was born.
The wine is certified sustainable, situated on the Sonoma Coast in stunning Blucher Valley on fine sandy loam soil. The terroir’s distinct coastal influence — brief windows of warmth during the middle of the day moderated by cooling ocean breezes in the early afternoons — make it ideal for the finicky Pinot Noir grapes to thrive and produce super delicious wines.
Raghni makes single vineyard, single varietal wines from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast including a rosé of Pinot Noir, a Viognier, a sparkling (from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier), a Grenache Blanc, four different Pinot Noirs as well as a Cab Franc. I’ve been loving them and think you will too. Her wines are served at Single Thread Farms, Little Saint Healdsburg, and more. Order some online or check into one of her wine club options.