This week, Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) launches their 6th annual list of historic cocktails worth saving. The drinks, which will be featured at Kelly's Bar and Lounge in East Liberty for the next year, are being released as part of a celebration marking the end of Women's History Month.
The list of classic cocktails is chosen by founding member Jen Gottschalk and voted on by the group. Gottschalk — who is known within LUPEC as "Whiskey Daisy" — says, "I have a nice collection of new 'classic cocktail' bartender's guides, and I have a collection of really old bartender's guides. I'll flip through there, try to go through a good cross-section of styles and ingredients."
The group tends to favor obscure cocktails, though they sometimes mix in a few better-known classics. This year's list includes: The Matador, a tequila cocktail mixed with pineapple and lime juice; Black Velvet, a 50/50 mix of stout and champagne created to commemorate the death of Prince Albert; French 75, a classic made with gin, lemon juice and simple syrup, then topped with a champagne floater; The Last Word, a Prohibition-era cocktail that combines equal parts gin, chartreuse, maraschino liquor and lime juice; Salty Dog, vodka and grapefruit juice served in a glass with a salted rim; and Old Fashioned, an American classic of bourbon, bitters, sugar, water and a twist of orange or lemon.
LUPEC was founded in 2001, with a mission to combine feminism with cocktail preservation. The concept has proved popular, and there are now at least 20 decentralized chapters of cocktail enthusiasts in other cities — including London. But "we are the mother ship," says Jennie Benford (who goes by "Black Monday"; LUPEC members pick code names based on historical cocktails).
"The idea behind LUPEC is that feminism is a form of celebration," explains Benford. What's more, she adds, "People seem a lot more open to learning about feminism when you're giving them drinks."