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:
 
Game of Thrones & Johnnie Walker are Releasing a White Walker Scotch

Game of Thrones & Johnnie Walker are Releasing a White Walker Scotch

HBO's hugely popular fantasy show won't return for its final season until April 2019, but in the meantime, Gam...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 12, 2018
Snoop Dogg Mixes World's Largest Gin and Juice

Snoop Dogg Mixes World's Largest Gin and Juice

Snoop Dogg, rapper and huge fan of gin mixed with orange juice, took the stage at the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival to mix up one of the large...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Jun 11, 2018
Behind the Bar: Amanda Victoria of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

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

For this installment of Behind the Bar, we spoke to Amanda Victoria, the current Communications Director for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in America...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 22, 2018
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Where to Drink on Memorial Day Weekend 2018 in Portland

Where to Drink on Memorial Day Weekend 2018 in Portland

There are a few opportunities for Memorial Day activities. Here are our picks for celebrating the day of remembrance for those who have fallen. ...read more ›

by Alexander Frane May 22, 2018
Where to Drink Outside in Portland During Summer 2018

Where to Drink Outside in Portland During Summer 2018

Summer is officially on its way, and restaurant and bars patios are swarming with sun-deprived Portlanders....read more ›

by Alexander Frane May 15, 2018
A Major U.S. Grocery Chain is Selling Bottled Mimosas for Under $10 All Summer

A Major U.S. Grocery Chain is Selling Bottled Mimosas for Under $10 All Summer

Everybody loves a cool, refreshing mimosa during the summertime, and now, Aldi has made it even easier with th...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 15, 2018
Smirnoff Debuts Low Calorie Rose Sparkling Seltzer

Smirnoff Debuts Low Calorie Rose Sparkling Seltzer

If the other rose-infused products we've covered haven’t satiated your rose thirst, Smirnoff just debuted its own take on the trend with its Raspbe...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio May 15, 2018
Where to Treat Your Mom This Mother's Day in Portland

Where to Treat Your Mom This Mother's Day in Portland

Though generally not the booziest of holidays, Mother's Day is one the busiest brunch days for any restaurant....read more ›

by Alexander Frane May 8, 2018
Disney Just Got More Magical Thanks to its New Bourbon Trail

Disney Just Got More Magical Thanks to its New Bourbon Trail

Disney Springs in Florida has introduced a bourbon trail for the summer, which launched on May 1 and runs through June 17....read more ›

by Alexander Frane May 8, 2018
Celebrate Deadpool 2's Release with Pop-Up Bars & Branded Hard Lemonade Cans

Celebrate Deadpool 2's Release with Pop-Up Bars & Branded Hard Lemonade Cans

Fox's most successful (and crudest) superhero movie, Deadpool, is getting a sequel on May 18, but before then,...read more ›

by Alexander Frane May 8, 2018
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Home Bar Project Rectangle
View all Articles

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

Close