The Dame Hall of Fame has officially rebranded to Tales of the Cocktail Catalyst Luncheon. To celebrate Women’s History Month, the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation team sat down with our board member and Dame Hall of Fame Inductee, Tess Posthumus, to discuss how the rebranding helps to amplify the visibility of all who identify as women, including trans women, and gender-nonconforming people in our industry.
Founded in 2012, Dame Hall of Fame created an opportunity for women in the industry to come together and celebrate accomplishments not commonly recognized by other bar awards. While this intention has not changed, it has been broadened to divest from the gender binary.
The reframe has been several years in the making and is based on feedback from the collective of past inductees who hope to make this a supportive space for all current and future members. By introducing the Catalyst Luncheon, the group has not only positioned itself as a collective of diverse changemakers, but also as a catalyst for the industry to continue inspiring their peers!
What is your favorite thing about Tales of the Cocktail®?
There are too many to name. But let’s just pick one, which is networking. Tales is the only event globally where everybody crosses the ponds from Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa… People come from all over to go to America and we all meet, network and hang out at Tales. Obviously there are other industry events during the year, but those only have people from their own continents. So you have some things in Europe, some things in Asia, etc. But Tales is the only one where the global industry really gets to connect. So that’s for me, always very important.
How does the Catalyst Luncheon serve to support women in the industry, and how is changing the name from Dame Hall of Fame to Catalyst Luncheon increase inclusivity for this group as a whole?
For me, changing the name increases the inclusivity for the group as a whole by not only focusing on women, but also including trans women and gender nonconforming people. It’s also important for me personally because I’m a lesbian woman. I didn’t really feel comfortable with the label of “dame.” For me, “dame” translates down to a bit more of a posh woman, and I’m more of a tomboy. So, changing the name and getting rid of the word “dame” and making it a “Catalyst Luncheon” opens it up to people who are not just women, but everybody who we need to reach and recognize in the drinks industry.
What does the road ahead look like to you for continuing to make Tales of the Cocktail Catalyst Luncheon a more inclusive space?
The road ahead looks like focusing on the global scope of the global drinks industry. I think opening it up to people who do not solely identify as women is step one. Step two, which we’re already doing, is we’re always honoring one person from America and one person from an international country. But I do think that focusing on the global industry is important as the world is big. Tales wants to be a global international event. And America is also big, but there’s so much more to discover and so many people do amazing work we have yet to honor.
What do you think of when you hear the word “intersectionality”?
I think it’s important that we are very much aware of the factors that can benefit you or have disadvantaged you regarding your gender assigned to you at birth, your sex, your race, your sexual orientation, your religion, any disability, your physical appearances, your class and so on. I think it’s very important to be aware of it and to see how these overlap and how this creates advantages and disadvantages for people and groups of people.
What are some contributions that women and non-binary people have made in the drinks industry that stand out to you?
There are too many for this small blog post! And that’s exactly why we need a Catalyst Luncheon because there are so many great things happening around the world. Just to name two, the first one being a woman: Judy Reiner is always top of mind with me because she has been such an inspiration and an example for me throughout the years as being a woman in this industry, being a badass bartender and bar owner, but also a lesbian woman with a partner and a wife and a kid. Which is obviously an example for me personally, as well. And a non-binary person to first come to mind is Chris Cabrera who is an amazing person and also doing so much good work creating visibility. I think creating visibility is one of the most important things for our industry. But, there’s so many people to name in just one post. I encourage you to nominate those people who inspire you.
How can the drinks industry serve to support, strengthen, and vitalize women, trans people, and non-binary people?
Well, let’s not put it up to discussion but let’s just agree that it’s a human right to be able to be yourself regarding your gender, your sexuality, your sex, all of that. So, I agree that it’s a human right to be who you are and love who you want to love and feel that you have a place in our industry. To support women, trans people, and non-binary people in the drinks industry, I think it’s important to focus on making them more visible and our support more visible. If there is no example to see you don’t know what’s possible. So going back to my example of people being visible like Chris Cabrera– I think the flag they’re waving is very important. As an industry, I think it’s very important to focus on being visible and openly supportive to be a true ally. So speak out and speak up when needed.
ABOUT TESS POSTHUMUS
Tess Posthumus is a bartender, bar owner and freelance hospitality professional. She travels around the globe and owns two bars in Amsterdam: Flying Dutchmen Cocktails & Dutch Courage, where she and her team mixes the most delicious cocktails, while focussing on building a true cocktail culture in the Netherlands.
Tess Posthumus studied Media & Culture at the University of Amsterdam and completed her Sociology Masters in 2014. During her studies, Tess worked in the hospitality industry where she fell in love with the wonderful world of mixology. For eight years she worked at one of the best bars in the world: Door 74 in Amsterdam. Her talent hasn’t gone unnoticed, as Tess won several national and international competitions. She turned the side job into a professional career and travels around the world as a freelance hospitality professional.
In 2017 Tess opened her own cocktail bar together with Timo Janse, called Flying Dutchmen Cocktails. Here she and her team aim to build a true cocktail culture in the Netherlands by focussing on (neo-)classic cocktails while running an extensive education program for guests and the Dutch hospitality industry. In August 2020 her second bar opened its doors, Dutch Courage on the Zeedijk in Amsterdam. This new bar focuses on Dutch spirits and its heritage, with genever in particular.
When she’s not running her bars, Tess is an in-demand hospitality consultant, is a member of the Tales of the Cocktail board of directors, (co-)owner of Perfect Serve Barshow Amsterdam and Amsterdam Cocktail Week. She wrote the two books ‘Cocktails with Tess’ & ‘Masterclass: Cocktails’, writes a monthly column for Drinks International magazine, owns her own set of ‘The Collection’ bar tools and her third book about genever will soon be published.