Editor’s note: Women Making an Impact is a series of articles that highlights successful women in the industry. If you would like to nominate someone for recognition please send submissions to Kristen Santoro at email@example.com.
Getting her start at famous cocktail bar Milk & Honey, Christy Pope, co-founder of Cuffs & Buttons an international consultant company, had a natural talent for the drink-making industry.
“I didn’t necessarily set out to work behind a bar,” she says, “but I think it’s pretty common that people fall behind the bar.”
Pope moved to New York from Florida to try her hand at the music industry, but she lost her passion. A stop at Milk & Honey for a drink ended with her as a cocktail waitress, and eventually led to her jumping behind the bar after two years. “Being on the floor, I wanted to recommend things to guests so I would go home and study old bar books,” she says. “Then I developed a passion for cocktails and craftsmanship of cocktails.”
In addition to Milk & Honey, Christy worked at the Cellar Bar in the Bryant Park hotel. Christy also sharpened her consulting skills by working with the elite beverage-consulting agency, Liquid Relations. As a consultant, Christy has developed cocktails, conducted spirit, history, and technique trainings, and traveled the globe installing beverage programs for clients such as Fairmont Hotels, Sofitel Hotels, and Viceroy Hotels.
Her experience at the cocktail bar and consulting sparked her latent passion. In 2006, Pope and her partners Chad Solomon and Sasha Petraske created Cuffs & Buttons, a craft cocktail consultant company.
“It’s interesting; there are more women (in the industry) now than when I first started. I was lucky because Audrey Saunders had already blazed a great trail and so had Julie Reiner—two huge female figures in the craft cocktail community to look up to,” Pope explains.
Pope says that being a woman has allowed her to bring a “feminine touch” to the industry. But, she says, for the industry to thrive, there needs to be both men and women. “I feel like there are really great female bartenders in the industry right now,” she says. “There are definitely plenty of ladies out there doing great work.”
Christy is a graduate of the inaugural class of the esteemed Beverage Alcohol Resource-spirits and mixology program. She is recognized by her peers in the beverage industry and presents annually at the Tales of the Cocktail and Starchefs conferences. With Cuffs & Buttons, she was nominated for Daily Candy’s “Sweetie” award in 2007, honored with Food & Wine’s “100 must tastes of 2007,” and the “Trendsetter of the Year” award in 2008 by Modern Bride. Christy has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Robb Report, Imbibe Magazine, Food & Wine Magazine, Modern Bride, Lucky, and Gotham.
Cuffs & Buttons has extensive experience in developing beverage programs for hotels, bars, and restaurants worldwide. Whether for a start-up or for an existing operation, they can develop a creative beverage program that will be unique to your property and will retain long-term results. They specialize in education and training, product sourcing and implementation, and designing a cost-conscious beverage program that delivers an optimal bottom line.