Welcome to the Whisk(e)y Warrior Award!
On the first of every month, someone is awarded the prodigious title of Whisk(e)y Warrior. A question and answer interview is conducted with the valiant warrior, and then distributed to the world! What is a Whisk(e)y Warrior? Find out more by clicking here.
And now, we proudly present your Whisk(e)y Warriors.
They’re a husband and wife whiskey team. A two-fisted knockout punch. A rag tag bluesy bourbon duo. They’re two cool cats killin’ it in the city of soul. They walk a mean bourbon street, literally. They are…
Tracy and Barbara Napolitano, Whisk(e)y Warriors!
Zac: Tell me a little bit about yourselves. Where are you from? Where’ve you been?
Barbara: I’m an air force brat, raised in North Louisiana. Moved around a little bit and then ended up in New Orleans about 25 years ago.
Tracy: So, I was born and raised in New Orleans, I’ve been here my whole life except for the six months that I had to leave after Katrina because my job required me to travel and I needed an airport so I lived in Houston for six months. Other than that, that was the only time I’ve lived outside of Louisiana.
Zac: How did you two meet each other?
Barbara: We met in a very funny situation. He had a friend that he worked with that did these happy hour events and my best friend and her husband were in town and knew the person he worked with and said “Hey Barb do you want to go with us?” and I said “Yeah I’ll go with you.” And Tracy was there and he was talking with someone and I didn’t quite agree with what he was saying…
Tracy: It was politics.
Barbara: It was politics, so I went over and told him that he was not very smart.
Tracy: She did.
Barbara: I did. And we’ve pretty much been together ever since. That was about 11 years ago.
Tracy: A little more than a year later we got married.
Zac: Tracy, how long do you and whiskey go back?
Tracy: My bourbon journey began back in the mid to late 80’s when I started working in a bar. Well, I actually started out as a DJ and the first thing they do is initiate every new employee by throwing down shots of Wild Turkey 101. They make you do the gobble gobble sound. That was kind of how my bourbon journey got started. I’ve been drinking bourbon ever since. And then I would say 12-15 years ago I started collecting and when Barb and I got married she was such a good sport. And now we have, I would say, getting near the 700-bottle mark.
Zac: Wow! That’s quite a collection. Now Barbara what about you? What’s your whiskey history?
Barbara: Well I was always a Scotch drinker since I was in my 20’s probably because my father was one and I always liked to do what he did. But my dad also collected decanter bottles of all sorts of different bourbons and you know he had the Beam train and had cars and things and so it was always a part of my life growing up. So, when Tracy and I got married and he started collecting, I kind of…you know there’s really not a whole lot of room on the bar for anything but bourbon.
Tracy: We’ve got a couple bottles of Scotch.
Barbara: Well yeah. But mostly it’s bourbon so little by little I kind of worked my way into it.
Zac: Totally off whiskey topic, but a question for both of you individually; if you could pick one song as your life’s theme song, what would it be?
Barbara: Well it’s funny because Tracy and my song that we danced to at our wedding would probably work. What a Wonderful World would be mine, by Louis Armstrong.
Zac: Very nice. How about you Tracy?
Tracy: You know I want to say that’s the same song for me as well. It’s one of my favorite songs. Louis Armstrong is from New Orleans and you know I love everything New Orleans. So yeah, I’m going to say it’s the same song.
Zac: Back on whiskey. Now, Barbara, you’re part of a podcast, am I correct?
Barbara: I am. I’m with the Bourbon Bettys on the ABV Network.
Zac: Can you tell me just a little bit about the show? Who are your cohosts and what is it about?
Barbara: Renée is a regular on the ABV Network and Katie Garrett is the owner of the Old Hickory Bar in Florida, in Pensacola. Katie, Renée and I talk on the show about bourbon news, which I do. And we do an educational segment on the show that Katie does. And then we have a topic of the week. So it might be who our favorite people in the bourbon world are. It might be what we thought about tasting Pappy Van Winkle this year and what that was like. Just a different topic. We might interview some people. But it’s just about a half an hour of three women who are in the whiskey and bourbon world that can talk about it and hopefully people will listen.
Tracy: I can tell you that they’ve been the 9th rated bourbon podcast for the last few weeks on iTunes.
Zac: Oh, wow that’s awesome! Thank you for that detail.
Zac: Tracy, I want to switch over to you. What are you doing in the world of whiskey currently?
Tracy: My whiskey world revolves around Bourbon Fest and putting on this event. And you know looking at ways to create other events that benefit local charities in New Orleans but surrounded with the bourbon theme. And that’s kind of the mission of our company, is we want to put on other events that support the charity.
Zac: That’s awesome. I’m super happy for you guys and I’m so excited to see a great event like that taking off. If I was visiting New Orleans, what whiskey bar or restaurant would you recommend?
Zac: Thanks for the recommendation! Thank you both for taking the time for this interview, and many thanks for all the ways you’re contributing to the whiskey community!
The next award will be released April 1st. We’ll see you then, and remember to nominate your favorite Whisk(e)y Warriors by clicking here!
— Zac Smith