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Kayleigh enjoying one of her favorite cocktails, a Sazerac.

I used to be the sort of girl who never doubted what she wanted in life but instantly managed to lose my way at a bar (think ordering Creamsicles, a horrendous concoction of orange juice and whipped cream vodka). Through a serendipitous trip to Kentucky shortly after quitting a corporate job I hated with no real backup plan, I schooled herself in spirits and became determined to drink as fresh and refined as I ate. I learned to adore 18 year-old scotches, añejo tequila neat, and rye Manhattans, garnering respect at the bar and graduating to a new level of culinary refinement. That is, despite getting surprised looks from bartenders and bargoers alike because I was a woman. I’m now dedicated to empowering women everywhere to embrace, learn about and consume better booze through my book, Booze for Babes: the Smart Woman’s Guide to Drinking Spirits Right. My job is to keep you from ever serving bottled margarita mix, choosing an unpure pisco, or ruining a good, aged rum with Coke, among other scandalous things.

Prior to taking up booze for a living, I was a business reporter for Post-Newsweek and then a journalist for outlets such as the Travel Channel, Travel + Leisure, the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, San Antonio Express-News, Wine Enthusiast, the Daily Meal, Caribbean Travel and Life, Wine & Spirits, AARP The Magazine, and more. My work has taken me all over the world, from riding a camel in Morocco, to backpacking Croatia, cliff diving in Honduras, and obsessing over malbec in Buenos Aires. I love this because a lady’s gotta live it up, and my work gives me an opportunity to spread that joie de vivre all over the place. I was formerly an incognito inspector for Forbes Travel Guide, in which I traveled all over the world to evaluate luxury hotels, restaurants and spas for coveted star ratings.

I really like learning stuff, too. I hold a bachelor’s from New York University, a real estate salesperson license, PADI scuba certification, United States Bartenders Guild D.C. membership, Award T certification from the Consejo Regulador del Tequila. This year I’m working toward master mezcalier certification, which is recognized by the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM) and COMERCAM (Consejo Mexicano Regulador de la Calidad del Mezcal). Follow my gallivants on Instagram in real time.