How can you combine delicious drinks and female content? Make cocktails using ingredients from producers with women at the helm, obviously!

This month the LCBO is shining a spotlight on women master blenders, winemakers and brewmasters as well as their brands. They are also promoting the Spirit of Inclusion initiative to encourage more women to enter the field. If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing a career in the alcoholic beverage industry, the LCBO has created The Spirit of Inclusion program to help break barriers and allow diverse women to enter and thrive within the industry. They currently have scholarships and bursaries open to women located in Ontario and you can find more information about the program here. (The art work above for Spirit of Inclusion was made by Rachel Joanis.)

Additionally, if you just want to enjoy the work of women who are already leaders in the field, read on!

Joy Spence at Appleton Estate Rum

Joy Spence, Master Blender at Appleton Estate
Joy Spence, Master Blender at Appleton Estate

Joy Spence joined the premium Jamaican rum brand as Chief Chemist in 1982. In 1997, she gained the title of Master Blender – significantly, this made her the first woman to hold this position in the spirits industry globally. Joy has been at the forefront of developing some of the world’s best-in-class rums, and she has been officially recognized by the Jamaican Government for her contributions to the rum craft in addition to representing Jamaican excellence. She is a true pioneer and a celebrated trailblazer in a male-dominated field. Over her 40-year career, Joy has been at the forefront of creating the blends that make Appleton Estate the premium brand it is today.

Try Appleton Estate Rum in a Jamaican Daiquiri

2 oz Appleton Estate Rum

3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 oz simple syrup or demerara syrup

lime twist

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lime twist.

Kirsteen Campbell at Macallan


Kirsteen Campbell
Kirsteen Campbell, Master Whisky Maker at Macallan

Kirsteen Campbell is the first woman to hold the title of Master Whisky Maker and is , without a doubt, breaking barriers with the historic and iconic Scotch whisky brand, Macallan. She had always hoped to be a part of the food industry one day and became fascinated with the world of whisky, especially through chemical analysis, quality control and sensory work. It is important to realize that Kirsteen, one of the most important decision makers at Macallan , is blazing a new trail for women in the beverage industry.

Try Macallan in a Garden of Legacy

40ml Double Cask 12 Years Old

30ml  pink grapefruit juice

10ml simple syrup

Pinch of sea salt

Soda or tonic

Pink grapefruit wedge

Fill a collins glass with ice. Add the Macallan, grapefruit juice, simple syrup and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine the flavours. Top with soda water or tonic and garnish with a wedge of pink graefruit.

Dr. Emma Walker at Johnnie Walker

Emma Walker
Emma Walker, Master Blender at Johnnie Walker

Dr. Emma Walker is the first female Master Blender in the more than two centuries that Johnnie Walker has been making scotch. She says of her new role, “I love experimenting and innovating with flavour, and we’ll be working hard to not only continue to deliver the unrivaled quality that we are renowned for but also introducing blends to appeal to a new generation of scotch lovers.” When we interviewed Emma, we learned that one of her favourite classic cocktails is a whisky Negroni (also known as a Boulevardier). We heartily endorse this choice!

read my interview with Walker here

Try Johnnie Walker Black Label in a Whisky Negroni

1 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label

1 oz sweet vermouth

1 oz Campari

orange twist

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir to chill and dilute (about 30 seconds). Strain into a rocks glass and serve with a king cube. Garnish with an orange twist.


Other women at the helm:

Eboni Major, Bulleit Frontier Whisky Blender

Joanna Scandella, Master Blender at Crown Royal

Maureen Robinson, Master Blender at Ron Zacapa

Cecile Roudaut, Master Blender at St. Remy. (Check out our cocktail made with St. Remy here.)

Cheers to the women who make these spirits, who, indeed, blaze trails for others and who want to take their own places in the storied houses!