What if I were to tell you that currently women only make up around 25 per cent of the UK bartending population? A penis is not an integral part of a mixologist’s tool kit (at least we hope it’s not), and in the US women make up 60 per cent of mixologists. So why are there so few women behind our Brit bars?

Last year, Mr Lyan, aka Ryan Chetiyawardana, of White Lyan and Dandelyan fame, acknowledged the industry’s gender disparity. “It can be a bit dick-swinging,” he admitted. “A lot of girls aren’t as lost in the bravado of it. They just don’t feel the need to show off in the same way [as men], but there are so many incredible female bartenders out there.”

Wise words indeed, and today, ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, we’re showcasing some of the UK’s best and brightest female mixologists, celebrating their mastery by furnishing you with not one, but five (count ’em) delectable cocktails to get your weekend off to a swinging start.

Andrea Montague (Bulleit) gives us the lowdown on the classic Mint Julep and introduces us to the deliciously monikered Bananavardier; Georgie Bell (Mortlach) acquaints us with the zingy Enlightenment; Naomi Fletcher (Foxlow) throws down the gauntlet with the Ultimate Gimlet; and Rachael Crozier-Clucas (Hawksmoor) delivers La Ultima Palabra (The Last Word).

So here’s to you, pioneering women – long may you continue getting us good and drunk.

Andrea Montague’s Mint Julep (Serves 2)

Ingredients

60ml Bulleit bourbon
20ml simple sugar syrup (equal parts caster sugar and hot water – allow to cool before using)
10 mint leaves

To Serve

Crushed ice
Frosted julep tin/silver cup
Sprig of mint to garnish

Instructions

  1. Place the mint leaves in the julep tin and, using a spoon, gently bruise them.
  2. Add the crushed ice, bourbon and sugar syrup, and churn using a cocktail stirrer, making sure to drag the mint through the drink.
  3. Top with crushed ice and a sprig of mint to garnish.

Shopping list…
“Bulleit bourbon has a high rye content which gives it a spicy flavour and big black pepper notes, meaning it is not as sweet as other options out there. If you were to use Bulleit rye, it would provide more herbaceous citrus notes. Use bourbon if you want it to be more punchy, and rye if you want it to be more citrusy.”

From delicious to stratospheric…
“Good quality ingredients alongside a good quality bourbon like Bulleit. People often overlook the importance of quality ice, too. If you’re not using fresh ice, it’s going to melt, go watery and look like pond water.”

Andrea Montague's Mint Julep (Serves 2)

Andrea Montague’s Bananavardier (Serves 2)

Ingredients

70ml Bulleit bourbon
30ml banana liqueur
30ml sweet vermouth
20ml Campari

To Serve

Chilled rocks glass
Ice cubes
Sweetshop foam banana to garnish

Instructions

  1. Add the bourbon, banana liqueur, vermouth and Campari to the chilled rocks glass and stir well.
  2. Add the cubed ice to the glass, stir for a little dilution and top with more ice if needed.
  3. Garnish with a foam banana.

Shopping list…
“Both Bulleit bourbon and Bulleit rye would work here. A light vermouth works best because heavier styles dominate the other flavours. Dolin or Noilly Pratt will marry the flavours well.”

From delicious to stratospheric…
“Use good quality ingredients, make sure you stir the drink well, and take the time to enjoy it.”

International Women’s Day inspiration…
“Clotilde Lataille at Hawksmoor is amazing. She’s an artist and mixologist, and brings elements of both to her work at the bar. The work she’s doing is really inspiring.”

Andrea Montague's Bananavardier (Serves 2)

Georgie Bell’s Enlightenment (Serves 2)

Ingredients

90ml Mortlach Rare Old
15ml Yuzu liqueur
30ml Cocci Blanco vermouth
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

To Serve

2 small blocks of ice
Chilled coupette glasses
Twist of grapefruit peel

Instructions

  1. Add the ice to the cocktail shaker, and pour over the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Mix well with a cocktail stirrer until completely chilled.
  3. Using both hands, strain the drink through a Hawthorne strainer (held flush with the opening of the shaker) and a small fine sieve positioned over your coupette.
  4. Add a twist of grapefruit peel to serve.

Georgie Bell's Enlightenment (Serves 2)

Rachael Crozier-Clucas’ La Ultima Palabra (Serves 2)

Ingredients

50ml Alipus San Andres Mezcal
50ml Luxardo Maraschino
50ml Green Chartreuse
50ml fresh lime juice

To Serve

Chilled martini glasses
Cubed ice
Maraschino cherry
Twist of lime peel

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker along with a handful of ice.
  2. Shake vigorously until mixed well and very chilled.
  3. Using both hands, strain the drink through a Hawthorne strainer (held flush with the opening of the shaker) and a small fine sieve positioned over your glass.
  4. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a lime twist.

Shopping list…
“Each variation of Alipus is made by a single producer and shows the distinct characteristics of a single strain of agave. The San Andres bottling has an incredibly floral flavour which works well here, but you could play around with other variations to find your favourite.

“Green Chartreuse is a beautiful spirit made by Carthusian Monks in in the Chartreuse mountains in France. It is flavoured with 130 (secret) flowers, herbs and plants and was originally intended to be used as a medicine. Its sweet, vegetal and spicy taste means it works very well in rounding out many cocktails, and adds a depth and complexity.”

From delicious to stratospheric…
“I’d keep a little drop of Mezcal on the side to sip in-between to remind yourself of the complexity of the spirit itself and then compare what you can taste of it and what changes when it’s mixed into the drink.”

International Women’s Day inspiration…
“Mezcal production has always been a family business and although women are integral to the process, rarely do they get to share the spotlight. Women often run the finances, sell Mezcal at market and undertake the physical labour necessary to make the spirit.

“There are a few brilliant women challenging this traditional system and making headway in a very male dominated industry, and I wanted to celebrate this by highlighting the women of Oaxaca.”

Rachael Crozier-Clucas' La Ultima Palabra (Serves 2)

Naomi Fletcher’s Ultimate Gimlet (Serves 2)

Ingredients

100ml Hepple gin
50ml pimped-up lime cordial (see recipe below)
Dash of Bob’s Cardamom Bitters.
Pimped-up lime cordial
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lime
450ml Rose’s lime cordial
50g sugar

To Serve

Chilled martini glass

Instructions

  1. Start by making the lime cordial. Mix all the ingredients together, then allow to infuse for 24 hours. Remove the zest, and store in an airtight container.
  2. To assemble the cocktail, pour the gin, lime cordial and bitters into a cocktail shaker and stir well with a stirrer.
  3. Using both hands, strain the drink through a Hawthorne strainer (held flush with the opening of the shaker) and a small fine sieve positioned over your glass.

Naomi Fletcher's Ultimate Gimlet (Serves 2)