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21 Top Female Bartenders and Drinks Industry Legends

March 8, 2022 by Joel Davidge

In our second post for International Women’s Day 2022, we list the iconic women making waves in the drinks world.

Top 10 Drinks Industry Icons To Follow

1. Maura Milia – Deputy Bar Manager, the Connaught Bar


A gap year trip to London set Maura Milia on a path to the very top of the international bar scene.

Starting out as a waitress at a boutique hotel in South Kensington taught her the basics of hospitality. In 2014, she joined the bar team at the elite Connaught Hotel.

Follow for a behind the scenes look at working in the best bar in the world (not just our opinion, they’ve won first place at 50 Best Bars two years running!)

2. Claire Warner – Co-founder Æcorn Drinks


Claire Warner is the founder of the delicious Æcorn, a non-alcoholic aperitif brand made from Sussex grapes and botanicals.

After spending 15 years working with Belvedere Vodka as global brand ambassador, Claire has a wealth of knowledge about the drinks industry.

An advocate for better health and wellness within the hospitality industry, Claire is a pioneer of the positive drinking movement, championing lower ABV options for consumers.

In 2018, Claire launched Æcorn, along with Ben Branson from Seedlip.

3 & 4. Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne

Founders of London Cocktail Week & HANDS London

Hannah Sharman-Cox @hsharmancox

Siobhan Payne @londonsiobhan

The co-founders of London Cocktail Week are leading fixtures of the UK bar scene.

From a job running drinks in the Essex down where she grew up, Sharman-Cox travelled to London to undertake a performing arts course.

Finding a job at the famous Milk and Honey almost by accident was the start of a glittering career in the London bar industry.

Siobhan Payne started out working in drinks PR, providing support to clients including Chivas Brothers and Havana Club Rum.

Both Payne and Sharman-Cox then worked at Difford’s Guide. As per an interview with the same guide, this is where the idea for London Cocktail Week originated.

Launching in 2010, the celebration of all things cocktails is one of the premier drinks events in the UK.

In 2020 the dynamic duo launched HANDS London; a consultancy agency designed to elevate the drinks industry from the inside.

Not content with leading the UK bar scene, Sharman-Cox and Payne have teamed up with Dan Dove from Global Bartender Agency to launch The Pinnacle Guide, a Michelin Guide style equivalent for the bar scene. Bravo!

Endlessly creative, and massively generous with their time for anyone in the drinks world, these legends should be one your list to follow.

5. Racheal Vaughan Jones – Jackson Jones Whisky and Building Liquid Podcast


Founder, writer, marketer, and podcast host – is there anything Racheal Vaughan Jones can’t do?

After working with spirit giants Chivas, she moved to low-ABV lager brand Lucky Saint, before moving on to mixer brand Lixir Drinks in 2021.

2020 saw the launch of Jackson Jones Whisky, which releases small batches only a few times a year.

Her podcast “Building Liquid”, which focuses on the journeys taken by founders of drink brand startups, is a must listen for anyone looking to enter the industry.

6. Monica Berg – Co-founder Tayer + Elementary


Award-winning bartender Monica Berg launched Tayēr + Elementary with partner Alex Kratena. The bar debuted at no. 5 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list.

Berg’s work also includes the Muyu range of modern liqueurs created with natural ingredients.

7. Ellie Webb – Founder of Caleño


Caleño, one of the wave of alcohol free alternatives bossing the drinks world at present, is inspired by founder Ellie Webb’s Columbian roots.

Webb worked on the brand for two years before quitting her full time job to become the self-professed “Chief Joy Maker” at Caleño.

After landing a listing at retail giant Sainsbury’s, Webb has never looked back.

8. Ms S, from The Cocktail Lovers


One half of the famous The Cocktail Lovers podcast, magazine, and must-read industry website.

Always with a finger on the pulse of the drinks world, follow for the latest products, bar openings, and amazing recipes.

9. Giulia Cuccurullo – Head Bartender at The Artesian


Having worked at the famous Artesian bar since 2018, Cuccurullo’s creativity and flair for mixology is unmatched.

Winner of Patron Perfectionists in 2020, her drinks are notable for their cleanness, simplicity, and sustainable focus.

10. Olya Sabanina – Instagram legend & winner of the Drinkstagram 2020 awards


Often found at flair and mixology competitions across the globe, Olya regularly wows her 37K+ audience of Instagram followers with her cocktail technique.

Her winning creation for the Drinkstagram Awards “April Vibes” took inspiration from Spring in the city, thoughts on self-isolation and internet communication.

“‘April Vibes’ is my attempt to run my thoughts and sense of self by art of making cocktails and video creating.”

No. 11 – 22…

11. Emma Murphy, Co-founder Hacha London – @murphyems

Read our interview with Emma on the creation of Hacha’s tequila and mezcal competition.

12. Lynnette Marrero, Co-founder of Speed Rack and mixology teacher at Masterclass – @drinksat6

13. Bethan Higson, Founder Mother Root – @motherrootldn

14. Caitlin Egen, Founder Turtle Sodas – @caitlinegen

15. Mia Johansson (co-owner Bar Swift) @miabarswift

16. Eva Liparova, Founder of Animal Spirits / The Rabbit Gin – @evaliparova

17. Harriet Cuming, Founder of Whisp Hard Seltzer – @harrietcuming

18. Kathy Caton, Founder Brighton Gin – @brightonginstergramkathy

19. Ruth Laidlaw-Hansen, Founder of Three Ravens Rum – @threeravensrum

20. Talula White, Founder Sekforde Sodas – @sekfordetalula

21. Anna Sebastian, Food and Beverage Consultant (previously bar manager at the Artesian) – @annasebastian3

22. Mia Johansson, Co-owner of award-winning venue Bar Swift – @miabarswift

Who Should We Add?

Nominate your female heroes of the bar industry by tagging us @thecocktailservice or send us a message and we’ll add them to this list.


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