While people have been distilling alcohol for hundreds of years, the industry is constantly evolving.

Lately, more females have been taking leadership roles in founding forward-thinking distilleries that push the boundaries of spirit-making.

From establishing distilleries in unusual places — like caves and high mountain tops — to using spirits to promote important initiatives, the following eight women deserve a spot on your radar.

To experience their expertise yourself, each woman will also recommended a cocktail recipe for further home enjoyment. Cheers!

1) High Altitude Rum Production

Lorena Vasquez — Ron Zacapa Rum

Lorena Vasquez is a Nicaraguan woman who studied chemistry, food technology and business administration before marrying a Guatemalan and moving to his home country. She started working at Ron Zacapa Rum in Quality Control, where she deepened her natural sensitivity to scents and flavors, which allowed her to move up to Master Blender.

During her time as Master Blender, Lorena chose the location for the Zacapa aging facility in the highlands of Quetzaltenango, fondly known as the “House above the Clouds.” At 7,546 feet above sea level, the lower level of oxygen slows the aging process. This helps Ron Zacapa 23 Centenario Rum and Ron Zacapa Rum XO develop complex flavors.

Zacapa wraps every bottle of their rum with a petate band, hand-woven by local women from dried palm leaves. Through this partnership, these women can weave from home — a highly valued custom in Mayan communities — and earn income to support their families while maintaining a traditional craft.

Old Fashion with Zacapa 23

1 ½ oz. of Zacapa Rum 23
2 spoonbars of simple syrup
3 drops of angostura bitter
1 grapefruit peel

Place all the ingredients on a mixing glass, add ice and shake with the spoonbar until the desired taste. Serve on a glass with fresh ice and decorate with the grapefruit peel. Before serving, use the grapefruit’s essential oils over the glass rim.

To find more of this article, including Karen's Jamaican Rum Creme recipe, please click here!