by | May 31, 2021 | Queen Cleo

Updated: Jul 20

​Introducing the Queen Cleo Spirits range by The Little Gin and Rum Company.
Inspired by the tale of the Badass Liquor Boss Gertrude “Cleo” Lythgoe, our bold and beautiful spirits reflect her remarkable character and breath-taking fury.

Queen CleoLythgoe was the fiery orchestrator of a highly profitable liquor shipping operation. A prolific smuggler of liquor to the U.S, through the Bahamas in the 1920s, Lythgoe operated in a world dominated by men. Her story is one filled with excitement, intrigue and a tough as nails approach.

As a young woman she worked in New York and California as a transcriber but later came under the employment of a London-based liquor exporter. With the passing of Prohibition, her employer realised an opportunity existed to supply liquor to the U.S. through the Bahamas. Needing a headstrong, savvy businessperson to oversee their affairs, Lythgoe was hand-picked for the assignment; a feat for a female in the 1920s.

“Everyone knows that my liquor is the best”.

Lythgoe found buyers particularly wary of her gender. She quickly overcame this with the quality of her product, competitive pricing and above all, her fierce knowledge and intellect. A formidable figure in the liquor supplying business, Lythgoe would come to be known as “The Queen of the Bahamas” to some – and ‘Cleo’ to others, as her beauty was likened to that of Cleopatra.

​Inspired by Lythgoe’s drive, determination, and bad-ass attitude, we set about creating a range of spirits that would reflect her bold character whilst making our mark with our very own female-led liquor story.

Badass Liquor Bosses

Queen CleoOur very own fearless liquor journey began in 2015. Built upon a foundation of strong friendship and character, The Little Gin & Rum Company started life as a mobile bar serving gin and rum to the local community and has since grown into offering a full-service pop-up bar for private and corporate events, virtual and hosted tasting experiences and of course, our beautiful range of Queen Cleo spirits. Our spirits and their badass bottles represent years of hard graft and determination with a twist of femininity, reflecting our lives as businesswomen and more importantly, as mothers.


After 4 years of being together we never thought that we would one day be in business together. Who knew where a simple text message could lead….

It all started with a conversation with Nicola at one of The Little Gin and Rum Company’s events in Leeds. Amy sent a message to Ian saying “Do you fancy buying a gin and rum company?” and the wheels were set in motion.



“As a sales professional travelling the UK and the world, I have made travelling and alcohol my thing.  With over 20 years experience supplying the hospitality industry with software and e-learning, I can’t wait to start sharing Queen Cleo Spirits with the industry I love.  You’ll usually find me with my favourite Queen Cleo Rum with ginger ale.”


“Where Ian loves sales, I love marketing and as a digital marketing trainer and professional public speaker, I always have a lot to say.  When Nicola and Emma started virtual events in lockdown, I jumped at the opportunity to talk about gin and rum and nearly 200 events later, I still love it.  Old Tom is my favourite tipple and I’ll even drink it neat with just a cube of ice and a squeeze of lime.”


Nicola and Emma have created a gin and rum legacy and we are honoured to take it into the future.   

We can’t wait to share our plans with you and we promise to make Queen Cleo proud. 

You know our favourite Queen Cleo drinks and we’d love to know yours.  Share them with us on Instagram #littleginandrumco.