Top notch bartenders and trend setters from across the country make up our all-star Expert Panel. See for yourself below.
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Sherry Expert. Managing Partner at Mockingbird Hill.
Producer, Publisher, Educator. Director of SoFAB's Museum of the American Cocktail.
Mentor of the Year. South West Regional VP of the USBG.
Cocktail Media Darling. Bartender at Seamstress on the Upper East Side.
Lush Life Productions. Creator of Portland Cocktail Week, Camp Runamok and Cane Camp.
The Cocktail Guru. North East Regional VP USBG.
Cognac Ambassador. President USBG LA. Proprietor of Shimeck Studios.
Bitters and Tinctures Expert. Bar Manager Amor y Amargo.
Tiki Expert, Educator and Adventurer. Owner of Longitude Bar.
Cocktail Whisperer. Author of Three Cocktail Books.
Avid Hashtagger and Carbonation Junkie. Friendly Bartender at Crudo.
Agave Expert. Artisanal Spirits Specialist.
Molecular Mastermind. Wildcard.
Digital Marketing Whiz. Beer Aficionado. Creative Director for the Colorado Bartender's Guild.
Rum Enthusiast. Passionate about Tiki. Blogs at the Cocktail Wonk.
Experimental Cocktail Expert.
Bar Manager at Dirty Habit.
Bartender at 15 Romolo. Vice President of USBG SF.
Lead Bartender at Hakkasan. Secretary USBG Miami. Trouble in a Glass.
Co-Founder of Jupiter Olympus. Bar Manager of Bon Marche in Twitter Headquarters.
Bar Manager at the Corner Door. Eater LA's Bartender of the Year.
Bartender at Red Rabbit. Sin "Flair" Expert.
Smooth Operator. USBG Austin Treasurer. Smart Dressed Man.
Gin Expert and Collector. Bartender at Devil's Acre and Hard Water.
Chief Mixologist at Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Art Lover.
Southern Gentleman. Partner at Grain.
Super Cocktail Enthusiast. Founder of San Francisco Classic Cocktail Tours.
Denver Cocktail Scene Expert. CEO WideFoc.us Social Media.
TrophyCocktail Official Photographer. Published in Several Cocktail Books.
Bar Manager at Asiento. USBG SF Social Media Director.
Nola Expert. National Membership Director of the USBG.
Founder of R&D Bitters and the Drinking Deck. Bar Manager at High Dive.
Cocktail Enthusiast. Development Director of the USBG National Charity Foundation.
Shining light in LA cocktail scene. Managing Editor of THE TASTING PANEL.
Classic Cocktail Twister. Beverage Director at The Wallace.
Drinks Writer as the Dapper Diner. All Around Man About Town.
Social Media Hound. Bartender at Coin-Op. Polite Provisions Alum.
LA Bar Scene Expert. Gentleman of a Sporting Life.
Tiki Goddess. Lead Bartender at Hale Pale.
Cocktail Competition Favorite. Bartender at Manifest.
Leisure Exert at SmokeandHoney.com.
Chantal Tseng loves just about anything fermented and poured, as she tells it, but especially Sherry, tea and cocktails. She's turned that love into 14 years of serving drinks as a bartender and bar manager. She currently helms the program at Mockingbird Hill where she was named EaterDC's 2013 Bartender of the Year and one of Daily Meal's 25 Top Bartenders in America. Previously she was the head mixologist for the historic Tabard Inn where she created the Tabard Inn Cocktail, with Sherry of course. A true student of all things liquid, she is a Bar Ready graduate of the B.A.R. program and Certified Sommelier via the Court of Master Sommeliers. She also plays a mean game of pool.
Philip Dobard is Vice President of the SoFAB Institute and plays an integral role in all its programs. He serves as Director of SoFAB’s Museum of the American Cocktail, leads the organization’s Los Angeles-based West Coast operations, publishes SoFAB Magazine, and produces Farm to Table International, the CULINARIA Query & Lecture Series, and Touring the Cocktail, a multi-city series of spirits education seminars. Under the SoFAB Media banner, he’s executive producing several web series, among them Drinking Heads, Eating Heads, Touring the Cocktail, and World Eats. Philip contributes to The Tasting Panel Magazine and frequently judges at food and drink competitions across the US. He completed graduate studies at UCLA, is an adviser to the Art Institute of California, Los Angeles, and serves on the Board of Golden State of Cocktails, an annual festival celebrating California’s spirits culture.
Chad Michael George is a Regional Vice President on the Board of Directors of the USBG. He spends his nights bartending at Williams & Graham in Denver. If not at W&G, you can find him in any number of neighborhood haunts either sipping on a cocktail or a glass of wine as he continues his "education" as a Certified Sommelier and a graduate of the prestigious B.A.R. 5 Day program.
Pamela Wiznitzer's true passion and zest for the bar industry resulted in her Top 10 nomination for the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail "American Bartender of the Year" award. Being instrumental in an exciting new bar opening, Seamstress on the Upper East Side, has pulled her away from the renowned Dead Rabbit where she bartended the last several years. She's won numerous, high profile cocktail competitions and does countless seminars and showcases around the globe. She is the President of the New York City chapter of the USBG and a recent graduate of the rigorous Beverage Alcohol Resources 5 day program earning top honors by passing the course "Bar Ready." When not pursuing her masters in Food Studies at NYU's Steinhardt School, she's writing for various publications about the spirit and alcohol industry and is a cocktail expert on Julibox.com. She's been featured in multiple publications such as The Tasting Panel, Bar Business Magazine, The Village Voice, Zagat, and Glamour as well as reoccurring media appearances on the Food Network, Vh1, and NBC among others."
Lindsey Johnson is an expert in brand and personal marketing. As a founder of Lush Life Productions, she’s helped many wine and spirits brands, bartenders, and bloggers find footing. You can find her crossing the globe every week to develop new projects that are leading the charge in the way brands, agencies and the trade interact.
Jonthan Pogash is a New England and NY-based beverage consultant for bars, restaurants, and spirit brands. You can’t become a “Guru” just like that - Jonathan worked his way up from Barback to Bartender in some of NYC’s most swanky establishments. When the “Cocktail Revival” began, Jonathan saw an opening - cocktail creation for spirit brands and bars. After painstaking drink development and testing (with help from wife, Megan), in 2005 “The Cocktail Guru” was established, and in 2010 Jonathan opened his New England office. As the Northeast Regional VP for the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild and the author of the “Mr. Boston Bartenders’ Guide - 75th Anniversary Edition”, Jonathan is able to spread the good word, one cocktail at a time.
In addition to winning several cocktail competitions, Schimek has been featured extensively in countless local, national and international publications. Her talents and love of cognac have progressed into her current position as the Brand Ambassador for Cognac Park, created by Distillerie Tessendier & Fils. She is the proprietor of Schimek Studios, a diverse production company, and serves as President of the United States Bartenders’ Guild Southern California Chapter. Naomi currently resides in Los Angeles. She likes old cars, new dresses and rock and roll.
Former chef turned barman, Sother Teague is the beverage director at NYC's Amor y Amargo, one of the few bars in the country focused on potable bitters and tinctures. When not taming or accentuating the latest imported Amaro in a new cocktail or teaching one of his in house cocktail classes, you'll find him on the hunt throughout the city for the most delicious food and drink.
Suzanne Long is Owner-Operator of the unique world-adventure themed bar Longitude, located in Oakland, California. A well known figure in the East Bay cocktail scene and the tiki world, she is revered for her innovative spin on tropical mixology paired with an expert knowledge of rum. Long frequently presents educational seminars and tastings at cocktail and tiki festivals around the U.S., including Tales of the Cocktail, the Beverage Academy at Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco, Hawai'i Cocktail Week, Ohana Luau at the Lake, Tiki Oasis, and more. www.longitudeoakland.com
Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of Wild River Review located in Stockton, New Jersey. You may find him on the web as the cocktailwhisperer. He was one of 12 journalists world-wide, and the only journalist from the USA to participate in the Fête de la Gastronomie for Atout France- in 2012. He attends Tales of the Cocktail yearly and has published over three hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews to travel articles. Author of three cocktail books with more in the works: Apothecary Cocktails, Whisky Cocktails, and the latest, Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails. Warren truly has his finger on the pulse on what's hot in the cocktail world.
If you've seen the hashtag #craftcocktailsbro, you're likely in Andrew Calisterio's social sphere of influence. Crazy about carbonation, Andrew started a bottled cocktail pop up aptly called POP spotted at Midtown Cocktail Week, Hook and Ladder in Sacramento and a variety of local events. He's equally driven by fun technique and unique flavors. A rapid infused basil water appears in a cocktail recipe video series called Seen. Teaching workshops and either competing, judging or hosting cocktail competitions are a fun addition to his true passion for bartending. Sacramento and San Francisco were once home, but now Calisterio is a rising star in the Phoenix mixology scene. These days you'll find him behind the bar at Crudo.
Josh Wortman is Spirits Specialist for Martin Scott Wines in New York City where he manages and supports Martin Scott’s craft spirits portfolio. Prior to Martin Scott, Josh was Beverage Director and Head Bartender at Añejo in New York City where he designed their agave spirits-based cocktail and beverage program. Josh’s passion for spirits and cocktails reaches back fifteen years and includes experience behind the bar, as a spirits writer and educator working with new brands on cocktails, marketing, publicity and branding. Josh has been featured in publications including Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Village Voice and others. He has won and been a finalist in a number of cocktail competitions and is a certified Master Mezcalier, completing course and fieldwork in Oaxaca. Josh graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has an M.F.A. from Florida State University. He lives in Long Island City with his wife Rachel and son Abraham.
One of San Francisco's most creative bartenders, John Codd was recognized in Zagat 2014's class of culinary game changers under the age of 30. Since teaming up with cocktail guru Erik Adkins, this Slanted Door protégé has fostered quite a following of patrons and industry folk eager to see his next unique creation. He credits cocktail juggernaut 15 Romolo as inspiring him to initially approach bartending as a professional career. Winner of numerous competitions and creator of things like the Three Prong Stirrer, Blended Negroni, and Citrus Wheel Ribbons, Codd's career is heating up. Gaspar Brasserie is lucky to have him on board to curate a large brandy and cognac focused cocktail program right now. Stay tuned in 2015 when he'll spearhead San Francisco's first real molecular cocktail bar. And yes, his shopping list of gadgets was approved!
Alexandra (or Allie as most know her) Geppert is a believer in cocktails and dreams; passionate about learning, doing good, and having fun. Allie is a Denver native, but a true gypsy soul by nature. Working in different parts of the hospitality industry for 14 years has enabled her to live in Los Angeles, New York City, Amsterdam and earn a degree in media studies, business, and conflict resolution from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has done every FOH job, produced and managed events for Empire Entertainment, NYC, launched a cocktail lifestyle national website, was published in Imbibe Magazine, and was recently awarded one of Zagat Denver’s 30 Under 30. Allie is serving her 4th year on the board for the local chapter of the US Bartenders’ Guild, the Colorado Bartenders’ Guild and now makes a living helping clients with their online presence with her own digital marketing business, Mandala Strategies.
Matt Pietrek is an avid home bartender and spirits enthusiast living in Seattle, WA. During a house remodel he installed what seemed like an over-the-top bar, not realizing that his rum collection alone would soon overflow all available space. With his wife Carrie he travels the globe with a list of bars to visit and photograph. He enjoys almost all spirits but has the warmest spot in his heart for rum and tiki drinks. He chronicles his thoughts and adventures at cocktailwonk.com.
Brian Means has had an impressive career crafting cocktails behind some of the Bay Area's most successful bars. Previously, he served as Head Bartender at the former Fifth Floor, where he invigorated the restaurant with a new, seasonal beverage program. Before Fifth Floor, Means was behind the bar at Zero Zero in San Francisco's SOMA district, where he collaborated with a number of the city's influential bartenders. An active membership of the USBG throughout his career includes a term as Vice President of the Northern California chapter. He also contributes regularly to a number of cocktail websites as an expert in the field.
Andrew is an enthusiastic, "Mr. Nice-Guy" bartender with a passion for creativity, education and service. He is currently the Vice President of the San Francisco chapter of the USBG and a regular on the competition circuits. He started bartending as a beer nerd then fell in love with whiskey. After moving to the west coast he quickly excelled in the cocktail world and continues to grow in the Bay Area's thriving food & beverage industry. His hobbies include road cycling (let's ride!), cooking, hiking, and, of course, reading cocktail books. His favorite cocktails are the Vieux Carre, Americano, and (Agricole rum) Daiquiri.
Recently relocated back to her home town of Miami from Tampa, Carla Rivera is excited to be a part of the South Florida bartender community acting as an active member of the MIAMI USBG. Carla brings charisma, positive energy, knowledge and attention to detail to any beverage program she has the pleasure to work with. Working for Cigar City Brewing Company as a lead bartender and trainer, Carla was able to gain extensive training in beer knowledge and service with a National Cicerone Beer Certification. However, her passion and experience with craft cocktails goes back many many years! She's scored well in high profile competitions such as Speed Rack and the top 15 for Diageo World Class USA 2014 among others. Her drive and desire to be a recognized and respected female bartender is undeniable. She is currently working as Lead Bartender at a high end cocktail bar for a nationally recognized hospitality group in Miami Beach.
Growing up on the Jersey Shore, Eric's first job was at a restaurant on his hometown Boardwalk selling sausage and pepper sandwiches. After graduating from Rutgers University with a pair of science degrees he drove north to Alaska where he spent 4 years as a wildlife biologist and educator by day and part time bartender by night. Eric Quilty is now a 13-year veteran of the service industry. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2005, he's been a development consultant for many establishments, most recently Magnolia Brewery’s Smokestack in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco. Next up will be managing the a new project called Bon Marche at Twitter Headquarters. Quilty is co-founder of the popular cocktail consulting and event team, Jupiter Olympus. They produce local and national events for top liquor brands. Most notable are: California’s Altered State Fair (SF Cocktail Week), Give Back the Bird (annual Thanksgiving event with Wild Turkey), Science of the Cocktail (St. George and Anchor SF), BAH (Bartenders against Hunger) and the Northern California Negroni Council.
After accidentally being hired on his 21st birthday at a Martini Lounge in Indiana, Beau du Bois has been slanging booze since 2004. Beau wised up and retired from midwest weather in 2007 when he moved to Los Angeles. Since then, he has opened Cocktail Programs at the Andaz West Hollywood, Manhattan Beach Post, and The Corner Door. Though Beau looks forward to the day when he can finally memorize the recipe for a Singapore Sling, he was named LA’s Bartender of the Year 2014 by Eater Los Angeles.
After nine years of bartending around the Bay Area, Chris Sinclair relocated to Sacramento to begin the important work of invigorating the Sacramento Bartender's Guild where he served as President. Not only known for making 'snorkeling' a cocktail famous, the Sacramento USBG has fostered a vigorous local bar community through education and camaraderie which has put the Sacramento cocktail scene on the map. Currently you'll find him showing off behind the bar at The Red Rabbit or winning regional and national cocktail competitions. They don't call him “Sin-Flair” for nothing.
Justin Lavenue is passionate about many things; suits and perfectly crafted cocktails are two of them. Despite only being able to (legally) drink alcohol for a handful of years, Justin is a BAR Ready graduate of the B.A.R. 5-day program and is working toward achieving the B.A.R. Masters certification. After moving to Austin in late-2013, he worked as a member of the opening bar staff at Half Step and is currently the Treasurer of the Austin chapter of the USBG. Earlier this year, he began working on his own concept, De Rigueur, which is slated to open sometime next year.
Keli Rivers, culinary master and bartender extraordinaire has spent her last- ahem, 20 plus professional years in and around the greater Bay Area. Classically trained in the art of ninja like knife skills her insane need for all of the drinks has led her to travel the world searching for the perfect Negroni. Her time is split between leading the LUPEC (Ladies United for the Endangered Cocktail) SF Chapter Book Club, coordinating the Farmer's Market Cocktail events for USBG SF, and her new role as Gin Sommelier for the world class gin venue, White Chapel.
Clint "Spotty" Spotleson started his bar career when the Arizona Diamondbacks made a run in the 2001 World Series and he happened to be the lone barback on a short staffed squad. He jumped around, learning at almost every kind of bar imaginable, until he got into cocktails at the Jade Bar in Phoenix with a staff of current bar all-stars nationwide. Today he competes regularly in national bar competitions including back-to-back Diageo World Class events. He spends most his time running the cocktail program at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. For fun, he visits art museums and the best bars in town.
Hard to believe a simple dare led to Kevin Bragg becoming one of Atlanta's top bartenders. After a roommate told him he didn't have the personality to work in the restaurant industry, Kevin set out to prove him wrong. Although the former professional photographer had no previous restaurant experience, it seems his gamble paid off. In 2012, Creative Loafing named him Atlanta's “Best Bartender,” saying “Bragg's beverages are models of control and balance, creating a delightful interplay of flavors that can only be the product of hours of experimentation and a gift for counter intuitive blending.” Kevin, now a partner in Atlanta's Grain Restaurant and former Vice President of the Atlanta chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild, is also a diehard fan of college and professional football.
Paul Cramer hosts The San Francisco Classic Cocktail Tours in The SF Bay Area. This idea started with a group of friends who met once a week at various Bay Area tiki bars. He's pushed his rum loving pals to branch out and try other kinds of cocktails once a month at 3 different bars that are striving for excellence in the California craft cocktails scene. 5 years and about 30 cocktail crawls later, he's exposed friends to over 100 of the best Bay Area bars and helped develop the cocktail super-enthusiast crowd who are as passionate about the craft as many bartenders are. He travels often to NYC and Portland and hits as many bars and restaurants as he can each trip. Paul has attended the Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans and many Rum Festivals in Miami, NYC and San Francisco.
Bio Coming Soon!
Kelly Puleio is an east coast born, San Francisco-based photographer whose work pushes conventional ideas of beauty. As Diane Arbus once said, "a photograph is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know,” this speaks volumes about Puleio's work and artistic philosophy. With respect and appreciation she explores and discovers the subtleties of femininity and sexuality, to create a body of work that keeps the viewer engaged and thirsty for more. She crosses genres and subjects with integrity and clear vision. Award winning and Internationally published, her most recent publications include The Art of the Shim: Low Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level, pür in spirit: an oral and visual history of spirited women, and The Negroni: Drinking to La Dolca Vita with Recipes & Lore by Gary Regan.
A native of San Francisco, Maurico Moe Arce started his bar career at The 222 Club, back in 2004 in the darkest and sketchiest corner of SF. Sure of his calling, a career in bartending is set for Moe. As the Social Media Director for the SF chapter of the USBG, he's brought a new level of tech savvy to one of the oldest and most established chapters in the U.S. Formerly Cocktail Director at Monarch, a popular cocktail lounge/nightclub in San Francisco, now you'll find him as a managing partner at beloved neighborhood spot, Asiento. His new program focuses on approachable, contemporary drinks using house-made ingredients and California produce. Living the dream in one of the best cocktail cities in the world, Moe is quick to share what's on trend here and on his travels.
Tiffany Soles was bitten by the bug after attending a Bartending Basics seminar at Tales of the Cocktail 2006. Starting off by reading books from greats like Dale Degroff and Gary Regan, then working part time bar shifts at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, she decided after one year to quit her ‘office’ job and pursue this as a career. Years later, she's still thirsty for educational opportunities, looks out for exciting new products to experiment with, and is proud to be a pillar in the national bar community. Soles was New Orleans Magazine’s 2010 Bartender of the Year, CAP at Tales of the Cocktail (2010), Honor Roll at PDX Cocktail Week (2013), and Team Leader for San Antonio Cocktail Week (2014). Stints as both Treasurer (2008-2013) and President (2013-2014) of USBG New Orleans chapter solidified her dedication for advancing the industry's premier trade organization. In 2014, she stepped out from behind the bar to become the Membership Coordinator of the USBG in the National Office. Enjoy her posts from the birthplace of the American cocktail: New Orleans.
After cutting his teeth in SF and Oakland, Ryan Andrews ventured into the burgeoning San Diego cocktail scene and has since worked at and opened some of the busier cocktail bars in SD. During this time he co-created and co-founded R&D Bitters with two fellow colleagues and is now producing this product out of Old Harbor Distillery in the East Village. In addition to creating cocktails, bitters, shrubs, moonshine, and various other fermented experiments he can be found drinking his favorite libation... grey goose and vodka... Bitches...
Genevieve Porter is the Development Director for the United States Bartenders' Guild National Charity Foundation. After delving into rocket science for a few years straight out of college she now works with an amazing team of beverage industry professionals. Her love of fine food started at a young age when her parents introduced her to the world of gastronomy through extensive international travel. A love of cocktails followed as soon as it was legal. Not surprisingly, you can find her most often out and about imbibing in San Francisco.
Rachel Burkons is a Los Angeles native who loves cats, cocktails, and pretty much anything sparkly. When she's not working as the Managing Editor of THE TASTING PANEL Magazine, you can find her making massive pots of soup and planning her next costume party.
Greg Bryson is a professional bartender and director of beverages, who is committed to improving and sustaining the cocktail culture in his home town of Los Angeles... and beyond. Having spent most of his professional career in the service industry, he understands the importance of every employee in a restaurant team. Intrigued by the 'Craft drinks movement' of California long before it was "cool," he spent his free time honing his craft and learning all he could about spirits, recipes and pre-prohibition cocktails. His vast drink knowledge propelled him quickly from Head Barman to Bar Management and consultant jobs, he has successfully operated/opened several bars & restaurants across the city including Bar Chloe, Sadie, Fig & Olive, Hostaria Del Piccolo, and most recently The Wallace in Culver City. When he's not behind the bar, or managing, he is coming up with classically inspired drink creations, reading up on his industry, tasting at restaurants and studying spirits in depth
Rod Unks lives with the belief that for every bite of good food, one should have two sips of an excellent cocktail. To that end, he's consumed far too many cocktails for his own good and has written about some of them for SF Weekly, all the while remaining immune to the dreaded hangover. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, you can find him feeding his liver old and new cocktail creations all over California. Favorite Cocktail: The Last Word, made with Fernet instead of gin.
Seth Marquez believes a true passion for cocktails must be mixed mixed with warm hospitality to create a memorable guest experience at a bar. He began his journey in Southern California and Phoenix quickly progressing from Busboy to Barback to Bartender. At the shy age of 21, he was already at the helm of his own cocktail program at Little Sparrow. While in the San Diego scene, he was slinging drinks at Ironside Fish & Oyster and the award winning Polite Provisions. With a recent move to Sacramento, Seth is now rocking out the successful Coin Op Game Room's high volume, craft cocktail program. His healthy addiction to social media, drive for success, and strong connections with friends in the beloved bar community is fostering his growing presence in the national bar scene. Even though he's constantly longing for a Ramos Gin Fizz, Seth stays up to date with all current trends in cocktails.
IT director by day. Drunk IT director by night. Tatsu managed communications for the Sporting Life bar industry group in Los Angeles for the first 5 years of it's existence and is the LA bar community's biggest cheerleader. He's already over whatever cocktail fad you're into.
Bio Coming Soon!
Bio Coming Soon!
Rachel Mae Furman is a self-proclaimed “Leisure Expert" on a quest to elevate moments, create occasions and curate experiences at any given moment. She has spent the last decade traveling the country scouring the back roads and small towns of America for inspiration, then jet-setting from city to city on the corporate dime, building booze brands in the liquor business. Inspired by her Grandmom Doris to be the perfect little hostess, Rachel is known for whipping out a mason jar Old Fashioned from her purse just when you need it. Her blog Smoke & Honey celebrates the art of leisure, from cocktails to entertaining, style to homemaking. Follow her @rachelmaefurman.