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Meet the Judges

This year's panel of judges ranges from diverse backgrounds and industry expertise to assess spirits from a variety of different perspectives. Each year, we call on top bartenders to seat them alongside with the top distillers, retailers, writers, and other key industry professionals to taste and evaluate each of our entries.  We are proud of all of the work each of our judges brings to the table to help grow the New Orleans Spirits Competition.

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Tiffanie Barriere

Educator/ Consultant/ Bartender
Drinking Coach

Tiffanie Barriere is the bartender’s bartender, an influencer and educator who has been awarded with some of the beverage industry’s highest honors. She is a Tastemakers of the South award-winner who spent seven years as the beverage director of One Flew South, the “Best Airport Bar in the World.” Tiffanie is a member of the Tales of the Cocktail Grants Committee, the James Beard Beverage Advisory Board, and a member of the Atlanta chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Paul Clarke

Editor in Chief, Imbibe

Paul Clarke is a journalist specializing in spirits, cocktails, and the culture of drink. In 2014, he earned a Spirited Award for Best Cocktail Writer. Clarke wrote “The Cocktail Chronicles: Navigating the Cocktail Renaissance with Jigger, Shaker and Glass” (2015), and was a contributing editor for “The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails” (2021). He holds a WSET Level 3 Certification in Spirits and is a WSET Certified Spirits Educator.


ms. franky marshall

Modern Bartender ~ Educator ~ Consultant

franky has worked at some of the top establishments in New York City. She is highly sought after for her liquid creations, valuable industry insights, and many opinions, which have been widely featured across various media. She is an in demand speaker, event host, and judge for spirit and cocktail competitions in the U.S. and abroad. franky is excited to be a returning judge for the NOLA Spirits Comp.

ms franky marshall.png

Matthew Rowley


The author of Lost Recipes of Prohibition (2015), Moonshine! (2007), and the Whiskey Forge blog (2008-15), Matthew has written about culinary history, spirits, and cocktails for numerous publishers, magazines, and universities. The former museum curator is a contributing editor to The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails (2021); contributor to Imbibe, Distiller, Whisky Advocate, and other publications; and judge for several annual spirits and media awards programs such as the James Beards Awards and The Spirited Awards for Tales of the Cocktail.


Dale DeGroff

King Cocktail

It's hard to find a good bartender that has not been influenced by Dale. He has been at the heart of the classic cocktail resurgence and craft cocktail renaissance. Dale has earned a James Beard Award, Tales of the Cockail Spirited Award, and is an IACP Julia Child Award recipent. He is a founding president of the Museum of the American Cocktail.


Monique Huston

Vice President Spirits Portfolio
at Winebow

Monique Huston began her spirits career over two decades ago at the Dundee Dell in Omaha, Nebraska. Here she helped build and educate across one of the largest whisky and spirits collections in the world. Huston has served as a spirits judge and panelist at events and competitions. She has contributed to numerous publications and been featured in the Whisky Advocate, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been inducted to the Keepers of the Quaich, and sits on the advisory boards for the Council of Whisky Masters and VinExpo.


Garnett Phillip

Owner: The Rogers Garden
and The Rum Bar BK

Garnett is a distinguished, forward-thinking entrepreneur that has been honored to recreate something symbolic for the many immigrants who had hopes of achieving the "American Dream." One means of spreading her message is enlightening people on history with a strong focus on rum and tradition. She focuses on developing a platform of expression, speaking not just to New York City but especially to the Caribbean people!

Keli Rivers

Sr Beam Suntory
Gin Brand Ambassador

A hospitality veteran of over 32 years, Keli has traveled the world working in kitchens and bars. Launching prestigious cocktail bars throughout The Bay Area, and transitioning into an ambassador role in 2018, Keli has been spreading the gospel of juniper-driven beverages as the award winning Senior Brand Ambassador for Sipsmith. Author of 3, soon to be 4 cocktail novellas, international spirits judge and Gin Magazine’s Iconic Awards; Gin Ambassador of the Year (2021) - to say she likes gin is a gross understatement. "

Elayne Duff


Elayne Duff is the founder of the Beverage Brand Ambassador Academy, a pioneering online program that provides on-boarding and advanced skill training for Brand Ambassadors and new sales reps in the beverage industry. With over 20 years of experience in the field, Elayne has held several key positions, including being the first head mixologist and National Brand Ambassador for Diageo USA. Elayne is an award-winning luxury brand ambassador, mixologist, and educator.


Flavien Desoblin

The Brandy Library

Flavien Desoblin owns two iconic bars in Manhattan: Brandy Library in Tribeca and Copper & Oak on the Lower East Side. Both are known for having some of the most comprehensive collections of brandies and whiskeys in the world. He has written two books on distilling and serves as a curator and host for the Spirits Network. Flavien was named Cognac Personality of the Year in 2010, recognized in 2013 by the Compagnie des Mousquetaires d’Armagnac, and in 2014 was honored with the title Keeper of the Quaich for his outstanding commitment to the Scotch Whisky 


Bridget Albert

Sr. Director External Communications, SGWS

Bridget is the Founder of the National Charity Foundation of the United States Bartenders' Guild, the world's largest contributor to the cocktail culture. She has designed beverage programs and produced trainings for top national Accounts that include the Hilton Worldwide Resorts,  Delta Airlines, American Airlines and Crystal Cruise Line. Bridget is the co-author of “Market Fresh Mixology” and “Life, Love Happiness and Cocktails” and the co-hostess on the celebrated Served Up the Podcast.


Lauren Patz

Head Distiller
Redwood Empire Whiskey

Bridget is the Founder of the National Charity Foundation of the United States Bartenders' Guild, the world's largest contributor to the cocktail culture. She has designed beverage programs and produced trainings for top national Accounts that include the Hilton Worldwide Resorts,  Delta Airlines, American Airlines and Crystal Cruise Line. Bridget is the co-author of “Market Fresh Mixology” and “Life, Love Happiness and Cocktails” and the co-hostess on the celebrated Served Up the Podcast.

Lisa Wicker

Master Distiller

Former Master Distiller beginning for Lexington Brewing and Distilling in Lexington and Pikeville, Kentucky, Dublin and Dundalk, Ireland. Previous five and a half years, President and Master Distiller at Widow Jane in Brooklyn, New York, distilling in Kentucky and New York. Senior Consulting Distiller for George Washington's Distillery for seven years.

Lynnette Marrero

Partner & Chief Mixologist @ Delola , Liquid Creative Director Aplós

Bartending guru, women’s industry champion, educator, inclusivity advocate, mentor, philanthropist and of course, craft cocktail savant - you may also recognize Lynnette Marrero as the Latiné co-creator of the Speed Rack international women+ bartending competition, the MasterClass Mixology teacher, as well as the mixologist behind JLo’s new line of read-to-drink Delola beverages.


H. Joseph Ehrmann

Proprietor of Elixir

As the 12th Proprietor of San Francisco’s second oldest saloon, ELIXIR (now in his 20th year of business), H. is recognized as a pioneer in the revitalization of cocktail culture today. He is also an internationally renowned spirits expert, judge, and educator. Besides his saloon, he runs a cocktail event production company (ELIXIR To Go), a beverage industry consultancy (Cocktail Ambassadors), a fresh cocktail mixer company (Fresh Victor), and an independent bottler of unique spirits (Kokoro Spirits).


Brett Pontoni

Specialty Spirits Buyer
Binny's Beverage Depot

Brett Pontoni is a 32-year retail veteran with Binny's Beverage Depot, 23 years as a buyer. He has strong connections across categories in the spirits world, and was a very strong early supporter of the craft beer and craft spirits space. Pontoni is a 2021 Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky award winner.

Roland K Ng

President and Founder

Roland Ng is President of the San Francisco Whiskey, Bourbon, and Scotch Society, the largest spirits enthusiast group on the West Coast and a Co-Founder of Fog City Social.  A recognized international authority on Japanese Whisky, he is a sought after restaurant and bar consultant, speaker, and educator on the subject. Roland has judged global spirits competitions including the San Francisco World Spirts Competition, Singapore World Spirits Competition and is honored to judge the New Orleans Spirits Competition.


Tracie Franklin

Founder Get Spirited Consulting

Tracie Franklin is changing the face of whiskey and creating a more diverse industry. She is an internationally recognized spirits educator, consultant, distiller, and social media personality. She has represented numerous brands including; Rhum Clément, Angels Envy, Ardbeg, Glenmorangie and was the National Ambassador for Glenfiddich Scotch. She has numerous wine and spirits certificates and is a candidate for her diploma in distillation from IBD. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others.


Chantal Tseng

Bar-Somm, the Gibson and

Chantal Tseng is a veteran bartender with Sommelier training working in the greater D.C. area for over twenty years. She is the current Sherry Week Ambassador for the U.S. and runs a website: where she posts updates, events, writes articles and other pertinent info for cocktail and wine consulting. Her current passion includes book clubs, literary-inspired cocktails, absinthe, and of course, always sherry.


Geoffrey Wilson

Leadership Staff
Turning Tables NOLA

If you know Geoffrey; you’d know that he’s a good friend and a staunch believer in equality, visibility, and diversity in the hospitality industry. He’s also a talented and creative bartender and is on the leadership staff at Turning Tables New Orleans. Geoffrey has spent more than a decade working at some of the best bars across the country, such as Ocotillo in Phoenix, and Multnomah Whiskey Library in Portland.

Danny Ronen

Founder DC

Danny Ronen is the Founder and CEO of DC Spirits, a US-based food, wine and spirits educational organization. Ronen enjoys conducting recipe and product development, event planning, staff education and brand-building for such companies as Moet-Hennessy, Pernod-Ricard, Diageo, Campari, Anchor Distilling, Heaven Hill, Brown-Forman, Monin, Fair Trade USA, Novo Fogo Cachaça Organica and Del Maguey Single Village Mezcals.


Laura Cullen

Liberty Consulting

Laura Cullen founded Liberty Consulting driven by the idea that core values including work ethic, inclusion and the desire to affect meaningful change in the hospitality industry should be an integral part of any business strategy. Laura is currently working with her clients to give them the freedom to succeed and the liberty to pursue happiness.


More names to come: Judges are being added as they are confirmed

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