VinePair is hosting a Live Finale for the Sherry Mixology Challenge, and you’re invited to attend and watch it all go down!

Thursday, November 19th 7PM Eastern

Join us as we watch the top 5 finalists compete LIVE to be crowned champion, and create their custom Sherry cocktails. The Finale will also feature in-house judges from the VinePair team, esteemed mixologist Shannon Mustipher, and Sommelier/ Sherry Educator Chantal Tseng.

Don’t miss this exciting event!


By attending the Live Finale you will be ENTERED TO WIN The Essential Cocktail Kit from the VinePair Store ($100 value).

Hosted By

Chantal Tseng

Chantal Tseng loves just about anything fermented and poured, as she tells it, but especially wine, tea and cocktails. She’s turned that love into over 20 years of serving drinks as a bartender, bar manager and part-time Sommelier.

She is a co-founder of Redeye Menus, a sherry pairing dinner social club that pairs sherry with Asian food. You might also find Chantal freelancing as a Sherry educator, promoting the local library, or just doing some chalk art. Her regularly scheduled passion of the last five years is running the “Literary Cocktails” series formerly based out of the Reading Room of Petworth Citizen, most recently re-located to the upstairs bar at The Gibson, where every weekend she creates specialty cocktail menus that are inspired by classic and contemporary literature. She also was named EaterDC’s 2013 Bartender of the Year and one of Daily Meal’s 25 Top Bartenders in America.

A true student of all things liquid, she is a Bar Ready graduate of the B.A.R. program, a Certified Sommelier via the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Sherry Educator from the Consejo Regulador in Jerez. She also plays a mean game of pool. You can find her posting regularly on Twitter and Instagram as @shinobipaws.

Adam Teeter

Adam founded VinePair with Josh Malin with one simple goal: create a publication he actually wanted to read in a space he was extremely passionate about. Since founding the publication Adam has become recognized as an authority on how to make the drinks world accessible to everyone as well as on the ever evolving media landscape. He is the winner of the Left Bank Bordeaux Cup American Wine-Tasting Championship and holds an MBA from NYU Stern.

Shannon Mustipher

Shannon Mustipher is a spirit’s educator, cocktail consultant, and expert of rum and cane spirits.In 2014, she became the Beverage Director of Glady’s Caribbean in Brooklyn and has poured cocktails in settings ranging from neighborhood pubs to Michelin restaurants. In addition to working with several spirits brands across a range of categories, she is one of the founding members of Women Leading Rum, an organization dedicated to providing education and professional development for industry and trade professionals.

In 2018, she launched Women Who Tiki, a tropical cocktail-centric popup that gathers a team of women bartenders to share their talents and collaborate on creating a one night only experience, which has been featured at Rumba Seattle, Tiki Oasis, and NY Cocktail Expo’s Rum Room. Shannon’s writing, cocktail recipes, and opinions have been featured in several publications, including,,, New York Magazine, Design Sponge, and the Huffington Post, and she has been a panelist and presenter at Bar Convent Brooklyn, NY Rum Rest, The Museum of Food and Drink, and Food Book Fair NYC.

She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and enjoys traveling, cooking, and collecting “too many books.” Shannon has also written the popular cocktail book, TIKI: Modern Tropical Cocktails, transporting readers to an endless vacation through drinks.


Deborah Wong

Pearl of the Orient (view)

  • 1 ½ ounces Hibiki Harmony infused with dried osmanthus flowers
  • 1 ½ ounces La Gitana Manzanilla
  • ½ ounce Yuzuri Yuzu Liquor
  • ½ ounce Goji berry syrup (Homemade)*
  • Garnish: Tangyuan (Asian glutinous rice ball) and Osmanthus flower rim

Glassware recommendation: Coupe glass

  1. Combine all ingredients into a beaker glass.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Stir all ingredients with ice.
  4. Strain into a chilled glass.

Note: Infuse whiskey with osmanthus flowers for three hours and strain before using.

*GOJI BERRY SYRUP:  Add two tablespoon of goji berries, quarter cup of rock sugar to half a cup of water and bring to boil. Take off heat after all the rock sugar melted and let the mixture sit for half an hour. Strain mixture.

BIO: I am currently completing my PhD in Linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles. My dissertation is on computational linguistics and the content is very dry, like my taste in sherry. I am very new to the world of mixology and my creations are quite inspired by flowers and (I think, clever) puns. Besides dissertating and cocktail making, I keep busy with ballet classes, ikebana flower arranging, and fixing ceramics I purposely break.

Gabriel Maldonado

The Original (view)

  • 1 mandarin orange
  • ¼ ounce Campari
  • 1 ½ ounces Bodegas Baron, Xixarito Moscatel Sherry
  • 1 ounce Lairds Applejack
  • Recommended garnish: honey & burnt orange tuile

Glassware recommendation: Coupe glass

  1. Muddle orange with Campari.
  2. Add sherry and applejack then fill shaker with ice.
  3. Shake cocktail then strain into a coupe.
  4. Recommended garnish: burnt orange tuile.
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp flour

Set the oven to 350. Add honey, sugar, water, and salt in a pan on medium heat and cook until mixture reaches 320 degrees F. Turn heat off and add orange zest first and stir, then add flour and stir. On a parchment lined sheet tray, smooth out mixtures until fairly even. Place in the oven for 8 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let cool. Once cool lightly shatter pieces of caramel tuiles for cocktails.

BIO: As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, I have always enjoyed everything food, wine, and hospitality. In entering the Sherry Mixology Challenge, I was elated at the opportunity to showcase my love for sherry and great cocktails. Growing up in NJ, I had always wanted to pursue the hospitality industry with all it has to offer. So much so, that I began my career as a dishwasher just so I can get my foot in the door. I even had worked in the kitchen for a small period as a line cook in Texas, Florida, and New Jersey. Years later I shifted into front of the house after graduating college and I have been privileged enough to work for some of the most highly acclaimed NYC restaurants. While since then, I have changed my career path to a corporate role of Talent Acquisitions for new and opened restaurants. Advancing forward my goal is to not just win this competition (fingers crossed), but to continue the fun an exhilarating exploration of food, wine, and service. Happy to be apart of this exciting contest and look forward to the finale!

Jen LaForge

Otoño Fizz (view)

  • 1 ounce Lustau Fino Sherry
  • 1 ounce Dussè VSOP
  • 2 ounces Carrot cordial*
  • ½ ounce lemon
  • 1 ounce aquafaba
  • 1 ounce soda water
  • Ice: 2 cubes to fill
  • Garnish: Trimmed Lemon Swath and Fennel sprig (affixed with small clip on side of glass)

(An environmentally conscious straw choice is preferred-personally I like sugarcane straws) Glassware recommendation: Collins glass

  1. In a small shaker tin build all ingredients except soda water.
  2. Add cubed ice and hard shake for 12-15 seconds.
  3. Single strain cocktail into small tin.
  4. Throw cocktail between two tins 4-6 times in order to further aerate mixture and add texture (can choose to dry shake instead).
  5.  In a chilled Collins glass pour the measured ounce of soda water.
  6. Tea-strain cocktail into glass.
  7. Top cocktail with 2 pieces of cubed ice to bring wash-line to top of glass.
  8. Garnish with a trimmed and clipped lemon swath and sprig of fennel.

Peel and juice raw carrots. Chinoise strain carrot juice to remove excess pulp. By weight, combine equal parts carrot juice to white sugar. Stir until sugar is completely integrated and dissolved.  Combine carrot syrup with Aguardiente (I used Antioqueño con Azucar) in a volume ratio of 3 parts carrot syrup to 1 part aguardiente. Stir until completely integrated. Store in a sealed container. Refrigerate. 

BIO: I am currently bartending at Blossom Bar in Brookline Village, Massachusetts where I have worked for the past few years. I am not originally from Boston, but I love New England and have called it home for more than half of my life.

Katie Renshaw

Animado (view)

  • 1 ½ ounces Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla
  • ½ ounce Valdespino Palo Cortado
  • ½ ounce chamomile-infused Talisker 10-yr
  • ¼ ounce Le Verger apple liqueur
  • 1 bsp truffle honey syrup (2:1 honey to water)
  • 10 drops smoked salt solution (4:1 water to salt)
  • Garnish: Spray of dill tincture and fresh dill piece

Glassware recommendation: Nick & Nora

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice.
  2. Stir to dilute and chill.
  3. Strain into Nick & Nora glass.
  4. Garnish with a spray of dill tincture and a fresh dill piece.

BIO: Katie is a bartender in Chicago, where her passion for cocktails and spirits drove her to leave her software development job to seek mentorship behind the bar. She’s bartended at some of Chicago’s top cocktail bars including Moneygun, Drumbar, GreenRiver, and Billy Sunday, and has also been recognized in several major bartending competitions. When she’s not bartending, Katie can be found playing music, doing yoga, or cooking to her heart’s content.

Yanni Walker

The Ghost Apple (view)

  • 1 ¼ ounces High West SILVER Whiskey
  • 1 ounce La Gitana (Manzanilla) Sherry
  • ¾ ounce Housemade Honeycrisp Apple Simple Syrup
  • 2 drops of Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Garnish: Picked,  Brulee'd Honeycrisp Apple cube (brulee skin only)
  1. Stir in mixing glass the mentioned ingredients (minus the garnish of course) 20 to 30 times.
  2. Strain chilled contents into coupe glass. Dip the apple cube garnish (SKIN ONLY) in honey, then dip that into a mixture of sugar & cinnamon (mostly sugar).
  3. Then BRULEE (hand torch) the sugar coated apple skin garnish so it's crisp but not burnt.
  4. Pick the Garnish (brulee'd skin side up when placing on the glass). Note: It's easier to pick the garnish first, then brulee the skin.
  • 2 ½ cups of diced up Market Honeycrisp Apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water, some shaved cinnamon

Over Med heat for 20 to 25 minutes stirring often until apple cubes are soft, but DO NOT smush the apples for more juice (It will make the final product to cloudy). Strain into vessel. Try to strain out the cinnamon flakes. Use mesh or double strain if need be. Let cool. 

BIO: Yanni has worked in hospitality for most of his life, but first became passionate about what the culinary industry could be when he was hired to be a part of the opening team as lead server at James Beard nominated Chef David Lefevre’s first restaurant in 2011 called Manhattan Beach Post. It was there that he first learned about seasonality, depth of flavor, and sustainability. He took those passions to heart which inspired him to eventually become head bartender at MB Post, to earning his level 1 Sommelier certification, to manager at Chef David’s second restaurant “Fishing With Dynamite”, then to AGM of FWD, and finally finishing his career at FWD as General Manager, which helped lead FWD to winning top 100 Restaurants in America by Open Table in 2017. Yanni was intricately involved with, and helped lead the cocktail program for Chef David Lefevre. A passion that he now utilizes with his home bar (which he is very proud of) that includes all the gadgetry and pageantry an aspiring mixologist could ever want!