Best Cocktail of the Year

TIKI Throw Down at

The New York Cocktail Expo.

The Contest for New York’s Top Cocktail!

Executive Judge: Eamon Rockey


Eamon Rockey is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (BPS ’06). He has worked in service, management, or partnership at some of NYC’s most highly regarded restaurants including Eleven Madison Park, Atera, Aska, and Betony, and regularly speaks around the world on hospitality, management, and bartending. He has spearheaded numerous critically acclaimed cocktail programs and is renowned for his international reintroduction of milk punches. In 2018, he launched Rockey’s, which introduced the world to the first widely available milk punch in over 150 years. He is also working on his first book, The Cocktail Bible, a definitive resource for professionals and enthusiasts alike. Eamon’s work behind the bar has been featured in multiple books as well as The New York Times, Edible Manhattan, Eater, The New York Daily News, Cooks Science, and The New Yorker.

Judge: Gregory J. Buda


Gregory J. Buda is the Director of Education and Training Manager at both the Dead Rabbit and BlackTail in New York City.  When not tending bar in Dead Rabbit’s cocktail parlor, he conducts trainings on spirits and bartending technique and travels the world promoting Dead Rabbit's and BlackTail's acclaimed cocktail programs through pop-ups, guest shifts, and seminars.  Greg is passionate about spirits education, specifically that regarding whisk(e)y, agave spirits, and sherry, and is currently a lecturer for the Irish Whiskey Experience, an in-depth industry training course on pot still Irish whiskey production and history

Judge: Lorelei Bandrovschi


Lorelei Bandrovschi, the founder of booze-free bar Listen Bar, started the concept on a dare. After forgoing alcohol for a month, Bandrovschi found that she loved going out booze-free. The only setback: the lack of places to go. So she set out to rewrite nightlife beyond alcohol. Featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, the NY Times and more, Listen Bar is now open one night every month in the East Village and has exceeded its crowdfunding goal for a permanent location.

Judge - TIKI Throw Down Panel:

Shannon Mustipher


Shannon Mustipher is the Best Selling Author of "TIKI Modern Tropical Cocktails", a seasoned spirits educator and has been featured in IMBIBE Magazine, & Punch Magazine. She is currently the Beverage Director of Glady’sCaribbean in Brooklyn, the founder of Women Who Tiki  and the Instructor of New York Cocktail Expo's Rum Academy.  Her passion & knowledge of Rum is Industry acclaimed and as an instructor, she delivers the spirit of this exciting category with clarity, grace and expertise.

Judge - TIKI Throw Down Panel:

Ben Schaffer


Ben Schaffer is the editor and publisher of the Rum Reader, an online magazine which investigates the exciting innovations and deep history of rum in the Caribbean and the world.

Judge - TIKI Throw Down Panel:

Kayla Mata

Bio via Collectif 1806: 

Starting out behind a fun, fast- paced bar slinging drinks in Southern California, Kayla’s interests began evolving into cocktails and their history. She started working for 320 Main in Seal Beach, CA where she truly evolved with the help of her gracious team. Her thirst for continuous growth and knowledge lead her to New York City where she was able to work with some of the best in the business including Greenwich Village staple the Spaniard. Kayla also joined the opening crew at BlackTail where she refined her points of service, consistency, and precision. She also spent three years working with Illegal Mezcal, growing the brand in NYC and immersing herself in the agave world.

Kayla has taken the role of New York Brand Ambassador for Collectif 1806 where she champions the Rémy-Cointreau portfolio over the past two years. She looks forward to sharing many cocktails with the people that make this industry so dynamic.

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