Meet the judges
A former lifestyle journalist covering everything from fashion and beauty for The Daily Telegraph to restaurant and theatre reviews for Where London Magazine, Sandrae is one half of The Cocktail Lovers, the eponymous magazine, website, events and consumer workshops company she runs with her husband Gary Sharpen. As well as publishing The Cocktail Lovers Magazine, their work, opinions and recipes appears in The Daily Telegraph, London Evening Standard, Time Out, Christie’s International, Ocado and Delicious magazines and together and separately, they are regularly asked to judge cocktail competitions around the world. Sandrae sits on both The World’s 50 Best Bars and Spirited Awards panels and champions women in the drinks industry through the Leading Ladies of Drinks project.
Simon Difford, the founder of diffordsguide.com, has been involved in the world of drinks for over 25 years, and is one of the worlds most renowned and respected drinks experts. He has been involved in most aspects of the drinks industry from running his own liquor store and wholesale company to importing spirits and brand creation, but is best known as a drinks writer and publisher, and spends much of his time traveling the world visiting distilleries and bars.Simon writes and publishes the Difford’s Guide range of drinks related books, the best known being the series of ‘Difford’s Guide to Cocktails’ with 3,000 colour-illustrated recipes and now on its 12th edition.In 2010 Simon launched diffordsguide.com, which has grown to become one of the world’s leading spirits, cocktail and bar websites. He is also the creator of London Cocktail Week, the UK’s biggest cocktail festival.
Creator of the famous group of Facebook Cocktail Art, the largest photo group of the world’s cocktails, discovering a natural talent in marketing through social networks, where today thousands of bartenders follow him around the world. Thanks to the many requests in October 2015 He created and begin his new Tour. Cocktail Art & Max 21 abv, The Cocktail “Under” a Different Point of View bringing him in different places around the world talking about his particular experience and doing taste its maximum 21 abv cocktails.
Ten years ago a friend gave me a ring about a tea sommelier competition that was going to be organized for the first time in the Netherlands. I had been participating in cocktail competitions for a few years back then and wanted to broaden my horizon. When I chose to enter this competition I could have never imagined where this decision would eventually take me. My first trip after winning the competition was to Sri Lanka, the home of Dilmah. I was given the chance to show my perspective as a cocktail bartender on tea to the worldwide Dilmah family at the global distributors meeting in 2008. Since then Dilmah has sent me to places all over the world to show a different side of tea, combining tea with my passions for hospitality and cocktails.
Now working as a full-time drink stylist, Tara has over a decade’s hospitality experience (Milk & Honey, Original Sin, Difford’s Guide, Happiness Forgets) which helps inform her visual aesthetic. Working currently across the two disciplines for the last six years, she has styled a wide range of still photography and video shoots across drinks industry and lifestyle.
Frauke Timmermans is an industrial designer who started working for Libbey a little over 8 years ago. Being the Creative Director, she works with a team of designers on all product developments for the EMEA region, functioning as a link between marketing- and design department. Having had her own design studio for 7 years, being specialized in jewelry design, she has developed an eye for detail, and an instinctive feeling for the right proportions and ‘’tension’” in her designs. She finds her challenge in visualizing the request of the customer, and enjoys being part of every step of the process of new product development, starting with the concept, ending with how to market the final product.