The IWSC catches up with Shannon Tebay

Alternative drinks

Fri 22 Apr 2022

Following our announcement earlier this year that Shannon Tebay is to head up our 2022 Mixer Awards sponsored by Double Dutch the IWSC managed to catch five minutes with the busy barista. Shannon has over a decade of experience in hospitality and recently left her homeland, the USA, to come to work in London.

To maximise what little time we had; we fired off a few quick round questions at Shannon:


Spirit & Mixer judging is all about balance. Can you share what you will be looking out for when tasting for these awards?

We're looking for spirits with enough flavour and character to be complimented by a mixer without being overshadowed by it. When great spirits are lengthened with mixers, so much of their nuance can show itself.


How important is it to judge spirits with mixers?

It's important to judge spirits with mixers because it's so often how they're enjoyed by the consumer. Additionally, some products really shine in interesting ways with a mixer, and this gives the judges the opportunity to taste them in a new context.


How do you go about selecting the right spirit/mixer combination for your drinks list?

Just like the spirits, mixers have their own unique character. The goal in pairing the two should be to showcase the idiosyncrasies of the spirits.  The mixers should be considered just as one would consider any other modifying ingredient in a cocktail.


For our Mixer awards, as well as the Gin & Tonic and Vodka & Tonic awards, this year we are adding Tequila & Tonic and Whisky Highball to the award categories. When pouring these drinks, are there any tips you can share to make the customer experience even more special?

Customization is key to creating a memorable guest experience. Even with an order as seemingly simple as a spirit and mixer, there are plenty of factors at play. Each permutation of spirit and mixer is unique, and honing in on exactly what the guest is hoping for can improve on a drink they already thought they knew inside and out.

Do you have a personal favourite spirit and mixer combination?

I'm a sucker for a scotch & soda. My favourite combination is anything from Campbeltown lengthened with Pellegrino. 



The IWSC’s Mixer Awards, sponsored by Double Dutch will be judged between 5-7 July. Entries close on 3 June, results will be announced on 14 July.