Debbi began bartending 14 years ago when she moved from Chicago to Maui, Hawaii. After three years, a few thousand Piña Coladas and Mai Tai’s, it was “back to reality” and back home to Chicago where she trained under Master Mixologist Bridget Albert.
After taking the Academy of Spirits and Fine Service and the Advanced Mixology Culinary Academy, Debbi caught the competition bug which allowed her to win several national and international competitions in Italy, France, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan and St. Martin.
Before joining Southern Wine and Spirits of Illinois’ Education Department, Debbi ran the farm to table cocktail program at The Bristol and most recently, the only “Amaro” based cocktail program in Chicago at Balena.
As Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois’ Mixologist, Debbi designs cocktails for the top restaurants, bars, hotels and lounges in the State of Illinois in addition to teaching at the Academy of Spirits and Fine Service and Advanced Mixology Culinary Academy. Debbi’s cocktail philosophy is fresh, simple, approachable, yet complex in flavor.
Debbi is the current President of the United States Bartenders Guild Chicago Chapter, serves on the USBG National Charity committee, and holds the Beverage Chair for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation-Chicago.
Debbi was honored by the James Beard Foundation as one of the Nation’s Top Female Mixologists in 2008 and was a 2011 nominee for Jean Banchet’s “Best Mixologist” Award. She is a three time National Champion in the I.B.A. World Cocktail Challenge (2007, 2010 and 2011) and was a cast member on Season 3 of the reality bartending show “On the Rocks” The Search for Americas Best Bartender.
Debbi has been featured in the following publications: Chicago Tribune, Time Out Chicago, CS Magazine, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Chicago Social, Night Club and Bar, Cheers Magazine, Red Eye, The Reader, and United Airlines Hemispheres