Despite a jet-set lifestyle that can have her styling cocktails in Hawaii one day, and filming for national TV the next, luxury brand mixologist Elayne Duff’s first love is talking craft cocktails with bartenders, bar managers and owners.
After graduating from St. John’s University in her native Staten Island, Elayne worked as an event organizer and account supervisor, launching Cîroc vodka all around the USA together with Sean “P Diddy” Combs, before reinventing herself as Diageo’s first-ever luxury Mixologist/Ambassador. Never one to do things by halves, Elayne threw herself into learning everything she could about spirits and cocktails, graduating in the first-ever class of the grueling B. A. R program in New York, attending one of the first “Cocktails in the Country” courses with industry legend Gaz Regan, and interning at globally recognized, award-winning New York bars like The Dead Rabbit and the three-Michelin-star restaurant Le Bernardin.
“Elayne’s devotion for all things spirits and cocktails is truly infectious,” says Gaz Regan. “Her dedication has sent her around the world, exploring and teaching about the true integrity of the craft.”
“Elayne is an absolute joy to watch working; her energy and enthusiasm is unrivalled,” says Sean Muldoon, Dead Rabbit. “ She is well liked and highly respected by all who know her, and is one of my favorite people in the entire industry.”
Elayne is much in demand to speak at bar shows everywhere around the world, having filled rooms as far afield as Copenhagen (Copenhagen Spirits & Cocktails), Berlin (Bar Convent Berlin) and Canada (Art of the Cocktail, Victoria, BC), as well as at massive national events in the US like Tales of the Cocktail (New Orleans) and the Nightclub & Bar Show (Las Vegas). On top of that, Elayne’s infectious passion for cocktails and polished presentation skills made her Diageo’s go-to person for media, being one of the most-requested mixology experts on Spike TV’s hit “Bar Rescue” show as well as being Andy Cohen’s favorite bartender on-set for “Watch What Happens Live!”
Other major projects for Diageo include creating and executing the wildly successful Delta Airlines Elite programs for onboard and in-lounge mixology, reflecting Elayne’s passion for classic recipes, fresh ingredients and luxury brands. During her career at Diageo Elayne designed seasonal cocktails for top Manhattan bars, consulted on new projects such as Pottery Barn’s new mixology section, evaluated liquid samples for new brands & line extensions, trained bartenders and distributors in Diageo’s Fifth Avenue training bar, researching seminar topics and keeping up to date on mixology trends all around the world.
Exciting changes came in September 2017, when Elayne decided to take her fifteen years of beverage industry experience and created her own consultancy company, Duff on the Rocks, LLC. Delivering on-trade solutions, hands on brand & consumer cocktail training programs, cocktail development & innovative brand building events.
Elayne lives in Manhattan with her husband and twelve-year-old daughter, plus a crested gecko named Dave.