Out of This World: The 11th Annual Spirited Awards

In 2017, we’re taking Tales of the Cocktail beyond the stratosphere at the 11th Annual Spirited Awards. The show might be here on Earth at the Sheraton New Orleans, but the celestial inspired cocktails served will be otherworldly as we hand out awards for the best bars, bartenders, distillers, ambassadors and writers from around the world (and beyond?)

If you’re feeling especially festive come in your favorite outer space or futuristic-themed attire as we celebrate the out-of-this-world talent of our industry.

NOMINATIONS FOR THE SPIRITED AWARDS ARE CLOSED.

Spirited Awards 2017 Categories and Criteria

American Categories

Best American Bar Team

The award recognizes the best collection of talent working in an American bar today, including bartenders, barbacks, servers and front of house; can range from two dynamic tenders who bring a unique, compelling chemistry to their small bar to a larger troupe that orchestrates the theater of a high-volume craft experience.

Considerations include:

  • Professionalism
  • Dedication
  • Hospitality
  • Consistency of service
  • High quality cocktails
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2016

American Bartender of the Year

Awarded to an American bartender that has had the most influence on drinks styles and cocktail culture this year.

Considerations include:

  • Innovation in drink creations
  • Personability, hospitality and generous spirit
  • Technical, practical skills and knowledge
  • National recognition of their work and personal recipes that have crossed borders and appeared on cocktail menus in other areas
  • Must work regularly behind a bar–at least 2 shifts / week or more

Best American Brand Ambassador

Awarded to the American ambassador whose creative use of brand communication, combined with personality, has had the most impact on the promotion of drink brands through engaging the trade and executing compelling education and seminars.

Considerations include:

  • Trade engagement
  • Quality of education and seminars
  • Creativity in brand communication
  • Must be working as a full-time Brand Ambassador in the field with a primary focus on education for the trade
  • Excludes any Brand Executives

Best American Cocktail Bar

This award recognizes the American bar that set the highest of standards in the industry and influenced national cocktail trends over the past year.

Considerations include:

  • Menu
  • Bar teams
  • Atmosphere
  • Cocktail quality
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2016
  • Must be a free-standing bar
Note: For those bars that qualify for Best American/International Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar and Hotel Bar will only considered for final ten and final four in one of the above categories. In case of ambiguity, the judging panel reserves the right to decide which category is the most appropriate.

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar

This award recognizes the high volume American bar that consistently delivers top cocktails and service.

Considerations include:

  • Consistently produces a high-number of quality cocktails / week
  • Menus
  • Bartending
  • Service
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2016

Best American Hotel Bar

Awarded to the American hotel bar that offers the best five-star service and consistently well-made drinks in a comfortable setting, ultimately upholding the tradition of the classic hotel bar.

Considerations include:

  • Service
  • Consistency
  • Cocktail quality
  • Atmosphere
  • Ability to cater to an international guest
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2016
Note: For those bars that qualify for Best American/International Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar and Hotel Bar will only considered for final ten and final four in one of the above categories. In case of ambiguity, the judging panel reserves the right to decide which category is the most appropriate.

Best American Restaurant Bar

This award recognizes an American restaurant bar that is dedicated to creating a great cocktail experience for their dining guests.

Considerations include:

  • Aperitif and digestive drinks
  • The food and cocktail menus need to be well integrated
  • Bartending
  • Mixology excellence
  • Establishment must have full dinner menu
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2016
  • Must already have high ratings as a primarily food and wine business
Note: For those bars that qualify for Best American/International Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar and Hotel Bar will only considered for final ten and final four in one of the above categories. In case of ambiguity, the judging panel reserves the right to decide which category is the most appropriate.

Best New American Cocktail Bar

This award recognizes a recently opened American cocktail bar that made an immediate impact on cocktail culture and set new high standards for the industry.

Considerations include:

  • Creativity
  • Décor
  • Service
  • Execution of drinks
  • Must have opened between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017

International Categories

Best International Bar Team

The award recognizes the best collection of talent working in an international bar today, including bartenders, barbacks, servers and front of house; can range from two dynamic tenders who bring a unique, compelling chemistry to their small bar to a larger troupe that orchestrates the theater of a high-volume craft experience.

Considerations include:

  • Professionalism
  • Dedication
  • Hospitality
  • Consistency of service
  • High quality cocktails
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2016

International Bartender of the Year

Awarded to an international bartender that has had the most influence and impact on drink styles and cocktail culture this year.

Considerations include:

  • Innovation in drink creations
  • Personability, hospitality and generous spirit
  • Technical, practical skills and knowledge
  • International recognition of their work and personal recipes that have crossed borders and appeared on cocktail menus in other areas
  • Must work regularly behind a bar–at least 2 shifts / week or more

Best International Brand Ambassador

Awarded to the International ambassador whose creative use of brand communication, combined with personality, has had the most impact on the promotion of drink brands through engaging the trade and executing compelling education and seminars.

Considerations include:

  • Trade engagement
  • Quality of education and seminars
  • Creativity in brand communication
  • Must be working as a full-time Brand Ambassador in the field with a primary focus on education for the trade
  • Excludes any Brand Executives

Best International Cocktail Bar

This award recognizes the international bar that has set the highest of standards and influenced cocktail trends, on a global level, over the past year.

Considerations include:

  • Menu
  • Bar teams
  • Atmosphere
  • Cocktail quality
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2016
  • Must be a free-standing bar
Note: For those bars that qualify for Best American/International Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar and Hotel Bar will only considered for final ten and final four in one of the above categories. In case of ambiguity, the judging panel reserves the right to decide which category is the most appropriate.

Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar

This award recognizes the high volume international bar that consistently delivers top cocktails and service.

Considerations include:

  • Consistently produces a high-number of quality cocktails / week
  • Menus
  • Bartending
  • Service
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2016

Best International Hotel Bar

Awarded to the international hotel bar that offers the best five-star service and consistently well-made drinks in a comfortable setting, ultimately upholding the tradition of the classic hotel bar.

Considerations include:

  • Service
  • Consistency
  • Cocktail quality
  • Atmosphere
  • Ability to cater to an international guest
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2016
Note: For those bars that qualify for Best American/International Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar and Hotel Bar will only considered for final ten and final four in one of the above categories. In case of ambiguity, the judging panel reserves the right to decide which category is the most appropriate.

Best International Restaurant Bar

This award recognizes an international restaurant bar that is dedicated to creating a great cocktail experience for their dining guests.

Considerations include:

  • Aperitif and digestive drinks
  • The food and cocktail menus need to be well integrated
  • Bartending
  • Mixology excellence
  • Establishment must have full dinner menu
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2016
  • Must already have high ratings as a primarily food and wine business
Note: For those bars that qualify for Best American/International Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar and Hotel Bar will only considered for final ten and final four in one of the above categories. In case of ambiguity, the judging panel reserves the right to decide which category is the most appropriate.

Best New International Cocktail Bar

This award recognizes a recently opened international cocktail bar that made an immediate impact on cocktail culture and set new high standards for the industry.

Considerations include:

  • Creativity
  • Décor
  • Service
  • Execution of drinks
  • Must have opened between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017

Writing Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication

This award recognizes outstanding journalism (magazine, newspaper, online media) that features bars, bartenders, cocktails, spirit reviews and drink trends in the industry.

Considerations include:

  • Beverage related content
  • Innovative, engaging, and notable writing pieces
  • Distinguished and dynamic collection of writers
  • Exciting and impressive photography
  • Must upload a sample of the publication with nomination form
  • Publication must have been published between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer

Great journalism is one of the best ways to communicate to the general public the value and significance of great bars, bartenders, cocktails and related products. This award recognizes an outstanding author (magazine, newspaper, online media) that highlights bars, bartenders, cocktails, spirit reviews and drink trends in the industry.

Considerations include:

  • Influence and following within industry
  • Innovative, engaging, and notable collection of published and online writing pieces
  • Must upload a sample of writing with nomination form
  • Writings must have been published between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book

This award recognizes the best book published in the past year regarding cocktails, bars, bar design, or bartending in general.

Considerations include:

  • Bartending or cocktail related content
  • Innovative, engaging, and compelling writing
  • Book must have been published between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017
    • New editions of existing books may also be nominated
Note: A book can only be nominated one of these categories (Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book or Best New Spirits Book). In case of ambiguity, the judging panel reserves the right to decide which category is the most appropriate.

Best New Spirits Book

This award recognizes the best book published in the past year regarding spirits or other things widely accepted as cocktail ingredients.

Considerations include:

  • Spirits or cocktail ingredient related content
  • Well-researched, innovative, and compelling writing
  • Book must have been published between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017
    • New editions of existing books may also be nominated
  • A book can only be nominated into one of the book categories.
    • In case of ambiguity, judges will advise on appropriate category
Note: A book can only be nominated one of these categories (Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book or Best New Spirits Book). In case of ambiguity, the judging panel reserves the right to decide which category is the most appropriate.

Global Categories

Best Bar Mentor

This award recognizes those individuals who, in their professional life, play a crucial role in raising the quality of bars, bartenders and cocktails without currently working as a bartender.

Considerations include:

  • Inspiration to others in the industry
  • Level of professional standards
  • Positive impact on the industry in their career
  • Innovation in the industry
  • Exceptional industry insights
  • Willingness to foster and educate the next generation

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient

This award recognizes the item that has made the most significant impact on the cocktail and bar industry in the past year.

Considerations include:

  • Must be a spirit (liquor, liqueur) or a cocktail ingredient (tonic, bitters, syrup or garnish)
  • Must be available for purchase by consumers and trade
  • Item may be new or a new reformulation
  • Item must have been launched between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017

World’s Best Cocktail Menu

This award recognizes a bar’s ability to communicate its offerings to their guests in a physical manner–via hard copy bar menu or board.

Considerations include:

  • Originality and creativity of design
  • Content: range of spirits and specialty cocktails
  • Diversity of cocktail styles
  • To be considered, a PDF or JPG copy of the menu must be uploaded along with nomination form

World’s Best Spirits Selection

This award recognizes a venue that stocks an outstanding range of spirits.

Considerations include:

  • Comprehensiveness of one particular spirit or category
  • Discernment and extraordinary dedication to the spirit or category
  • Number of bottles stocked and/or focus on specialty, rare or vintage selections
  • Staff knowledge of the spirit or category
  • PDF or JPEG copy of the spirits selection must be uploaded along with nomination form
Disclaimer: Any person or establishment that won an award at last year’s Spirited Awards® is not eligible for nomination in the category for which it won. Also, no person or establishment can win an award more than twice in the same category.

Nominations for the 11th Annual Spirited Awards will be open April 1, 2017 through April 30, 2017.

NOMINATIONS ARE CLOSED.

Judging

Thank you to our 2017 Spirited Awards Chairmen and judges for volunteering you time and supporting Tales of the Cocktail, the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society and of course, the Spirited Awards.

International Committee Chairman: Jacob Briars
US Committee Chairman: Brooke Arthur, Derek Brown and Bridget Albert
Writing Committee Chairman: Paul Clarke
Spirited Awards Chairperson: Charlotte Voisey

Nomination Process

Protocol for Judges

Voting Procedures


U.S. Judges

Tony Abou-Ganim – Las Vegas, NV

Jacques Bezuidenhout – San Francisco, CA

Erick Castro – San Diego, CA

Jim Meehan – Portland, OR

Yael Vengroff – Los Angeles, CA

Jessamine McClellan – San Francisco, CA

Kiowa Bryan – Los Angeles, CA

Josh Harris – San Francisco, CA

Alex Day – Los Angeles, CA

Alexis Doctolero – San Francisco, CA

Martin Cate – San Francisco, CA

Scott Baird – San Francisco, CA

Simon Ford – Los Angeles, CA

Gabe Orta – Los Angeles, CA

Paul Sanguinetti – Los Angeles, CA

Andie Ferman – San Francisco, CA

Chris Patino – San Diego, CA

Brian Ellison – Madison, WI

Doug Frost – Kansas City, MO

Kate Gerwin – Bismark, ND

Sean Kenyon – Denver, CO

Jimmy Yeager – Aspen, CO

Bobby Heugel – Houston, TX

Charles Joly – Chicago, IL

Ryan Maybee – Kansas City, MO

Mike Ryan – Chicago, IL

Kyle McHugh – Chicago, IL

Matt Seiter – St. Louis, MO

Joshua Johnson – St. Louis, MO

Angie Jackson – Kalamazoo, WI

Sonja Kassebaum – Chicago, IL

Jeff Rogers – Minneapolis, MN

John Lermayer – Miami, FL

Ivy Mix – New York, New York

Gary Reagan – New York, New York

Julie Reiner – New York, New York

Trevor Frye – Washington, D.C.

Andy Seymour – New York, New York

Misty Kalkofen – Boston, MA

Steve Olson – New York, New York

Colin Asare-Appiah – New York, New York

Clyde Davis – New York, New York

Francine Cohen – New York, New York

Brooks Reitz – Charleston, SC

Jackson Cannon – Boston, MA

Liza Weisstuch – Boston, MA

Naren Young – New York, New York

Chris Hannah – New Orleans, LA

Laura Cullen – Miami, FL


U.S. Writing Awards Judges

Paul Clarke - Seattle, WA

Brad Parsons - Brooklyn, NY

Matt Rowley - San Diego, CA

Jeff Berry - New Orleans, LA

Scott Hocker - New Orleans, LA

Hanna Raskin - Charleston, SC

Kat Kinsman - Brooklyn, NY


International Judges

Jacob Briars - Bacardi - NYC

Struan Ralph - Glenfiddich - NYC

Philip Duff - Consultant - NYC

Camille Vidal - St. Germain - NYC

Stuart McCluskey - Bon Vivant - Edinburgh

Max Warner - Chivas Regal - London

Claire Warner - LVMH – London

Stephanie Jordan - Tanqueray - London

Michael Vachon - Maverick Drinks - London

Tim Judge - Bulleit - London

Georgie Bell - John Dewar’s - London

Simon Difford - Diffords Guide - London

Giuseppe Gallo - Italicus - London

Alex Kratena - Independent - London

Ryan Chetiyawardana - Mr Lyan - London

Sandrae Lawrence - The Cocktail Lovers - London

Marc Plumridge - Bacardi - London

Ian Burrell - Rum Ambassador – London

Kevin Hurley - Teeling’s - Dublin

Emily Wheldon - Diageo - Amsterdam

Monica Berg - Independent - Oslo

Carina Tsou - Quixotic Projects - Paris

Thierry Daniel - Liquid Liquid - Paris

Nico de Soto - Mace/Danico - NYC/Paris

Sullivan Doh - Le Syndicat - Paris

Natalia Garcia - Bacardi - Madrid

Nicola Riske - Macallan - Madrid

Andrea Montague - Forgotten Hospitality - Barcelona

Joerg Meyer - Bar Le Lion - Hamburg

Nils Wrage - Mixology - Berlin

Rebecca Almqvist - Absolut - Stockholm

Ricardo Dynan - Absolut - Stockholm

Max LaRocca - Diageo - Rome

Daniele Dalla Polla - Nu Lounge Bar - Bologna

George Nemec - Becherovka - Prague

Michael Menegos - Independent - Athens

Richard Irwin - Bacardi - Dubai

Zdenek Kastanek - Proof and Company - Singapore

Arijit Bose - Monkey 47 - Singapore

Martin Newell - Diageo - Hong Kong

Micaela Piccolo - Ferrand - Shanghai

Theo Watt - Drinks Magazine - Shanghai

Adam Devermann - Bacardi - Shanghai

Hidetsugu Ueno - Bar High Five - Tokyo

Soran Nomura - Kyro - Tokyo

Shingo Gokan - Speak Low/Sober Speaker - Shanghai

John Gakuru - Sweet and Chilli - Australia

Jason Crawley - Drinks Cabinet - Australia

Hayley Morison - Beam Suntory - Australia

Frankie Walker - Lion - New Zealand

Christine Sismondo - Independent - Toronto

Lauren Mote - Bittered Sling - Vancouver

Rebecca Quinonez - Ron Zacapa - Miami

Daniyel Jones - Angostura - Trinidad

Joseph Mortera - Hendrick’s - Mexico

Benjamin Novoa - Limantour - Mexico

Tony Harion - Grey Goose – Rio


International Writing Awards Judges

Adam McDowell - Toronto

Dave Broom - Glasgow

Francois Monti - Madrid

Fernando Castellon - Paris

Alexandre Vingtier - Paris

Sandrae Lawrence - London