TOTC 2016 Save the Date

In 2007, Tales of the Cocktail® created the Spirited Awards® to provide some much needed recognition of the best bars and bar talent from the United States and around the world. The 2016 Spirited Awards are pleased to announce this year’s USA, International and Writing Judging Committees. These judges vote in their respective committees for the distinctive award categories. The winners will be announced on Saturday, July 23 at this year’s ceremony.


In 2016, we’re celebrating 10 years of the Spirited Awards with a bar crawl through time. We’ll travel to three different decades to sample the drinks and celebrate the music, movies and style of these bygone eras. Come dressed in your favorite 50s, 80s or 2000s attire as we recognize the best bars, bartenders, distillers, writers and more from the past year. It’s a cocktail party that’s been a decade in the making.

Spirited Awards 2016 Categories and Criteria

American & International Categories

Best American/International Bar Team

From a tandem of two dynamic tenders who bring a unique, compelling chemistry to their small bar to the larger troupes that orchestrate the theater of a high-volume craft experiences, it is teamwork that often makes the difference in a world-class bar. This award recognizes the best collection of talent working in a bar today, including bartenders, barbacks, servers and front of house. Judges will look for those qualities that collectively contribute to the overall success of the bar, including professionalism, dedication, hospitality, consistency of service and high quality cocktails. To be considered for this category, nominees must have opened by March 31, 2015.

American/International Bartender of the Year

This award recognizes the bartenders that have had the most influence on drinks styles and cocktail culture this year. The winner should be innovative, experienced, personable and possess extensive technical and practical skills and knowledge. The winner must have received national/international recognition of their work with their own recipes crossing borders to appear on cocktail menus in other areas. Nominees must be regularly working behind the bar. This award is not based on nationality but rather the location where the bartender works.

Best American/International Brand Ambassador

This award recognizes the importance of personality in the promotion of drink brands and their creative use of brand communication to engage the trade and their ability to execute compelling education and seminars. This person must be working as a full-time Brand Ambassador with a primary focus on education on the trade and excludes any Brand Executives.

Best American/International Cocktail Bar

This award recognizes the bars that set the highest of standards and influences cocktail trends and seeks to award the best cocktail bar both international and in the United States. Menu, bar teams, atmosphere and cocktail quality are all considered. To be considered for this category, nominees must have opened by March 31, 2015 and 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/International High Volume Cocktail Bar

This award recognizes the bar that consistently delivers top quality cocktails at bars with a capacity of 100 people or more. This award celebrates the bars that deliver cocktail culture to the masses efficiently. Cocktails, menus, bartending and service are all considered. To be considered for this category, nominees must have opened by March 31, 2015.

Best American/International Hotel Bar

The classic hotel bar has played an important role in the history and development of cocktail culture. The award recognizes the hotel bars that uphold this tradition (but are not necessarily old) and offer five-star service and consistently well-made drinks in a comfortable setting. The ability to cater to an International guest is also considered. To be considered for this category, nominees must have opened by March 31, 2015.

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/International Restaurant Bar

This award recognizes the restaurant bar that is dedicated to creating a great cocktail experience for their dining guests. Considerations will go to the approach they have to aperitif and digestive drinks, how well they work with the kitchen to pair cocktails with food, as well as general bartending and mixing excellence. It is important that the primary business of the restaurant is food and wine and that it is a restaurant has been given high ratings as such. To be considered for this category, nominees must have opened by March 31, 2015.

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/International Cocktail Bar

New bars are constantly opening and this award aims to reward those bars that make an immediate impact on cocktail culture and set new high standards for the industry. This award recognizes creativity, décor and service as well as well-executed drinks. Only bars that opened between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 will be eligible for this award.


Writing Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication

This award recognizes the outstanding non-book journalism (Magazine, Newspaper, Website, etc) that features bars, bartender, cocktails, spirit reviews and drink trends in the industry. Judges will not only look at content but also at presentation, photography and collection of writers. To be considered for this award, a sample must be uploaded to your nomination form.

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 that highlights bars, bartender, cocktails, spirit reviews and drink trends in the industry. To be considered for this award, a sample must be uploaded to your nomination form.

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. New editions of existing works may also be nominated. To be considered for this award, the book must have been published between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016.

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 past year regarding spirits or other things widely accepted as cocktail ingredients. New editions of existing works may also be nominated. To be considered for this award, the book must have been published between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016.

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.

Overall Categories

Best Bar Mentor

Not everybody who is having an impact on the quality of cocktails works behind the bar as bartenders. There are many people who are creating outstanding bar programs, training the next generation of great bartenders, and playing an active role in designing the bars that we all love to drink in. 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. The winner of this award is also someone who has inspired many others in this industry.

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. Up for consideration are cocktail ingredients (spirit, liqueur, tonic, bitters, syrup or garnish) that bartenders might use at home or at their bar for improved cocktail service. To be considered for this award, products must have been launched between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 and must be available for purchase.

World’s Best Cocktail Menu

A comprehensive menu is the best way for a bar to communicate it’s capabilities to the guest and to show their creativity and individuality. Based on the physical menu itself, the judges will consider design, content (range of spirits and specialty cocktails), originality, diversity, research and styles of cocktails presented. To be considered for this award, a PDF or JPEG copy of the menu must be uploaded to your nomination form.

World’s Best Spirits Selection

This award recognizes a venue that stocks an outstanding range of spirits. The judges will favor comprehensiveness, discernment and extraordinary dedication to a particular spirit and take staff knowledge, sheer number of bottles stocked and specialty, rare and vintage selections into account in making their decision. To be considered for this award, a PDF or JPEG copy of the spirits selection must be uploaded to your 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.

Judging

Simon Ford, the Spirited Awards® Chairman, has assembled a separate committee chairmen to oversee each judging committee, ensuring the judging process is executed fairly.

The International committee, overseen by Jacob Briars will consist of 50 qualified judges from across the globe. Jackson Cannon will lead the USA judging committee comprised of 50 judges knowledgeable about the bar culture in the USA and the industry as a whole. The Writing committee, made up of 9 leaders in the cocktail and spirits writing industry, will be led by David Wondrich, an esteemed industry author. His most recent publications are Imbibe and Punch.

Having committees dedicated to each of these categories brings more integrity and accuracy to the awards themselves.


International:
United States:

Jacob Briars, New York (Chairman)*
Rebecca Almqvist, Stockholm
Eric Andersson, Hong Kong
Georgie Bell, Edinburgh
Jared Brown, London
Ian Burrell, Global*
Salvatore Calabrese, London
Dean Callan, Global*
Fraser Campbell, Barcelona
Ryan Chetiyawardana, London
Jason Crawley, Melbourne
Thierry Daniel, Paris
Ali Dedianko, London
Adam Devermann, Shanghai
Simon Difford, London*
Adam Elmegirab, Aberdeen
Eric Fossard, France
John Gakuru, Australia
Giuseppe Gallo, Italy
Natalia Garcia, Barcelona
Shingo Gokan, Shanghai
Tony Harion, Brazil
Richard Irwin, Dubai
Tim Judge, Global
Zdenek Kastanek, Singapore*
Alex Kratena, London*
Max LaRocca, Italy
Sandrae Lawrence, London
Michael Menegos, Greece
Joerg Meyer, Germany
Joseph Mortera, Mexico
Lauren Mote, Canada
George Nemec, Prague
Martin Newell, Hong Kong
Benjamin Novoa, Mexico City
Jared Plummer, Sydney*
Marc Plumridge, London
Rebecca Quinonez, Global
Christine Sismondo, Canada
Tim Stones, Global
Rebecca Sturt, Dubai
Carina Tsou, Paris
Hidetsugo Ueno, Japan
Michael Vachon, London
Camille Vidal, Global
Frankie Walker, New Zealand
Claire Warner, London*
Max Warner, Global
Theo Watt, China
Nils Wrage, Germany

Jackson Cannon, Boston (Chairman)*
Tony Abou-Ganim, Las Vegas
Bridget Albert, Chicago
Colin Appiah, New York
Brooke Arthur, San Francisco
Jacques Bezuidenhout, San Francisco
Derek Brown, Washington DC
Erick Castro, San Diego*
Paul Clarke, Seattle
Francine Cohen, New York
Laura Cullen, San Francisco
Alex Day, Los Angeles
Elayne Duff, New York
Brian Ellison, Madison
Camper English, San Francisco
Ryan Fitzgerald, San Francisco
Doug Frost, Kansas City
Trevor Frye, Washington DC
Chad George, Denver
John Gertsen, San Francisco
Kate Gerwin, North Dakota
Chris Hannah, New Orleans
Josh Harris, San Francisco
Bobby Heugel, Houston
Charles Joly, Chicago*
Misty Kalkofen, Boston*
Sean Kenyon, Denver
John Lermayer, Miami
Ryan Magarian, Portland
Ryan Maybee, Kansas City
Jim Meehan, Portland*
Ivy Mix, New York
Jeffrey Morganthaler, Portland
Steve Olsen, New York
Chris Patino, New York
Dave Pickerell, Vermont
Julie Reiner, New York*
Gary Regan, New York
Todd Richman, Miami
Jim Ryan, New York
Mike Ryan, Chicago
Jon Santer, Emeryville
Andy Seymour, New York
Charlotte Voisey, New York
Joshua Wagner, Miami
Liza Weisstuch, New York
Courtney Wilson, Denver
Jimmy Yeager, Aspen
Rocky Yeh, Seattle
Naren Young, New York
Dushan Zaric, Los Angeles


Writing:Advisory:
Dave Wondrich, New York (Chairman)
Fernando Castellon, Lyon
Beppi Crosariol, Toronto
Wayne Curtis, New Orleans
Robert Hess, Seattle
Alice Lascelles, London
Pat Nourse, Sydney
David Broom, Brighton
Gary Regan, New York

Simon Ford
Angus Winchester

Lifetime Achievement Committee:
Julio Bermejo
Salvatore Calabrese
Dale DeGroff
Peter Dorelli
Jonathan Downey
Gary Regan


* Denotes a member of the advisory committee as well as of a judging committee


Nomination Process

Protocol for Judges

Voting Procedures

Nominations have closed.

Tickets

In 2016, we’re celebrating 10 years of the Spirited Awards® with a bar crawl through time. We’ll travel to three different decades to sample the drinks and celebrate the music, movies and style of these bygone eras. Come dressed in your favorite 50s, 80s or 2000s attire as we recognize the best bars, bartenders, distillers, writers and more from the past year. It’s a cocktail party that’s been a decade in the making.

For more information on purchasing tickets and/or tables, please visit TalesoftheCocktail.com.