TOTCF Spirited Awards






Spirited Awards 2019 Categories and Criteria

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.

American Categories

Best American Bar Team

This award recognizes the best collection of talent working in an American bar today, including bartenders, barbacks, servers and front of house. Eligible recipients may range from two dynamic bartenders who bring a unique, compelling chemistry to their small bar to a larger team 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, 2018

American Bartender of the Year

This award recognizes the American bartender who has had the most influence on drinks styles and cocktail culture.

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 a week or more

Best American Brand Ambassador

This award recognizes 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 sets the highest of standards in the industry and has influenced national cocktail trends.

Considerations include:

  • Menu
  • Bar teams
  • Atmosphere
  • Cocktail quality
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2018
  • Must be a free-standing bar

Note: The bars that qualify for Best American or International Cocktail Bar, Best American or International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar or Hotel Bar will only be considered for the 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 American high volume bar that consistently delivers top cocktails and service.

Considerations include:

  • Consistently produces a high-number of quality cocktails weekly
  • Minimum 100 person capacity
  • Menus
  • Bartending
  • Service
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2018

Note: The bars that qualify for Best American or International Cocktail Bar, Best American or International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar or Hotel Bar will only be considered for the 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 Hotel Bar

This award recognizes 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, 2018

Note: The bars that qualify for Best American or International Cocktail Bar, Best American or International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar or Hotel Bar will only be considered for the 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, 2018
  • Must already have high ratings as a primarily food and wine business


Note: The bars that qualify for Best American or International Cocktail Bar, Best American or International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar or Hotel Bar will only be considered for the 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, 2018 and March 31, 2019


Note: The bars that qualify for Best American or International Cocktail Bar, Best American or International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar or Hotel Bar will only be considered for the 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.

International Categories

Best International Bar Team

This award recognizes the best collection of talent working in an International bar today, including bartenders, barbacks, servers and front of house. Eligible recipients may range from two dynamic bartenders who bring a unique, compelling chemistry to their small bar to a larger team 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, 2018

International Bartender of the Year

This award recognizes the International bartender who has had the most influence on drinks styles and cocktail culture.

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 a week or more

Best International Brand Ambassador

This award recognizes 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 sets the highest of standards in the industry and has influenced international cocktail trends.

Considerations include:

  • Menu
  • Bar teams
  • Atmosphere
  • Cocktail quality
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2018
  • Must be a free-standing bar


Note: The bars that qualify for Best American or International Cocktail Bar, Best American or International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar or Hotel Bar will only be considered for the 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 International high volume bar that consistently delivers top cocktails and service.

Considerations include:

  • Consistently produces a high-number of quality cocktails / week
  • Minimum 100 person capacity
  • Menus
  • Bartending
  • Service
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2018


Note: The bars that qualify for Best American or International Cocktail Bar, Best American or International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar or Hotel Bar will only be considered for the 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 Hotel Bar

This award recognizes 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, 2018


Note: The bars that qualify for Best American or International Cocktail Bar, Best American or International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar or Hotel Bar will only be considered for the 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 the 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, 2018
  • Must already have high ratings as a primarily food and wine business


Note: The bars that qualify for Best American or International Cocktail Bar, Best American or International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar or Hotel Bar will only be considered for the 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 has 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, 2018 and March 31, 2019


Note: The bars that qualify for Best American or International Cocktail Bar, Best American or International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar or Hotel Bar will only be considered for the 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.


Writing & Media 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
    • For hard copy samples, the cost of submitting and shipping the sample are the responsibility of the publisher, publicist, or author
    • Please contact natalia@talesofthecocktail.org to arrange coordination and shipping of hard copy samples (as applicable). You will be required to mail samples after close of the submission period (May 13th). You will be required to mail samples after close of the submission period (May 13th).
  • Sample must have been published between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019

Disclaimer: English is the shared language for the judging committee. For the most thorough consideration by the judges, samples should either be published in English or translated into English. Samples in non-English languages are welcome, but the judges' abilities to read and score such samples may be limited.

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
  • In order to recognize a single, exceptional piece of work, candidates must upload one writing sample per nomination.
  • Samples must have been published between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019

Best New Cocktail or 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, 2018 and March 31, 2019 and must be wildly available
    • New editions of existing books may also be nominated
  • A sample of the final, finished book must be submitted with the nomination form; nominations without judging samples cannot be considered
    • When submitting book samples, hard copies are preferred, though digital samples may also be accepted.
    • For hard copy samples, the cost of submitting and shipping the sample are the responsibility of the publisher, publicist or author.
    • Please contact natalia@talesofthecocktail.org to arrange coordination and shipping of hard copy samples (as applicable). You will be required to mail samples after close of the submission period (May 13th).

Note: A book can only be nominated in one of these categories (“Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book” or “Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History or Spirits”). In case of ambiguity, the judging panel reserves the right to decide which category is the most appropriate.

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History or Spirits

This award recognizes the best long-form nonfiction published in the past year, including works on drinks culture, cocktail history, drinks-releated personal memoir, spirits and distillation, or other aspects of the drinks world.

Considerations include:

  • Content must be related in some way to spirits, cocktail history, bar culture, or similar themes
  • Well-researched, innovative and compelling writing
  • Book must have been published between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019
    • New editions of existing books may also be nominated
  • A sample of the final, finished book must be submitted with the nomination form; nominations without judging samples cannot be considered.
    • When submitting book samples, hard copies are preferred, though digital samples may also be accepted.
    • For hard copy samples, the cost of submitting and shipping the sample are the responsibility of the publisher, publicist or author.
    • Please contact natalia@talesofthecocktail.org to arrange coordination and shipping of hard copy samples (as applicable). You will be required to mail samples after close of the submission period (May 13th).
  • Note: A book can only be nominated in one of these categories (“Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book” or “Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History or Spirits”). In case of ambiguity, the judging panel reserves the right to decide which category is the most appropriate.


Best Broadcast, Podcast or Online Video Series

This award recognizes the best broadcast, podcast or online video series regarding bars, bartenders, cocktails, spirit reviews, drinks trends in the industry and bartending in general.

Considerations include:

  • Beverage related content
  • Influence and following in the industry
  • Innovative, engaging and notable media pieces
  • Must upload a sample or link of the broadcast, podcast or online video series with nomination form
  • Broadcast, podcast or online video series must have been published between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019



Global Categories

Best Bar Mentor

This award recognizes the individual who, in their professional life, plays 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 with a minimum of three state distribution in the U.S. or in three countries in the rest of the world.
    • Provide a list of outlets in key markets where the product on distribution
  • Top 10 selected candidates will be asked to submit a sample product
  • Item may be new or a new reformulation
  • Item must have been launched between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019

World’s Best Cocktail Menu

This award recognizes the 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.


*NEW* Philanthropy Award

This award recognizes outstanding service by an individual or institution that demonstrates outstanding commitment to the hospitality community either through direct financial support, development of charitable or educational programs, volunteering and/or leadership in philanthropy.

Considerations include:

  • Depth/breadth of reach
  • Lasting Impact in community
  • Innovation/Creativity to address an issue or need in the hospitality industry

Additional Industry Awards (Not Available for Public Nomination)


Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award

This award recognizes the achievement of an individual, whom over the course of their career, has made significant contributions and lasting impact in the hospitality industry


*NEW* Timeless American Award

This award recognizes an American bar that is a pillar in its community, has built a strong reputation for being an important space within its local and regional community, and one that has provided a benchmark for the industry there. The American Classic is a bar that is both welcoming and familiar, but also respected as an institution that has encouraged the culture and growth of other establishments, and has been a staple for locals and visitors alike. Eligible recipients should embody the culture and warmth of the city or location in which it resides, offer quality cocktails, consistent customer service and a certain compelling quality that makes it truly resonate within its community.

Considerations include:

  • Unique environment that represents its location
  • Customer Service
  • Focus on Hospitality
  • Consistency of service
  • Quality cocktails
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2008 (10+ years)

*NEW* Timeless International Award

This award recognizes an International bar that is a pillar in its community, has built a strong reputation for being an important space within its local and regional community, and one that has provided a benchmark for the industry there. The International Classic is a bar that is both welcoming and familiar, but also respected as an institution that has encouraged the culture and growth of other establishments, and has been a staple for locals and visitors alike. Eligible recipients should embody the culture and warmth of the city or location in which it resides, offer quality cocktails, consistent customer service and a certain compelling quality that makes it truly resonate within its community.

Considerations include:

  • Unique environment that represents its location
  • Customer Service
  • Focus on Hospitality
  • Consistency of service
  • Quality cocktails
  • Must have opened prior to March 31, 2008 (10+ years)

Contact partners@talesofthecocktail.org for 2019 Spirited Awards® Sponsorship Opportunities!

Nominations for the 13th Annual Spirited Awards® are LIVE!

Click HERE to submit a nomination.

Submissions will be accepted between 10:00 A.M. CST April 22 - 11:59 P.M. CST May 13, 2019.


Please note that inquiries will be responded to within business hours (9:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. CST) during this time period.

Judging

Thank you to the 2019 Spirited Awards Chairs and judges for volunteering their time and supporting the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation and the Spirited Awards.

Nomination Process

Protocol for Judges

Voting Procedures


SPIRITED AWARDS COMMITTEE


Spirited Awards Chairperson: Charlotte Voisey

International Spirited Awards Chair: Jacob Briars

Writing Chair: Paul Clarke

U.S. Chairs: Kiowa Bryan, Bridget Albert


International Chairs

Latin America & Canada: Joseph Mortera & Lauren Mote

Europe: Claire Warner & Giuseppe Gallo

Asia & Pacific: Micaela Piccolo & Zdenek Kastanek

Middle East & Africa: Kurt Schlechter & Rebecca Sturt


U.S. Judges

  • Announcement forthcoming


U.S. Writing Judges

  • Announcement forthcoming


International Writing Judges

  • Announcement forthcoming


International Judges

  • Announcement forthcoming