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Spirited Awards®

Since its establishment in 2007, the Spirited Awards® has grown to become one of the most prestigious and coveted honors in the industry. The Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is incredibly pleased to be able to use this platform to support the global spirits industry during these unprecedented times at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail®.

Nomination Process

  • The Spirited Awards® have a long standing tradition of honoring beverage professionals and industry leaders, who in turn become regarded as influential role models among their peers. As such, all voters are urged to consider the character and conduct of all nominees and they’re affiliated organizations. If you have concerns about a candidate’s behavior or the culture at their bars or establishments, please do include them in the nomination process.
  • In order to be considered for any one category you only need ONE nomination per category.
  • The Spirited Awards® are NOT based on popular vote.
  • All nominations will be evaluated by their respective judging committees.
  • Nominations for the 2020 Spirited Awards® open on Monday, January 13th, 2020 at 10:00 AM CST and close on Wednesday, February 26th 11:59 PM CST.
  • Anyone is able to submit a Spirited Awards nomination through our online awards judging software program.
  • There can be no repeat winners in one category. The Foundation acknowledges that past Spirited Award winners have received honor and recognition for their achievement and wants to ensure that others who have not yet had this recognition have the opportunity to be awarded for their work in 2019 and beyond.
  • If a bar has previously won “World’s Best Bar,” they are no longer eligible to win another Spirited Award, except for “Timeless” or “Philanthropy” (which are selected through a different set of criteria).

NOTE: Many have asked questions on how the Foundation’s new Spirited Awards policy around repeat winners affects the Media & Writing categories, so we’d like to publicly make that information available.  As there are a limited number of dedicated spirits publications, repeat contenders are possible in this category; however, the rule that no single publication can win for two consecutive years remains intact. For the other media and writing categories that are centered around individual bodies of work — whether it’s a book or specific article— those are evaluated based on that specific piece of writing and therefore, the writer itself may be a repeat winner but the same body of work may not.

2020 Spirited Awards® Nomination Process was open January 13th – February 26th, 2020.

2020 Spirited Awards® Dates & Deadlines:

Nomination Period Opens: 10:00 AM CST January 13th, 2020

Nomination Period Closes: 11:59 PM CST February 26th, 2020

Top 10 Regional Honorees (Establishments) Announced: April 14th, 2020

Top 10 Nominees Announced (excluding Philanthropy Award and Additional Industry Categories): May 4th, 2020

Top 4 Finalists Announced (excluding Philanthropy Award and Additional Industry Categories): August 24th, 2020

Winners Announced: September 21st, 2020

Award Ceremony (announcing Best International Bar Mentor, Best American Bar Mentor, International Bartender of the Year, American Bartender of the Year, World’s Best Bar, Philanthropy Award, Timeless International, Timeless American, Lifetime Achievement, and Pioneer Award): September 24th, 2020

Spirited Awards® Judges

Spirited Awards® judges are a collection of respected bartenders, bar owners, educators, and writers from across the globe entrusted with this critical calling. Drawing on their years of experience and their knowledge of the current work being done locally, nationally, and internationally, together the judges can evaluate nominees from far and wide to ensure that the Spirited Awards® represents the breadth and diversity of the global drinks industry.

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Spirited Awards® Committee is dedicated to valuing the inclusion of the communities we serve by working towards recruiting a judging panel that reflects their incredible diversity in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality.

2020 Spirited Awards Judges

View the Judges

View the Spirited Awards® Judge Voting Procedure

Voting Procedures
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Judging Process

We aim to recruit judges of upstanding character who are diverse, extensively-traveled, recognized within their field, and representative of different-sized markets within their region. Recognizing that inclusion is key to a well-represented committee, TOTCF strives to ensure that we have a good representation of gender across the judging panel.

Regional Breakdown

Each year, the Spirited Awards® judges also break down regional recognitions for these categories. Please find the breakdown of each region below:

American Regions - United States - East

American Regions - United States - West

American Regions - United States - Central

International Regions - Europe

International Regions - Middle East & Africa

International Regions - Asia & Pacific (APAC)

International Regions - Latin America & Caribbean (LPAC)

International Regions - Canada

American/International Award Categories

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.

Spirited Awards® global awards for the drinks industry in which American (United States of America) and International barteams and individuals are recognized.

Best (American/International) Bar Team

*NEW* Best (American/International) Bar Mentor

(American/International) Bartender of the Year

Best (American/International) Brand Ambassador

Best (American/International) Cocktail Bar

Best (American/International) High Volume Cocktail Bar

Best (American/International) Hotel Bar

Best (American/International) Restaurant Bar

Best New (American/International) Cocktail Bar

Writing & Media Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History or Spirits

Best Broadcast, Podcast or Online Video Series


Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient

World’s Best Cocktail Menu

World’s Best Spirits Selection

Philanthropy Award

Pioneer Award

Additional Industry Awards

Not Available for Public Nomination

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award

Timeless American Award

Timeless International Award

World's Best Bar


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