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2021 Spirited Awards®

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation and the Spirited Awards Co-Chairs came to the difficult but necessary decision that there would be no equitable way to honor every award category for 2021.  The Spirited Awards will move forward with awarding key categories that could still be equitably judged during an unprecedented year: the Helen David Lifetime Achievement, Pioneer Award, Timeless U.S./International Awards, and the (5) Writing and Media categories.

The 2021 Spirited Awards Nomination Process is closed.

Monday, August 23, 2021: Writing & Media Top 10 Announced

2021 Spirited Awards Timeline

Monday, May 10, 2021 –Wednesday, June 2, 2021: Nomination Period

Monday, August 23, 2021:

Writing & Media Top 10 Announced

Digital Playbill Live

Spirited Awards Map Live

Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 4:00 PM CST: LIVE Virtual Spirited Awards Ceremony

Nomination ProcessWriting & Media Categories | Pioneer Award | Additional Award Categories | Spirited Awards Regional Breakdown | 2021 Spirited Awards Celebration | 2021 Spirited Awards Ceremony | 2021 Spirited Awards Committee | FAQs

2021 Spirited Awards Celebration

Since its founding in 2007, the Spirited Awards have become one of the industry’s most sought-after awards, recognizing beverage professionals, products, and establishments across every facet of the spirits and cocktail community on a global scale. However, given the drastic changes our industry faced in 2020, the Foundation must also change how we recognize our industry’s establishments’ and individuals’ accomplishments.

The design of the 15th Annual Spirited Awards celebration is to have our community feeling hopeful about the future. Although this year’s celebration of excellence in the spirits and drinks industry will be different, we invite you to join us for an extended celebration. 

In addition to the limited awards presentation this year, the Spirited Awards will also conduct a series of regional discussions with the global network of 19 Regional Co-Chairs and over 200 Regional Committee Members to identify voices in each Spirited Awards region to identify both existing trends over the past year that have shaped the way the industry has adapted from COVID-19, as well as emerging trends poised to push the spirits community forward. These narratives will be shared at this year’s digital Tales of the Cocktail® (September 20 – 23) during a special series of roundtables and showcased in a special segment at the Spirited Awards Ceremony.


2021 Spirited Awards Ceremony

The 15th annual Spirited Awards ceremony will take place September 23, 2021 at 4:00 PM CST and will award the winners from the  Helen David Lifetime Achievement, Pioneer Award, Timeless U.S./International Awards, and the (5) Writing and Media categories. The Ceremony will also include a segment presenting the Spirited Awards Committee’s findings on global/regional trends and recognize individuals and bars in each region that best exemplify those trends. 

2021 Nomination Process

The Spirited Awards have always been about celebrating excellence in the drinks industry. While reflecting on 2020 presents a difficult climate for the notion of excellence, it simultaneously presents a pivotal moment for global reflection of hard work and perseverance. As our industry persevered through the government shutdowns and travel restrictions across the globe in 2020, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation and the Spirited Awards Co-Chairs came to the difficult, but necessary, decision that there would be no fair way to honor every award category for 2021. 

This year’s Spirited Awards open-call nomination process IS NOW CLOSED and was for the Pioneer Award as well as the Writing & Media Categories ONLY

Categories open for public nomination are NOT based on the volume of nominations submitted. It only takes ONE nomination to be considered for an award, self-nominations accepted and encouraged! 

The 2021 Spirited Awards will not be recognizing any other award categories due to bar closures, differing timelines of COVID government shutdowns, global travel restrictions in 2020, and given that a majority of Spirited Awards categories are judged annually based on the nominee’s body of work for the year prior, there was no fair opportunity for judges to experience and evaluate these categories. 

Writing & Media Categories

A person or establishment may not win the same category two years in a row and is limited to no more than two awards in the same category within five years.

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



Pioneer Award

Additional Industry Awards

Not Available for Public Nomination

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award

Timeless US Award

Timeless International Award

Regional Breakdown

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

US Regions - United States - East

US Regions - United States - West

US 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

Spirited Awards Committee

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Spirited Awards® Committee, including Co-Chairs, Regional Committee Members, and Writing & Media Judges, is composed of respected bartenders, bar owners, educators and writers from across the globe. Drawing on their years of experience and their knowledge of the current work being done locally, nationally and internationally, together the Co-Chairs and Judges can evaluate nominees from far and wide to ensure that the Spirited Awards are inclusive and represent the breadth and diversity of the global drinks industry.

This Committee is dedicated to valuing the inclusion of the communities we serve by enlisting a judging panel that reflects their incredible diversity in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality.


2021 Spirited Awards Committee

View the Committee

View the Spirited Awards Judging & Committee Procedure

Voting Procedures

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why did TOTCF decide to award some categories this year but not others?

Which awards will be awarded Spirited Awards for 2021?

Which categories will not be awarded Spirited Awards for 2021?

How can I nominate someone?

What is the schedule for this year’s Spirited Awards Process?

What does this mean for the 2022 Awards?

How does this specifically impact 2022 eligibility for bars and products that debuted in 2021?

When will 2021 winners be announced?

What can we expect from the 2021 Spirited Awards?

Where will these new voices that have not previously won an award be featured within your programming?

How are you selecting new voices and trends to spotlight for 2021?

Why are there no Philanthropy Awards in 2021? Or honorees, like there were in 2020?


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