Tales of the Cocktail Foundation Announces the Top 4 Finalists and Digital Playbill for the 2023 Spirited Awards®

Posted on: Jun. 21, 2023 | | By: Aly Velasquez

The 17th annual Spirited Awards celebrates global excellence in the drinks industry and recognizes professionals, organizations, and establishments shaping the cocktail community

NEW ORLEANS, LA (June 21, 2023) — Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) is honored to announce the Top Four Finalists  for the 17th annual Spirited Awards® and share the 2023 Digital Playbill. Since its founding in 2007, the Spirited Awards® have become one of the industry’s most revered awards, recognizing beverage professionals, products, and establishments across every facet of the spirits and cocktail community on a global scale. In partnership with Forbes, the Spirited Awards® official media partner, TOTCF will honor recipients during the Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference, which is celebrating its 21st-year in New Orleans from July 23-28, 2023.

The Spirited Awards are comprised of industry accolades, both domestic and international, writing and media awards, and overall awards that transcend regionality, including World’s Best Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu. Today, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is proud to announce the Top Four finalists of each category, in addition to the recipients of the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award, Timeless U.S. and International Awards, and the Tales Visionary Award. The awards categories spotlight a range of talent from bartenders, journalists, brand ambassadors and industry luminaries, to brands and media, to ensure each aspect of the industry is represented and recognized for its incomparable contributions.

“For an industry that has for so long looked to the past for tutelage, I believe we are firmly in an era where today’s best bars, bartenders, writers, and distillers work with original thought and exciting new ideas, and I am grateful for the light we get to shine on our nominees in each region around the world,” said Charlotte Voisey, Spirited Awards Overall Chair. “A very big thank you goes to our 24 co-chairs and 250 judges of the Spirited Awards. Your time and integrity ensures this process is the best it can be and the most representative of our dynamic industry.”

2023 Spirited Awards® Top Four Nominees (in alphabetical order):

INTERNATIONAL CATEGORIES

International Bartender of the Year presented by The Busker

  • Gina Barbachano — Hanky Panky, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Giorgio Bargiani — Connaught Bar, London, UK
  • Daniel Schofield — SCHOFIELD’S BAR, Manchester, UK
  • Luke Whearty — BYRDI, Melbourne, Australia

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Simone Caporale
  • Danil Nevsky
  • Agostino Perrone
  • Christina Veira

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Caitlin Hill — Rémy Cointreau
  • Daniyel Jones — House of Angostura®
  • Dave Mitton — Lot 40 / J.P. Wiser’s
  • Nicola Riske — The Macallan

Best International Bar Team presented by Angostura Caribbean Rum

  • ALQUÍMICO — Cartagena, Colombia
  • Atwater Cocktail Club — Montreal, QC, Canada
  • Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel — Singapore
  • Paradiso — Barcelona, Spain

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by Patr​​ón Tequila

  • 🔶🟥🔵 — London, UK
  • ALQUÍMICO — Cartagena, Colombia
  • Atwater Cocktail Club — Montreal, QC, Canada
  • SIPS — Barcelona, Spain

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Perrier

  • ARGO at the Four Seasons — Hong Kong, China
  • BKK Social Club at Four Seasons Bangkok — Bangkok, Thailand
  • Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel — Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel — Singapore

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Analogue Initiative — Singapore
  • ARCA Restaurant & Bar — Tulum, Mexico
  • Bar Kismet — Halifax, NS, Canada
  • Danico — Paris, France

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Last Word — Singapore
  • Line Athens — Athens, Greece
  • Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar — Bangkok, Thailand
  • Night Hawk — Singapore

U.S. CATEGORIES

U.S. Bartender of the Year presented by Pernod Ricard USA

  • Caer Maiko Ferguson — DrinkWell / Daijoubu, Austin, TX
  • Kapri Robinson — Allegory at the Eaton Hotel, Washington, DC
  • Masahiro Urushido — Katana Kitten, New York, NY
  • Christine Wiseman — Marygold’s Brasserie / Broken Shaker, Miami, FL

Best U.S. Bar Mentor presented BarSmarts

  • Anu Apte
  • Colin Asare-Appiah
  • Nectaly Mendoza
  • Chris Patino

Best U.S. Brand Ambassador presented Libbey

  • Kiowa Bryan — Spiribam
  • Chris Cabrera — Bacardi USA
  • Cameron George — Ardbeg Single Malts
  • Vance Henderson — Hendrick’s Gin

Best U.S. Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons

  • Happy Accidents — Albuquerque, NM
  • Nickel City — Austin, TX
  • Pacific Cocktail Haven — San Francisco, CA
  • Yacht Club — Denver, CO

Best U.S. Cocktail Bar presented by Absolut Vodka

  • Century Grand — Phoenix, AZ
  • Double Chicken Please — New York, NY
  • Overstory — New York, NY
  • Service Bar — Washington, DC

Best U.S. Hotel Bar presented by Grey Goose

  • Allegory at the Eaton Hotel — Washington, DC
  • Dear Irving on Hudson at the Aliz Hotel — New York, NY
  • Hey Love at The Jupiter — Portland, OR
  • Little Rituals at the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott — Phoenix, AZ

Best U.S. Restaurant Bar presented by Amaro Montenegro and Select Aperitivo

  • Café La Trova — Miami, FL
  • Cleaver Butchered Meats & Seafood — Las Vegas, NV
  • Kumiko — Chicago, IL
  • Palomar — Portland, OR

Best New U.S. Cocktail Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Chez Zou — New York, NY
  • Martiny’s — New York, NY
  • Milady’s — New York, NY
  • Pacific Standard at the KEX Portland — Portland, OR

WRITING & MEDIA CATEGORIES

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • CLASS Magazine
  • Difford’s Guide
  • Punch
  • The Cocktail Lovers Magazine

Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Black and Brown Podcast
  • Radio Imbibe
  • Shōshin Art Club 
  • The Speakeasy Podcast

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • “The Drinks Industry Has an Ageism Problem” by Betsy Andrews, for SevenFifty Daily
  • “The Great Mezcal Heist” by Emma Janzen, for Eater
  • “The Secrets to the Best Dry Martini You’ll Ever Have” by David Wondrich, for The Daily Beast
  • “This Is What Decolonizing a Spirit Looks Like” by Adaorah Oduah, for Punch

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Mindful Mixology: A Comprehensive Guide to No- and Low-Alcohol Cocktails with 60 Recipes by Derek Brown
  • Modern Classic Cocktails by Robert Simonson
  • The Bartender’s Manifesto by Toby Maloney with Emma Janzen
  • The New York Times Essential Book of Cocktails – Elevated and Expanded, edited by Steven Reddicliffe

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • A SENSE OF PLACE: A journey around Scotland’s whisky by Dave Broom
  • Doctors and Distillers: The Remarkable Medicinal History of Beer, Wine, Spirits, and Cocktails by Camper English
  • Modern Caribbean Rum: A Contemporary Reference to the Region’s Essential Spirit by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith
  • Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara

GLOBAL CATEGORIES

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

  • Martini & Rossi Floreale Non Alcoholic Aperitivo
  • PATRÓN El Alto Tequila
  • Saint Benevolence Aged Rum Clairin
  • The Fords Gin Co. Sloe Gin

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • ALQUÍMICO — Cartagena, Colombia
  • Double Chicken Please — New York, NY
  • Handshake Speakeasy — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Panda & Sons — Edinburgh, Scotland

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Baba Au Rum — Athens, Greece
  • In Situ Mezcalería — Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Raised by Wolves — San Diego, CA
  • Swift Soho — London, UK

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award presented by William Grant & Sons

  • Desmond Payne MBE

Timeless International Award presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel Singapore — Singapore

Timeless U.S. Award presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Tiki-Ti — Los Angeles, CA

Tales Visionary Award Presented by Johnnie Walker

  • Tiffanie Barriere

The 17th Annual Spirited Awards Ceremony

The 17th annual Spirited Awards Ceremony Ceremony will be celebrated on July 27, 2023 at the Fillmore New Orleans. For those who are interested in attending the Spirited Awards, three tiers of tickets are now available – Spirited Awards Ceremony Side Seating, Spirited Awards Ceremony Stadium Seating, and the Spirited Awards Viewing Party. Additional information, as well as the ticket purchasing platform, may be found via the Spirited Awards website. 

2023 Spirited Awards® Digital Playbill

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is pleased to share the official 2023 Digital Playbill which further outlines finalist highlights, insights on the judging process from Spirited Awards Co-Chairs, and a comprehensive look at this year’s generous sponsors. For more information, please visit www.talesofthecocktail.org/events/spirited-awards

Spirited Awards® Judges

Below is a list of Spirited Awards® Chairs, responsible for overseeing the judging process this year:

  • Spirited Awards Overall Chair
    • Charlotte Voisey
  • Spirited Awards International Chair
    • Jacob Briars
  • Asia Pacific Co-Chairs
    • Lorenzo Antinori
    • Sam Bygrave
    • Pankaj Balachandran
    • Charmaine Thio
  • Canada Co-Chairs
    • Kate Boushel
    • Sabrine Dhaliwal
  • Europe Co-Chairs
    • Roberta Mariani
    • Nicola Riske
  • Latin America & Caribbean Co-Chairs
    • Carlos Aguinsky
    • Jean Trinh
  • Middle East & Africa Co-Chairs
    • Stephen “Kojo” Aidoo
    • Cassandra Eichhoff
    • Caitlin Hill
  • U.S. Central Co-Chairs
    • Steva Casey
    • Lynn M. House
  • U.S. East Co-Chairs
    • Jackson Cannon
    • Laura Cullen
  • U.S. West Co-Chairs
    • Jason Asher
    • Mary Palac
  • Writing & Media Co-Chairs
    • François Monti
    • Matthew Rowley
    • Sandrae Lawrence
  • Timeless Co-Chair
    • Jared Brown
    • Anistatia Miller

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 ensuring that our judging panel reflects their incredible diversity in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality. Recognizing that inclusion is key to a well-represented committee, TOTCF strives to ensure that we have an equitable representation of gender across the judging panel. The Spirited Awards® are not based on popular vote and all nominations are evaluated by their respective judging committees. 

Spirited Awards Directory 

Tales of the Cocktail is thrilled to share the Spirited Awards® Directory in partnership with Absolut Vodka, Angostura Caribbean Rum, BarSmarts, Diageo Bar Academy, Grey Goose, Amaro Montenegro, Select Aperitivo, Johnnie Walker, Libbey, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic, Patron Tequila, Perrier, Pernod Ricard, The Busker, and William Grant & Sons. Giving discerning imbibers a comprehensive compendium of all 900+ Spirited Awards winners and nominees from the past 17 years, the Directory is an interactive, global map created to easily guide guests to officially recognized Spirited Awards establishments.

This resource will be updated annually, making it an easy-to-use tool to plan which bars to visit at home or when traveling. Use the Spirited Awards® Directory today to explore award-winning bars.

A Special Thanks: Spirited Awards® Sponsors

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation would like to thank all of its Spirited Awards sponsors. Title Partners: Diageo Bar Academy, Pernod Ricard; Presenting Partners: Bacardi Limited, William Grant & Sons; Supporting Partners: Angostura Caribbean Rum, Gruppo Montenegro, Johnnie Walker, Libbey, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic, Perrier, The Busker; Official Beer of the Spirited Awards: Zony Mash Beer Project; Official Glassware of TOTC2023: Libbey; Official Mixer of TOTC2023: East Imperial; Official Water of TOTC2023: Perrier.  

Please follow along for additional information on the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, please visit the website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

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About Tales of the Cocktail Foundation:

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that Educates, Advances, and Supports the global hospitality industry and creates a lasting impact in its host communities. TOTCF is the global leader in spirits education and a platform that tackles critical issues and topics facing the cocktail community. This year, TOTCF  hosts its 21-year anniversary Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference in New Orleans from July 23-28, 2023, and celebrates the theme Vitalize.

About Forbes

Forbes champions success by celebrating those who have made it, and those who aspire to make it. Forbes convenes and curates the most influential leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving change, transforming business and making a significant impact on the world. The Forbes brand today reaches more than 150 million people worldwide through its trusted journalism, signature LIVE and Forbes Virtual events, custom marketing programs and 44 licensed local editions in 77 countries. Forbes Media’s brand extensions include real estate, education and financial services license agreements.

Media Inquiries: 

Foxglove Communications

Gia Vecchio, [email protected], 917.280.5043

Hunter Smith, [email protected], 803.397.8878 


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