Tales of the Cocktail Foundation Announces Top 4 Finalists for the 2020 Spirited Awards®

Posted on: Aug. 24, 2020 | | By: Gia Vecchio

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (August 24, 2020) — Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) is honored to debut this year’s Top 4 Finalists for the 14th annual Spirited Awards®. Founded in 2007, the Spirited Awards celebrate beverage professionals, products, and establishments across every facet of the global spirits and cocktail community. The award categories spotlight a range of talent from bartenders, journalists, and brand ambassadors, to brands and media, to ensure each aspect of the industry is well represented and recognized for its contributions. 

This year the Foundation and its Co-Chairs have made some changes to champion this community more thoughtfully. The Best Bar Mentor category was expanded in order to recognize additional mentors worldwide who continue to nurture and inspire others. Previously, one mentor was selected annually, and now there are American and International recipients. Further, the Pioneer Award (which since its inception in 2012 has lived within the annual “Dame Hall of Fame,” program) has now been folded into the Spirited Awards. This decision was made in order to amplify the accomplishments of individuals who have made unique and lasting contributions to the accessibility and intersectionality of the global drinks community over their careers. Additionally, the “Philanthropy Award,” which was first introduced as a single award in 2019, will be used as a platform to highlight examples of the altruistic work that so many organizations and individuals are undertaking in the wake of the COVID-19 global health crisis.

After much consideration and discussion with the Spirited Awards Committee, the Foundation has made the decision to update its policy around repeat winners. Its goal in doing so is to acknowledge that past Spirited Award winners have received honor and recognition for their achievements, and the Foundation 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. This policy went into effect after this year’s Top 10 announcement, which means that this year’s Top 10 nominees who had previously won the category they were again nominated for were determined ineligible for the Top Four Finalist list. Moreover, moving forward, 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).

These new rules affected a handful of Top 10 nominees this year. As such, the Spirited Awards judges had to re-cast their votes for those categories in order to determine the new Top 4 Finalists. Mandating this change in the middle of the judging process was not easy. The Foundation believes it is imperative to ensure the Spirited Awards process is more transparent, equitable and fair. In the coming months, the Foundation will announce additional changes to the submission and judging process, designed to make the Spirited Awards more inclusive and accessible for all.

“For many months now, we debated whether an awards ceremony is what the world needs right now,” shared Caroline Rosen, President of Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. “Ultimately, we decided yes, we do need to continue to celebrate the resilience of our peers. Doubling down on philanthropic recognition and introducing categories that more accurately depict the range of voices contributing to the progress of our industry in meaningful ways — these are just a few of many steps forward we’re looking to make as an organization. Changing policies mid-awards cycle and recasting votes was a very difficult decision that we do not take lightly, but our hope is that it will create a more equitable and fair structure for all nominees.”

For the first time in history, the Spirited Awards will exist in an entirely digital format with a robust digital playbill spotlighting changes to this year’s awards, information on the nominees and insight into the process employed by Spirited Awards Co-Chairs. TOTCF will leverage its social media and digital platforms to celebrate global excellence. This will occur in two phases: a September 21 rollout of specific category winners via Tales’ website and a pre-recorded digital ceremony for select categories on September 24 (categories and dates denoted below). Given the volume of categories, spreading winner announcements out over the course of the Tales of the Cocktail® 2020 week will enable the organization to more thoroughly spotlight the winners and their work on the organization’s channels.

The Raise a Glass: 2020 Spirited Awards Preshow will be hosted on September 24th at 3pm CST and the awards presentation will begin at 4pm CST. For more information, visit www.talesofthecocktail.org

2020 Spirited Awards Top 4 Finalists (listed in alphabetical order)*:

AMERICAN CATEGORIES

Best American Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons

Winner announced on September 21 

  • Café La Trova — Miami, FL
  • Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA
  • Nickel City — Austin, TX
  • Pacific Cocktail Haven — San Francisco, CA

Best American Bar Mentor presented by BarSmarts

Winner announced at the Spirited Awards Ceremony on September 24

  • Bridget Albert 
  • Alex Day 
  • Lynn House 
  • Don Lee 

American Bartender of the Year presented by Pernod Ricard

Winner announced at the Spirited Awards Ceremony on September 24

  • Kevin Diedrich — Pacific Cocktail Haven, San Francisco, CA
  • Mary Palac — Paper Plane, San Jose, CA
  • Masahiro Urushido — Katana Kitten, New York, NY
  • Christine Wiseman — Broken Shaker, Los Angeles, CA

Best American Brand Ambassador presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • Tad Carducci — Amaro Montenegro 
  • Vance Henderson — Hendrick’s Gin
  • Robin Nance — Beam Suntory 
  • Dominic Venegas — Pernod Ricard USA

Best American Cocktail Bar presented by Pernod Ricard

Winner announced on September 21

  • Best Intentions — Chicago, IL
  • Katana Kitten — New York, NY
  • Pacific Cocktail Haven — San Francisco, CA
  • Raised by Wolves — San Diego, CA

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Winner announced on September 21

  • ABV — San Francisco, CA
  • Anvil Bar & Refuge — Houston, TX
  • Café La Trova — Miami, FL
  • Nickel City — Austin, TX

Best American Hotel Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Winner announced on September 21

  • Death & Co at the Ramble Hotel — Denver, CO
  • Libertine Social at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino — Las Vegas, NV
  • Mr. COCO at the Palms Casino Resort — Las Vegas, NV
  • The Spare Room at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel — Los Angeles, CA

Best American Restaurant Bar presented by Woodford Reserve 

Winner announced on September 21

  • Cleaver — Las Vegas, NV
  • Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA
  • Jimmy’s — Aspen, CO
  • The Silver Dollar — Louisville, KY

Best New American Cocktail Bar presented by Elijah Craig

Winner announced on September 21

  • Bar Goto Niban — Brooklyn, NY
  • Century Grand — Phoenix, AZ
  • Silver Lyan — Washington, D.C.
  • Thunderbolt — Los Angeles, CA

INTERNATIONAL CATEGORIES

Best International Bar Team presented by House of Angostura 

Winner announced on September 21

  • La Factoría — San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • MAYBE SAMMY — Sydney, Australia
  • The Clumsies — Athens, Greece
  • The Connaught Bar — London, UK

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced at the Spirited Awards Ceremony on September 24 

  • Simone Caporale 
  • Alex Kratena 
  • Lauren Mote 
  • Agostino Perrone

International Bartender of the Year presented by Martini & Rossi

Winner announced at the Spirited Awards Ceremony on September 24 

  • Bannie Kang — MU, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Kelsey Ramage —  Supernova Ballroom, Toronto, Canada
  • Rémy Savage — Le Syndicat, Paris, France
  • Kaitlyn Stewart — Royal Dinette, Vancouver, Canada

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • Camille Austin — Casa Lumbre Spirits
  • Martin Hudák — Mr Black Spirits
  • Daniyel Jones — The House of Angostura
  • Dave Mitton — Lot No. 40 & J.P. Wiser’s Canadian Whisky

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by Tequila Fortaleza

Winner announced on September 21

  • Floreria Atlántico — Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • MAYBE SAMMY — Sydney, Australia
  • Native — Singapore
  • Swift — London, UK

Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar presented by Beam Suntory

Winner announced on September 21

  • La Factoría — San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Licorería Limantour — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Panda & Sons — Edinburgh, Scotland
  • The Baxter Inn — Sydney, Australia

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation 

Winner announced on September 21

  • Fifty Mils at the Four Seasons Hotel — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Punch Room at The London EDITION — London, UK
  • Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood Hotel — London, UK
  • The Bamboo Bar at the Mandarin Oriental — Bangkok, Thailand

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • ámaZ — Lima, Peru
  • Le Mary Celeste — Paris, France
  • Sexy Fish — London, UK
  • Sober Company — Shanghai, China

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Perrier

Winner announced on September 21

  • BYRDI — Melbourne, Australia
  • Kwānt — London, UK
  • Tayēr + Elementary — London, UK
  • Tres Monos — Buenos Aires, Argentina

WRITING & MEDIA CATEGORIES

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

Winner announced on September 21

  • DRiNK Magazine Asia
  • Half Full
  • The Spirits Business
  • VinePair

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

Winner announced on September 21

  • “Mixopedia: Under Foot” by Wayne Curtis for Imbibe
  • “JaNee: Where is She Now” by Aaron Goldfarb for PUNCH
  • “Can There Be Terroir in Spirits?” by Kara Newman for Wine Enthusiast
  • “The Case for Drinking Scotch in Tiki Cocktails” by Becky Paskin for The Daily Beast 

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

Winner announced on September 21

  • Cocktails with a Twist by Kara Newman
  • The NoMad Cocktail Book by Leo Robitschek
  • The Martini Cocktail: A Meditation on the World’s Greatest Drink, with Recipes by Robert Simonson
  • Minimalist Tiki: A Cocktail Wonk Look at Classic Libations and the Modern Tiki Vanguard by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith

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

Winner announced on September 21

  • Drunk in China: Baijiu and the World’s Oldest Drinking Culture by Derek Sandhaus
  • Last Call: Bartenders on Their Final Drink and the Wisdom and Rituals of Closing Time by Brad Thomas Parsons
  • Understanding Spirits: Explaining Style and Quality by Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)
  • Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World by Derek Brown and Robert Yule

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

Winner announced on September 21

  • Difford’s Guide
  • Happy Hour History
  • The Speakeasy
  • WhiskyCast

GLOBAL CATEGORIES

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Winner announced on September 21

  • Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Las Milpas
  • Heaven Hill 7 Year Bottled-in-Bond
  • Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice
  • Tequila Fortaleza Winter Blend 2019

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Perrier

Winner announced on September 21

  • ATLAS Bar — Singapore
  • Little Red Door — Paris, France
  • Raised by Wolves — San Diego, CA
  • Tayēr + Elementary — London, UK

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Beam Suntory

Winner announced on September 21

  • Amor y Amargo – New York, NY
  • Raised by Wolves — San Diego, CA
  • Sexy Fish — London, UK
  • The Office — Chicago, IL

Timeless American Award presented by Q Mixers

  • Angel’s Share — New York, NY

Timeless International Award presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Boadas Cocktails — Barcelona, Spain

*By the time of the Awards, some bars may have closed temporarily or permanently in the wake of the pandemic. Some individuals listed might be furloughed or laid off at the time of the Awards, changing their bar or brand affiliation. The Spirited Awards assess the body of work from the year prior and represents how the individuals, establishments and brands were originally nominated.

The following Awards will be announced on September 24, 2020, during the digital Spirited Awards ceremony: Helen David Lifetime Achievement, presented by William Grant & Sons; Philanthropy, presented by Santa Teresa 1796 Rum; World’s Best Bar, presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation;  and the Pioneer Award, presented by Diageo Bar Academy. 

“In this very difficult time in the global industry, it is some rare good news to be able to celebrate the hard work of bartenders and bars around the world,” said Jacob Briars, Spirited Awards International Chair. “My hope is that the Awards this year shine a light on this amazing, resilient community, as well as inspiring the public to visit these great nominees.”

Spirited Awards Chairs:

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

Central U.S. Co-Chairs —  Bridget Albert, Shaun Traxler

West U.S. Co-Chairs — Kiowa Bryan, Mary Palac

East U.S. Co-Chairs — Laura Cullen, Andy Seymour

Europe Co-Chairs — Guiseppe Gallo, Claire Warner

Canada Co-Chairs — Evelyn Chick, Lauren Mote

Middle East & Africa Co-Chairs — Richard Irwin, Stephanie Simbo

Latin America & Caribbean Co-Chairs — Camille Austin, Tato Giovannini

Asia Pacific Co-Chair — Hayley Morison

Writing & Media Co-Chairs — Paul Clarke, Sandrea Lawrence, Francois Monti, Matthew Rowley

“The Spirited Awards not only unite hospitality at a time when we need it the most, they have allowed us to shine a bright light on the talent, passion and dedication of more incredible parts of the world. Although we may not be able to visit many of these vibrant establishments at the moment, the Awards are a reminder that no matter the distance, we are all united through a love of people, culture, food and drink,” shared Latin American & Carribean Spirited Awards Co-Chair Camille Austin.

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. Over the past year, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation worked with the regional chairs to ensure this year’s judging panel would be more geographically diverse and focused on recruiting more judges from mid-sized markets to better represent the range of the industry on a global scale. This is especially evident in the addition of three new Writing & Media Co-Chairs who span the globe for 2020. The Spirited Awards® are not based on popular vote and all nominations will be evaluated by their respective judging committees. 

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.

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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 lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events. Tales of the Cocktail® 2020 will be held digitally from September 21 – 24, 2020. For more information on Tales of the Cocktail, please visit www.talesofthecocktail.org

Media Inquiries: Gia Vecchio, gia@foxglovecommunications.com, 917.280.5043


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