Spirited Awards® Judging Code of Conduct & Judging Procedures

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Spirited Awards® Committee, including Co-Chairs, and Judges, including: Regional, Writing & Media, Books, Timeless, Helen David Lifetime Achievement, etc. 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 Committee Members or 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 committees that reflect their incredible diversity in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality.

There is a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and discrimination among our Co-Chairs and Committee Members (Judges). Should it come to our attention that a Co-Chair and/or Committee Member violates these expectations of conduct, they will be removed from the committee immediately.

Any harassing, campaigning, or other activities meant to sway a Committee Member’s opinion and vote may be considered soliciting, and must be reported to Charlotte Voisey, Overall Chair and Alex Smith, Spirited Awards Director.

Spirited Awards Judging Rules

  • Judges are not eligible to vote in any category in which they or their workplace are nominated.
  • Judges are only eligible to vote in the categories or awards their committee is assigned.
  • Regional Judges are only eligible to vote for establishments that they have visited within the last 5 years. 
  • Judges should refrain from discussing nominees and potential winners on social media outlets in the context of the Spirited Awards.
  • Judges should not discuss votes, particularly any tiebreakers for the winner (if applicable), with anyone outside of the judging committee. 
  • If a Regional Judge has not been to at least 5 of the bars in that category or tasted at least 5 products, etc., a judge is required to abstain from voting in that category due to a presumed lack of knowledge. 
  • Judges are encouraged to conduct outside research i.e. tasting new products, frequenting establishments, reading media coverage, websites, and listening to podcasts in order to best inform their decision. 
  • Judges are asked to look beyond the nominee itself, and take issues of character, representation and reputation into consideration when voting, paying particular attention to adherence to no-tolerance on sexual harassment, and diversity.
  • Judges are encouraged to carefully read the writing samples and menu submissions for categories that apply. These files will be made available through OpenWater.
  • Committee Members will not be privy to the final list of Spirited Award Winners.

Voting Procedures

Upon receiving all of the nominees and information for each category, each judge will vote online using a ranking system of up to 5 top choices in each category. Judges are required to rank 5 in each category, otherwise, judges must choose to abstain from voting in that category.

  • Choice 1 will be weighted with 5 points
  • Choice 2 will be weighted with 4 points
  • Choice 3 will be weighted with 3 points
  • Choice 4 will be weighted with 2 points
  • Choice 5 will be weighted with 1 point

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award

The award recipient of the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award is selected by a committee composed of luminaries from the drinks industry, and has representation from prior winners of both the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award and Pioneer Award.

Pioneer Award

Nominees for the Pioneer Award are voted on by active Dame Hall of Fame® members.

Timeless U.S. Award and Timeless International Award

The award recipients of the Timeless U.S. Award and Timeless International Award are selected by a renowned committee composed of leading authorities on the drinks industry. Their collective insights and global reach work in tandem to help identify the best establishments eligible for these awards.


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