An international spirits competition bringing wider recognition to fine spirits among top-flight bartenders worldwide.
Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is pleased to be a presenting partner of the New Orleans Spirits Competition – a new global call for evaluating spirits to recognize the best being produced today — craft brands as well as legacy brands.
The New Orleans Spirits Competition is open to all classes of spirits, domestic and international – whiskey, gin, brandy, vodka, rum, agave spirits, liqueurs – as well as the emerging class of non-alcoholic spirits.
An initial round of judging will take place in June with a championship round staged publicly during Tales of the Cocktail® 2023 in July. This second round will determine ten “best-in-class” spirits announced in an award ceremony held during the Meet the Distillers event.
This year the competition will also honor a Distillery of the Year. Brands that enter four or more SKUs are eligible, with the average score of all brands entered determining the winner. Also new in 2023, the judging will be open to a new class: Ready-to-Drink cocktails.
The competition aims to become one of the world’s most prestigious spirits judgings anywhere, proudly representing a city famous for its drinks culture, and an organization synonymous with quality craft cocktails and spirits.
Feb 21, 2023 - Early-bird Pricing ends
April 21, 2023 - Deadline for Import Entries (Spirits not yet imported to the US)
May 19, 2023 -Extended Deadline for Domestic Entries (Spirits legal to market in the US)
May 26, 2023 - Spirits Shipments Must Arrive
The full slate of 2023 judges will be announced this spring. The 2022 blind judging featured numerous luminaries from the bar and spirits world, including Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich, Tiffanie Barriere, Lynette Marrero, Lauren Mote, Matt Hofmann, Peggy Noe Stevens, Alex Day, Jeff Berry, and Karen Hoskin.
The panels will rate and provide tasting notes for each sample, awarding medals for Silver, Bronze, Gold, and “Best of Class” Category for each class of spirit (i.e. “Whisky of the Year,” “Vodka of the Year,” etc).
A preliminary judging round will be held before Tales of the Cocktail. Spirits professionals and industry experts will be seated in panels of four to make the initial assessment. Flights of similar spirits will be served blind to each panel to evaluate based on a strict set of criteria including, aromas, flavor, mouthfeel, and finish. Panels will make tasting notes and discuss scores to arrive at a consensus.
The top-scoring spirits in each class of spirit will advance to a championship round. This first-of-its-kind public judging will blind tasting will be conducted publicly during Tales of the Cocktail, with an audience of industry professionals participating in an educational tasting along with the judges. The judges will openly debate the spirits and determine winners to be designated Spirits of the Year for each class of distilled spirits.
Winners and medalists will be announced following the championship round and be invited to the TOTC’s Meet the Distillers tasting on Friday, July 28, where they will have the opportunity to sample their products for bartenders, spirits buyers, and journalists in attendance.
NOSC is pleased to begin unveiling its esteemed panel of 2023 judges, with many more judges to be announced. Headlining this year’s panel is a variety of industry experts from a wide range of backgrounds and diverse experience portfolios. An initial list of 2023 NOSC judges includes:
- Andrew Friedman, Owner, Industry Spirits | Seattle, WA
- Ashley Barnes, Master Blender | Harrodsburg, KY
- Benjamin Padrón Novoa, Co-founder, Licorería Limantour | Mexico City, MX
- Geoffrey Wilson, Leadership Team, Turning Tables | New Orleans, LA
- H. Joseph Ehrmann, Proprietor, Elixir | Boise, ID
- Jason Heiligenberg, Winemaker & Distiller, Huber Winery & Starlight Distillery | Floyds Knobs, IN
- Karen Hoskin, Distillery Owner & Founder, Montanya Distillers | Crested Butte, CA
- Matthew Rowley, Writer | San Diego, CA
- Molly Wellmann, Owner, Molly Wellmann LLC | Cincinnati, OH
- ms. franky Marshall, Educator & Consultant, Modern Bartender | New York, NY
- Neal Bodenheimer, Managing Partner, CureCo. | New Orleans, LA
- Paul Clarke, Editor in Chief, Imbibe | Seattle, WA
- Peggy Noe Stevens, Founder & President, PNSA | Louisville, KY
- Scott Blackwell, Co-Owner, High Wire Distilling | Charleston, SC
- Tiffanie Barriere, Educator, Bartender & Consultant | Atlanta, GA
Please stay tuned as NOSC announces its full suite of 2023 judges.