2008 Spirit Awards

Tales of the Cocktail is right around the corner in July and they've recently sent out their nominations for their 2008 Spirit Awards (No, this one is not about racial unity. It's "Spirit" like cocktails. Just FYI).

I'm not going to say a lot here except that I know a lot of these and I'm surprised by some of the bar choices as I know there are definitely better ones out there, but all award ceremonies tend to suck, so why fight it?

Best Drink Selection
Criteria: A venue stocking an outstanding range of spirits and liqueurs. The judges will favor discernment as well as sheer numbers of bottles stocked.

Cantina - San Francisco, USA
Death & Company - New York City, USA
Der Raum - Melbourne, Australia
Doheney - Downtown Los Angeles, USA
The Merchant Hotel - Belfast, Northern Ireland
Salvatore's Bar at Fifty - London, England
Trio Bar - Berlin, Germany
Matterhorn - Wellington, New Zealand

Best Classic Cocktail Bar
Criteria: Classic bars continue to uphold best bartending practices and serve drinks in relaxed lounge-like environments. The judges are looking for bars, which uphold this tradition (but are not necessarily old) and offer superb service and consistently well-made drinks. (Hotel bars are eligible).

American Bar - Connaught Hotel, London, England
Bramble - Edinburgh, Scotland
Death & Co. - New York City, USA
Dukes Bar - Dukes Hotel, London, England
Experimental Cocktail Club - Paris, France
Flatiron Lounge - New York City, USA
Milk and Honey- New York City, USA
Bar Le Forum - Paris, France
The Merchant Hotel - Belfast, Northern Ireland
Montgomery Place - London, England
Widder Bar - Zurich, Switzerland

World's Best Cocktail Bar
Criteria: This award recognizes the international influence on cocktail trends and seeks to award the world's best cocktail bar. (US bars are not excluded.)

The Flat Iron Lounge - New York City, USA
Le Lion - Hamburg, Germany
The Lonsdale - London, England
The Merchant Hotel - Belfast, Northern Ireland
Milk & Honey - New York, USA
Milk & Honey - London, England
Paparazzi - Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Salvatore at Fifty - London, England
Star Bar - Ginza, Tokyo, Japan

Best New Cocktail Bar
Criteria: Only bars which have opened in the 18 months preceding the awards may be nominated. This award aims to reward new creativity and ideas as well as well executed drinks.

Bar Milano, New York City, USA
Beretta, San Francisco, USA
Death & Company, New York City, USA
Le Lion de Paris, Hamburg, Germany
02 Lounge, Ritz Carlton, Moscow
PDT (Please Don't Tell), New York City, USA
Ruby, Copenhagen, Denmark

Mixologist/Bartender of the Year
Criteria: The absolute best drinks mixer. The winner should be proficient at making all recognized classic drinks and also have created contemporary cocktails, which have been copied by his/her peers.

John Gerstern - No.9 Park, Boston, USA
Kenta Goto of Pegu Club - New York City, USA
Charles Joly - The Drawing Room, Chicago, USA
Duggan McDonnell - Cantina, San Francisco, USA
Erik Lorincz - Purple Bar, London, England
Jim Meehan - PDT, New York City, USA
Ago Perrone - Montgomery Place, London, England
Sam Ross - Milk & Honey New York City, USA
Nick Strangeway - Hawksmoor, London, England
Charles Vexenat - The Lonsdale, London, England
Philip Ward - Death & Company, New York City, USA

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book
Criteria: The best book published in 2007 regarding cocktails, liquor, bars, bar design or bartending in general. New editions of existing works published in 2007 may also be nominated.

Imbibe by David Wondrich
Mixing New Orleans, Cocktails & Legends by Jennifer Adams In The Land of Cocktails by Ti Adelaide Martin & Lally Brennan And a Bottle of Rum - A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis.

Best Cocktail Writing
Criteria: Great journalism is one of the best ways to communicate to the general public the value and significance of great cocktails and related products. This award is for any non-book journalism (Magazine, Newspaper, Website, etc) which promotes bars, bartender, or cocktails in general. Debra C. Argen & Edward F. Nesta (Luxury Experience Magazine, USA)
Jeff Berry (Tiki God)
Paul Clarke (Imbibe Magazine & San Francisco Chronicle)
Ted Haigh (Imbibe Magazine)
Gary Regan (San Francisco Chronicle)
David Wondrich (Imbibe! From Absinthe Cocktail to Whisky Smash)

Best New Product
Criteria: This is awarded to what the judges consider to be the best new cocktail ingredient (spirit, liqueur, syrup or juice) or piece of cocktail equipment (muddler, shaker etc.). To qualify products must be on general retail sale in at least three US states.

Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
Fever Tree Mixers
Lucid Absinthe
Domaine de Canton
Plymouth Sloe Gin
Q Tonic
Qi White Tea Liqueur
Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
Sagatiba Pura

Best Cocktail Menu
Criteria: The judges seek to reward innovative and thirst inducing cocktail menus. Both the design and content will be considered. 1806 Bar - Melbourne, Australia
Bayswater Brasserie - Sydney, Australia
Death & Company - New York City, USA
Doheney - Downtown, Los Angeles, USA
The Drawing Room, Chicago, USA
Bar Italia - Vienna, Austria
Pegu Club - New York City, USA
Ruby - Copenhagen, Denmark
Tailor Restaurant - New York City, USA

Best Drinks Brand Representative/Brand Ambassador
Criteria: An award which recognizes the importance of personality in the promotion of drinks brands. Jacques Bezendenhout - Partida Tequila, USA
Julio Bermejo - Tequila, USA
Jason Crawley - Maxiuum, Australia.
Phil Duff - Bols, Global
John Gakuru - Sagatiba, Global
H. Joseph Ehrmann - Square One Organic Vodka, USA
Diego Loret de Mola - Pisco Bar Sol, USA
Stuart McCluskey - Miller's Gin, UK
Xavier Padovani - Hendricks, Global
Charlotte Voisey - William Grant, USA

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award
Criteria: The impact that some people have on the general cocktail community can span over the course of many years. There are individuals who have worked long and hard to change the industry and educate the public. This award is to provide special recognition to these individuals and the wonderful efforts they have undertaken.

Salvatore Calabrese - Mixologist, writer & bar owner
Dale DeGroff - Mixologist & writer
Peter Dorelli - Formerly of the Savoy, London
Phillip Hills - Founder of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Desmond Payne - Master Distiller Beefeater Gin
Brian Rea - bararchives.com, former 21 Club bartender, etc. etc
Gary Regan - Mixologist & writer


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