Tales Of The Cocktail announces nominees for the 15th annual Spirited Awards

Posted on

After a devastating year for the hospitality industry, it may not seem like there is much to celebrate. But that doesn’t stop Tales of the Cocktail, the 19-year-old New Orleans festival, from holding its annual Spirited Awards this fall. Winning a Spirited Award has changed the fate of hundreds of bars around the world. “It was humiliating to receive such recognition from our peers,” said Linden Pride, owner of Dante in New York, the Negroni paradise that was named the world’s best bar in 2019. “It certainly helped open doors to new business opportunities. and partnerships in industry. “

For the Spirited Awards 2021, which takes place on September 23, the foundation has shaken its format to reflect the toll the pandemic has inflicted on the industry: Only written and media awards will be awarded this year. (Full release: Forbes is the official media partner for Tales of the Cocktail.)

“Looking back at 2020, we realized that there really was no way to assign bars or bartenders on an equal footing,” says Eileen Wayner, the newly appointed CEO of Tales of the Cocktail. “Bars were closed – some permanently – and many bartenders and staff were unemployed for extended periods. And globally, the restrictions on bars varied drastically. Instead, Tale’s leadership resolutely decided that what would be much more appropriate would be for the industry to reflect on the past year, focus on recovery, and find a way forward – in some cases day by day. ”

Of course, many water holes remained open during the pandemic, but it was not equal terms or economically feasible for most — given the already slim profit margins bars and restaurants faced in the pre-covid era. Throw away the great difficulties of the pandemic (lockdowns, the logistics behind keeping employees safe, supply chain problems, staffing issues, the exorbitant cost of commercial rent), and it became almost impossible for many hospitality-based businesses to survive. Even award-winning and highly acclaimed bars have closed for the past fifteen months — some temporarily, others for good.

“For those bars that could stay open and navigate in closures and capacity constraints, mask and vaccination mandates, we tilt our hats,” Wayner says. “And we raise the glass to the staff who work tirelessly to provide hospitality in the most difficult of circumstances.”

But after all, that doesn’t mean the Spirited Awards are completely out of the books this year. To celebrate the beverage industry’s remarkable resilience, the 2021 ceremony will still announce winners of the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award, Pioneer Award, Timeless US Award, Timeless International Award.

Plus: Tales of the Cocktail launches interactive maps of the world’s best bars

In addition, Tales of the Cocktail annually makes a difference in the categories of writing and media – and at least so much will push through in its entirety in September. It’s important to note that many of this year’s media graduates differ from previous years, as this year’s stories peel back the curtain to reveal some distasteful truths and injustices — both past and present, pandemic-related or not: There’s John DeBary, co-founder of Restaurant Workers ‘Community Foundation talking about how much money it actually takes to run a bar in “The True Cost of a Cocktail.” Author Gabrielle Nicole Pharms examines inclusion and representation (or lack thereof) in two nominated pieces for UPROXX: “A Black Bourbon Writer Reflects on Representation in the Whiskey Industry” and “Becky Paskin On Sexism in Spirits and the ‘Whiskey Bible’ Controversy. Meanwhile, award-winning barkeeper Alex Kratena, in an essay called “Fuck You, Pay Me,” explores all the ways in which liquor professionals are exploited for free work.

In the category of books, service-oriented tomes ruled at the top with e.g. Drinks French by David Lebovitz, Good drinks: Non-alcoholic recipes for when you do not drink for whatever reason by Julia Bainbridge and more.

“A great candidate has a clear voice and perspective, and their excitement and passion for their work is palpable. And while the Writing and Media Committee made the decisions for the nominees and finalists, I think it would be impossible not to acknowledge the enormous challenges this industry faces and the works that were submitted explore some of these issues. ” says Wayner about this year’s nominees. “I also think it was important to include these categories in the awards this year, as journalists and writers were so active – and even more so in the digital space.”

See the full list of this year’s Sprited Awards nominees for writing and media below.

2021 Spirited Awards Top 10 writing and media nominees (listed in alphabetical order)

Best publication on cocktails and spirits



Diffords guide

Cashier Zine

DRINK Magazine




The liquor store


Best broadcast, podcast or online video series

Agave Road Trip, Heritage Radio Network

Back Bar, Heritage Radio Network

Brown and balanced

Life behind bars with Noah Rothbaum and David Wondrich

Radio Imbibe

Shōshin Art Club

The liquid antiquarian

The Modern Bar Cart Podcast

The right to drink

The Speakeasy, Heritage Radio Network

Best cocktail and spirits to write

“A Black Bourbon Writer Reflects on Representation in the Whiskey Industry” by Gabrielle Nicole Pharms, UPROXX

“A (Non-) History of Jamaica in British Navy Rum” by Matt Pietrek, Cocktail Wonk

“Becky Paskin on Sexism in Liquor and the ‘Whiskey Bible’ Controversy” by Gabrielle Nicole Pharms, UPROXX

“El Futuro” by François Monti, JAIBOL

“Fuck you, Pay Me” by Alex Kratena, Discard Zinen

“Montana’s Great Lost Barman” by Robert Simonson, PUNCH

“The Anti-Semites Who Pressed Prohibition of America” ​​by Brad Japhe, Half Full, The Daily Beast

“The Myth of the Peaceful Plantation” by Wayne Curtis, Half Full, The Daily Beast

“The Night the Neon Went Dark” by Brad Thomas Parsons, PUNCH

“The True Cost of a Cocktail” by John deBary, PUNCH

Best new cocktail or bartender book

Difford’s Guide to Cocktails Fifteenth Edition by Simon Difford

Drink whatever you want: The subjective guide to making objectively delicious cocktails by John deBary

Drinking French: The Iconic Cocktails, Apéritifs and Café Traditions of France, with 160 recipes by David Lebovitz

Easy Tiki: A Modern Revival with 60 Recipes by Chloe Frechette

Good drinks: Non-alcoholic recipes for when you do not drink for any reason by Julia Bainbridge

Happy Hour Handbook by Fiona Arnold and Jeffrey Knott

Home Bar Basics (and Not-So-Basics) 3rd Edition by Dave Stolte and Jason Schiffer

Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World by Adrienne Stillman Krausz

The cocktail’s new craft by Dale DeGroff

The United States of Cocktails: Recipes, Tales and Traditions from All 50 States (and the District of Columbia) by Brian Bartels

Best new book on beverages Culture, history or spirits

A Long Step: The Story of the World’s No. 1 Scotch Whiskey by Nicholas Morgan

Behind the bar: 50 cocktail recipes from the world’s most iconic hotels by Alia Akkam

Gin: How to Drink It: 125 Gins, 4 Ways by Dave Broom

Give me freedom and give me a drink! by C. Jarrett Dieterle

Soju: A Global History of Hyunhee Park

Spirits of Latin America by Ivy Mix with James Carpenter

The Definitive Guide to Canadian Distilleries by Davin de Kergommeaux and Blair Phillips

The Distiller of London, edited by Anistatia R. Miller and Jared M. Brown

Unnavished: A Gimlet-Eyed Look on Life Behind the Bar by Eric Alperin and Deborah Stoll

Whiskey: It’s Not Rocket Science by Mickaël Guidot

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Similar Posts