Tales of the Cocktail Announces Spirited Awards Winners

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Saturday night, the year’s best bars, bartenders, writers and cocktail experts from around the world were recognized at the 9th Annual Spirited Awards® as part of Tales of the Cocktail® 2015.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – July 19, 2015 – Following the largest nomination pool in the history of the show and a rigorous judging process by some of the most respected members of the cocktail industry, Tales of the Cocktail® is proud to announce the winners for each category of the 9th Annual Spirited Awards®. All winners were announced live last evening at the Sheraton Hotel New Orleans.  In addition to this year’s judged award winners, Jonathan Downey and Steve Mannan were also honored for their professional achievements.

“2014 was an exceptionally fertile year for drink books and drink writing in general, with extremely difficult choices to make in each of the four writing categories,” said David Wondrich Writing Committee Chairman. “As far as the judges are concerned, each of the finalists is a true winner and would have dominated the field in an average year. It was humbling to have to choose among them.”

For the past nine years, the Spirited Awards® have recognized the year’s best bars, bartenders, writers and experts, becoming the cocktail industry’s most prestigious and coveted award program. Winners were voted on by a panel of more than 100 industry experts, led by Simon Ford (Chairman), Jackson Cannon (U.S. Judging Committee Chairman), Jacob Briars (International Judging Committee Chairman), and David Wondrich (Writing Committee Chairman). Voting was a weeklong process that required extensive knowledge in each category. The votes were verified by the Super Committee and tallied to determine the Top 10, Top Four and ultimately this year’s winners.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the effort of the American judges of this years Spirited Awards,” said Jackson Cannon, American Judging Committee Chairman. “Their thoughtful, determined approach has parsed the incredibly worthy field down to those most deserving of the highest honors this year. A toast to the winners, they truly are the best of the best!”

This year, the sponsoring partners of the 9th Annual Spirited Awards® were Bacardi USA, BarSmarts, Beefeater Gin, Bleu Dry Bar, Caña Brava, Chivas, Cognac Ferrand, Courvoisier, House of Angostura, Luxardo, Mountain Valley Spring Water, Nicolas Feuillatte, The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, Rums of Puerto Rico, Mezcal El Silencio and William Grant & Sons.

“The Second ‘Golden Age of the Cocktail’ continues to spread around the globe, as bartenders, bar owners and ambassadors continue to set ever higher standards internationally. It’s wonderful to see traditional strongholds like London and Melbourne sharing nominations with the resurgent bar scene in Paris, and to see the rise of great bars in places like Singapore and Dubai being recognized too,” said Jacob Briars, International Judging Committee Chairman.

“I’m grateful to our 50 International Committee judges for their hard work and dedication in distilling thousands of nominees down to our finalists and award winners, who represent the very best in the global industry. There has never been a better time to be a cocktail lover around the globe.”

2015 Spirited Awards® Winners

 

American Categories

 

Best American Bar Team
Employees Only (New York)

 

American Bartender of the Year
Ivy Mix (New York)

 

Best American Brand Ambassador
Brooke Arthur (House Spirits)

 

Best American Cocktail Bar
Williams & Graham (Denver)

 

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar
Employees Only (New York)

 

Best American Hotel Bar
The Broken Shaker (Miami Beach)

 

Best American Restaurant Bar
Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks (Boston)

 

Best New American Cocktail Bar
ABV (San Francisco)

 

International Categories

 

Best International Bar Team
28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)

 

International Bartender of the Year
Ryan Chetiyawardana (London)

 

Best International Brand Ambassador
Claire Smith-Warner (Belvedere Vodka)

 

Best International Cocktail Bar
Artesian (London)

 

Best International High Volume CocktailBar
The Black Pearl & The Attic (Melbourne)

 

Best International Hotel Bar
Beaufort Bar, The Savoy (London)

 

Best International Restaurant Bar
Blind Pig at Social Eating House (London)

 

Best New International Cocktail Bar
Dandelyan (London)

 

Writing Categories

 

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication
PUNCH

 

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer
Dave Broom

 

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book
Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold

 

Best New Spirits Book
Whisky: The Manual by Dave Broom

 

Overall Categories

 

Best Bar Mentor
Jim Meehan (Portland)

 

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient
Amaro di Angostura

 

World’s Best Cocktail Menu
Dead Rabbit (New York)

 

World’s Best Spirits Selection
Canon (Seattle)

 

World’s Best Bar
Dead Rabbit (New York)

 

Special Recognitions

 

Lifetime Achievement Award
Jonathan Downey

 

Sam Guarino Citation
Steve Mannan

Congrats to all the winners!

Aloha Strawberry!

Aloha Strawberry

I saw a very tasty looking strawberry drink the other day and decided to make one similar and sort of “Tikify” the style of it and also swap the ginger beer for the hotter Pimento drink…

The original recipe (adapted from voyagevixens.com) was fresh strawberry puree, Angostura rum, ginger beer and a couple dashes Angostura bitters, simple and tasty.

Pimento is a ginger beer type of drink (it´s not an actual ginger beer) but with added chili pepper, it´s made with ginger, tonic and hot pepper natural flavors and it is fizzy and strong!! it`s like a ginger beer with a chili bite……

I like it a lot! I also like Angostura rums and bitters and of course, lime and strawberries!

Aloha Strawberry

¼ cup Strawberry purée

4 oz Angostura Single Barrel Rum (1919 works good too)

A small squeeze of fresh lime juice

Splash of Pimento

A few dashes of Angostura aromatic Bitters

Fill a Hurricane glass with ice, strawberry purée and a small squeeze of fresh vibrant lime juice, pour in rum, then top with Pimento and bitters. Stir and serve. Garnish with a fat juicy strawberry, red Hibiscus and Bouganvillea flowers, fresh mint, add a long and thick colorful straw….

Pimento can be found in various countries, you may check out their website and I know that in Sweden it`s available through Renbjer & Magnusson.

Bring on more heat and sun!

Now this blog takes a little break until it´s time to report what`s going on this year at the Tales of the Cocktail!

Aloha!

Aloha Strawberry 2

St Aubin Melon Liqueur – Bring on the Summer!

St Aubin liqueur melon

I`ve been waiting for the warmer temps to arrive for my review of St Aubin melon liqueur which I think is just perfect for those fruity refreshing and a bit lighter summer drinks. Melon is to me – summer…..it´s such a refreshing fruit to eat in the heat.

St Aubin plantation located on southern Mauritius has been cultivating sugarcane since 1890 and takes it´s name from one of it`s first owner Pierre de St Aubin. On the estate there`s both artisanal and a traditional rums made but they make more than rums….

They also have a tea plantation, Bois Chéri and a vanilla plantation and that`s the vanilla they use in their vanilla flavored rums. The water used in the rum making comes from their own spring water from Bois Chéri. It`s all local produce here which is something i like.

And now they also have a melon liqueur!

The liqueur smells like fresh cut up honeydew or cantaloupe melon…….and the taste is light and fruity and not too sweet, I like that! it can even be drunk neat and still be refreshing. In cocktails it shines and i`m sure it would go very well in all kinds and types of cocktails.

Before i made drinks I decided to follow the advice on the bottle – serve on the rocks, and with a litttle ice and melon garnish it`s the quintessential summer refreshener! and here are a couple of fresh and fruity summer cocktails, tropical style:

Mauritius Exotique

Mauritius Exotique

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

1.5 oz pineapple juice

0.5 oz vanilla syrup

0.5 oz St Aubin Liqueur Melon

2 oz St Aubin 50% White Rum

Dash Boy Drinks World passion fruit bitters

Shake with ice cubes and strain into a goblet with cracked ice and garnish with mint and tropical flower. Top off with a dust of grated nutmeg.

This drink turned out very fruity and refreshing, perfect for hot summer days!

Sundown

A cocktail for the setting of the sun…..

Sundown

1 oz grapefruit juice (yellow)

1 oz pineapple juice

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz St Aubin Liqueur Melon

2 oz St Aubin White Reserve Rum

0.5 oz grenadine, preferably hibiscus grenadine, home/house made or BG Reynold`s.

Float of JWray overproof (optional)

Muddle 2-3 lime wedges with grenadine and 8-10 mint leaves in a shaker. Add the muddle mix into a tall glass and add crushed ice almost to the top. Shake the rest of ingredients, strain and pour into the glass. Give it a little stir and add more crushed ice to fill.

Top with a little Club Soda, and if you wish, add a float of JWray on top.

Garnish with mint and orchid.

The melon is not obvious but it`s there and this drink is very refreshing.

Ti Melon

Ti Melon

This drink has a French name, “Ti Melon” means simply “little melon” (petit melon) and is a fresh green fruity take on the Ti Punch with added melon liqueur, ice and more lime than you usually find in a Ti Punch, and the drink turned out very tasty!

2 oz St Aubin 50% White Rum

0.5 oz St Aubin Liqueur Melon

0.25-0.5 oz sugarcane syrup depending on your taste

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

Stir with ice and garnish with a sugarcane stick and lime peel

Refreshing!