Tales Of The Cocktail Spirited Awards Push Forward, 2020 Finalists Announced

By Neat Pour Staff |

After much discussion and several months of COVID caused delay, Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards announced that they will, indeed, present plates to their 2020 winners. On Monday (8.24), the Spirited Awards dropped their shortlist of finalists along with some notes on a virtual ceremony and rules changes.

“For many months now, we debated whether an awards ceremony is what the world needs right now,” TOTC President Caroline Rosen stated via press release. “Ultimately, we decided yes, we do need to continue to celebrate the resilience of our peers. Doubling down on philanthropic recognition and introducing categories that more accurately depict the range of voices contributing to the progress of our industry in meaningful ways — these are just a few of many steps forward we’re looking to make as an organization.”

For obvious reasons, the winners will be revealed virtually. The bulk of the plate worthy will be announced on September 21 via social media. A pre-recorded Spirited ‘show’ will follow on September 24. During that event, the committee will present the remaining plates: the Helen David Lifetime Achievement, Philanthropy, World’s Best Bar and the Pioneer Award.

The group also announced some changes to the protocols. The Pioneer Award was shifted from the umbrella of the Dame Hall of Fame to the Spirited Awards proper. In addition, a new rule was instituted, repeat winners in the same (or overlapping) categories are now forbidden. The shift in eligibility required some votes to be recast after the long list of top 10 nominees was announced.

“Changing policies mid-awards cycle and recasting votes was a very difficult decision that we do not take lightly, but our hope is that it will create a more equitable and fair structure for all nominees,” explained Rosen.

The list of finalists follows. For a deep look, you can also check out the ‘visual playbill’ here.

Editor’s Note: TOTC chose to employ the term ‘American’ to describe nominees located in the United States. As the list is quoted, Neat Pour published using TOTC’s phrasing; however, given that dozens of nations comprise the Americas, the current policy of Neat Pour is to avoid this phrasing as a descriptor for U.S. based.


Best American Bar Team

  • Café La Trova — Miami, FL
  • Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA
  • Nickel City — Austin, TX
  • Pacific Cocktail Haven — San Francisco, CA

Best American Bar Mentor

  • Bridget Albert 
  • Alex Day 
  • Lynn House 
  • Don Lee 

American Bartender of the Year

  • Kevin Diedrich — Pacific Cocktail Haven, San Francisco, CA
  • Mary Palac — Paper Plane, San Jose, CA
  • Masahiro Urushido — Katana Kitten, New York, NY
  • Christine Wiseman — Broken Shaker, Los Angeles, CA

Best American Brand Ambassador

  • Tad Carducci — Amaro Montenegro 
  • Vance Henderson — Hendrick’s Gin
  • Robin Nance — Beam Suntory 
  • Dominic Venegas — Pernod Ricard USA

Best American Cocktail Bar

  • Best Intentions — Chicago, IL
  • Katana Kitten — New York, NY
  • Pacific Cocktail Haven — San Francisco, CA
  • Raised by Wolves — San Diego, CA

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar

  • ABV — San Francisco, CA
  • Anvil Bar & Refuge — Houston, TX
  • Café La Trova — Miami, FL
  • Nickel City — Austin, TX

Best American Hotel Bar

  • Death & Co at the Ramble Hotel — Denver, CO
  • Libertine Social at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino — Las Vegas, NV
  • Mr. COCO at the Palms Casino Resort — Las Vegas, NV
  • The Spare Room at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel — Los Angeles, CA

Best American Restaurant Bar

  • Cleaver — Las Vegas, NV
  • Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA
  • Jimmy’s — Aspen, CO
  • The Silver Dollar — Louisville, KY

Best New American Cocktail Bar

  • Bar Goto Niban — Brooklyn, NY
  • Century Grand — Phoenix, AZ
  • Silver Lyan — Washington, D.C.
  • Thunderbolt — Los Angeles, CA


Best International Bar Team

  • La Factoría — San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • MAYBE SAMMY — Sydney, Australia
  • The Clumsies — Athens, Greece
  • The Connaught Bar — London, UK

Best International Bar Mentor

  • Simone Caporale 
  • Alex Kratena 
  • Lauren Mote 
  • Agostino Perrone

International Bartender of the Year

  • Bannie Kang — MU, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Kelsey Ramage —  Supernova Ballroom, Toronto, Canada
  • Rémy Savage — Le Syndicat, Paris, France
  • Kaitlyn Stewart — Royal Dinette, Vancouver, Canada

Best International Brand Ambassador

  • Camille Austin — Casa Lumbre Spirits
  • Martin Hudák — Mr Black Spirits
  • Daniyel Jones — The House of Angostura
  • Dave Mitton — Lot No. 40 & J.P. Wiser’s Canadian Whisky

Best International Cocktail Bar

  • Floreria Atlántico — Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • MAYBE SAMMY — Sydney, Australia
  • Native — Singapore
  • Swift — London, UK

Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar

  • La Factoría — San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Licorería Limantour — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Panda & Sons — Edinburgh, Scotland
  • The Baxter Inn — Sydney, Australia

Best International Hotel Bar

  • Fifty Mils at the Four Seasons Hotel — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Punch Room at The London EDITION — London, UK
  • Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood Hotel — London, UK
  • The Bamboo Bar at the Mandarin Oriental — Bangkok, Thailand

Best International Restaurant Bar

  • ámaZ — Lima, Peru
  • Le Mary Celeste — Paris, France
  • Sexy Fish — London, UK
  • Sober Company — Shanghai, China

Best New International Cocktail Bar

  • BYRDI — Melbourne, Australia
  • Kwānt — London, UK
  • Tayēr + Elementary — London, UK
  • Tres Monos — Buenos Aires, Argentina


Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication

  • DRiNK Magazine Asia
  • Half Full
  • The Spirits Business
  • VinePair

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing

  • “Mixopedia: Under Foot” by Wayne Curtis for Imbibe
  • “JaNee: Where is She Now” by Aaron Goldfarb for PUNCH
  • “Can There Be Terroir in Spirits?” by Kara Newman for Wine Enthusiast
  • “The Case for Drinking Scotch in Tiki Cocktails” by Becky Paskin for The Daily Beast 

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book

  • Cocktails with a Twist by Kara Newman
  • The NoMad Cocktail Book by Leo Robitschek
  • The Martini Cocktail: A Meditation on the World’s Greatest Drink, with Recipes by Robert Simonson
  • Minimalist Tiki: A Cocktail Wonk Look at Classic Libations and the Modern Tiki Vanguard by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History or Spirits

  • Drunk in China: Baijiu and the World’s Oldest Drinking Culture by Derek Sandhaus
  • Last Call: Bartenders on Their Final Drink and the Wisdom and Rituals of Closing Time by Brad Thomas Parsons
  • Understanding Spirits: Explaining Style and Quality by Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)
  • Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World by Derek Brown and Robert Yule

Best Broadcast, Podcast or Online Video Series

  • Difford’s Guide
  • Happy Hour History
  • The Speakeasy
  • WhiskyCast


Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient

  • Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Las Milpas
  • Heaven Hill 7 Year Bottled-in-Bond
  • Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice
  • Tequila Fortaleza Winter Blend 2019

World’s Best Cocktail Menu

  • ATLAS Bar — Singapore
  • Little Red Door — Paris, France
  • Raised by Wolves — San Diego, CA
  • Tayēr + Elementary — London, UK

World’s Best Spirits Selection

  • Amor y Amargo – New York, NY
  • Raised by Wolves — San Diego, CA
  • Sexy Fish — London, UK
  • The Office — Chicago, IL

Timeless American Award

  • Angel’s Share — New York, NY

Timeless International Award

  • Boadas Cocktails — Barcelona, Spain
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