Tales Of The Cocktail announces 2021 Spirited Awards winners
TThe past eighteen months have been merciless for the hospitality industry – especially in the early months of the pandemic when lockdowns forced bars and other “non-essential businesses” to close. Latch not absolutely necessary? Tell that to the countless workers whose pubs have not been open for months – if at all – or the millions of diners who needed a drink more than ever last year.
But for Cocktail stories, the 19-year-old New Orleans-based foundation dedicated to celebrating and supporting the industry, 202o was a year of inspiring stories of perseverance and entrepreneurial creativity.
When it came time to host the annual event Spirited awards– Founded in 2007 to honor the world’s best bars, bartenders, brands and liquor-focused journalism – The Tales wondered who and what exactly to celebrate last year. (Full disclosure: Forbes is the official media partner of the Spirited Awards.)
“As we looked back on 2020, we realized that there really is no way to honor bars or bartenders on equal terms,” said Eileen Wayner, the newly appointed CEO of the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. “Bars were closed – and many bartenders and staff were unemployed for long periods of time. And the restrictions on bars varied drastically around the world. “
Plus: Tales of the Cocktail publishes an interactive map of the world’s best bars
That summer, the foundation created an interactive map of the world’s best bars to celebrate the hundreds of previous winners and nominees, but no best bar has been named for 2021. “Instead, the Tales leadership decided it would be much more appropriate for the industry to reflect on the past year, focus on the rebound, and find a way forward,” says Wayner. “We take our hats off for the bars that could stay open and deal with closings and capacity restrictions, mask and vaccination requirements. And we raise our glasses to the employees who work tirelessly to offer hospitality even under the most difficult of circumstances. “
As Charlotte Voisey, Chair of the 2021 Spirited Awards, stated during today’s ceremony from New Orleans, “The committee reached consensus on the right way to celebrate the past year. We introduced five themes: community, digital experience, beverage culture, industry advocacy, and innovative pivots. We believe these things represent the resilience of our community around the world and we hope these examples can provide guidance to bars and bartenders who are still facing challenges. “
In addition to the author and media awards, the committee awarded several special honors, including the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award (to the founders of Mixellany Limited, Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown), the Timeless US and International Awards for Classic Bars (Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco and Dukes Bar in London) and the Pioneer Award (to Bacardi’s LGBTQ + ambassador Chris Cabrera). Also, two new members have been inducted into the Dame Hall of Fame – Lauren Paylor, R&D production director at Silver Lyan, and Sandrae Lawrence, founder and editor of the Cocktail lover Magazine.
While the Spirited Awards have always recognized outstanding media coverage of the hospitality industry, the focus this year was different. Aside from the usual mix of reviews and bartending profiles, much of the coverage in 2020 focused on tough issues the foundation has tried to shed light on, including racial relations in the hospitality industry, the lack of representation of women and LGBTQ + people, and below par compensation or unsustainable workplace conditions.
For example, Wayne Curtis, Recipient of this year’s award for best cocktail and spirits writing, wrote:The myth of the peaceful plantation”For the Daily Beast’s Half Full, a chronicle of whitewashing the word Plantation despite its obvious links to slavery. Curtis argues that this insensitive word should be banned from the hospitality industry, even if it means Plantation Rum will have to rename itself.
And Plantation got the message: “Developing our name is our top priority and was probably the most difficult task we have ever faced. We are a relatively small family business with no trademark or legal department and we do our best to work around the clock as there are tons of complex legal and manufacturing details to learn about, ”says Alexandre Gabriel, Founder and Master Blender of Plantation . “We are determined to do the right thing, and we want to do it well once and for all in the decades to come. We ask our supporters and friends to be patient while we take this significant step. “
In the meantime, The Daily Beast’s Half Full Editor Noah Rothbaum and the author and cocktail historian David Wondrich produced a number of provocative episodes in their podcast, Life behind bars including a special miniseries titled “What I’ve Learned” that explores the many pandemic-related problems the hospitality industry has faced over the past year.
Rothbaum and Wondrich spoke to industry veterans like Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery, Masa Urushido of Katana Kitten, and Ryan Fitzgerald of ABV about solutions to some of the existential crises their companies faced in 2020. Their conversations dealt with a variety of relevant, albeit uncomfortable, realities: “Promotion of diversity in the beer and spirits world“,”The battle over wearing face masks in bars” and “Workforce growth during a pandemic. “
In the Books category, Ivy Mix, founder of the Spirited Award-winning Brooklyn Bar Leyenda, and co-author James Carpenter accepted the award for best new book on beverage culture, history, or spirits for. home with me Spirits of Latin America: A Festival of Culture and Cocktails. The beautifully illustrated tome provides important historical information about the many spirits in this part of the world and also trains readers in their use in cocktails.
In the special prices category Dukes Bar in London (led by the acclaimed Alessandro Palazzi) won the coveted Timeless International Award. Long a Temple of Martini – James Bond writer Ian Fleming was a regular – St. James’ Bar has offered exceptional hospitality for more than a century.
“Whenever you come to London, you have to go to Dukes,” said Agostino Perrone, master mixologist at the Spirited Award-winning Connaught Bar in London, praising the competition. “In front of you is the bartender with the white jacket, the smart personality. They make your day the most beautiful day of your life. ”
Check out the full list of winners from the 15th Annual Sprited Awards below.
TALES OF THE COCKTAIL SPIRITED AWARDS 2021
LETTER AND MEDIA WINNERS
Best cocktail and spirits publication: Imbibe magazine
Best broadcast, podcast, or online video series: Life behind bars with Noah Rothbaum & David Wondrich
Best cocktail and spirits writing: “The Myth of the Peaceful Plantation” by Wayne Curtis, Half Full (The Daily Beast)
Best new cocktail or bartender book: Drink French: The iconic cocktails, aperitifs and café traditions of France with 160 recipes by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press)
Best new book on beverage culture, history, or spirits: Spirits of Latin America by Ivy Mix with James Carpenter (Ten Speed Press)
Timeless US award: Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, San Francisco
Timeless international award: Dukes Bar in the Dukes Hotel, London
Pioneer award: Chris Cabrera
LADY HALL OF FAME INDUCED
Dame Hall of Fame (United States): Lauren Paylor
Dame Hall of Fame (International): Sandrae Lawrence