The Varnish cash register

The Varnish rings up another Spirited Award nomination. | Photo: 213 Nightlife

The nominees for the 2011 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards have been announced, and once again the Los Angeles cocktail banner is being carried by The Varnish (nominated for Best American Cocktail Bar) and its co-owner, Eric Alperin (an American Bartender of the Year nominee). Now in its ninth year, Tales of the Cocktail is an internationally acclaimed festival of cocktails, cuisine and culture taking place in New Orleans July 20-24.

From the Tales of the Cocktail press release:

Through its annual Spirited Awards, Tales of the Cocktail provides recognition to those individuals and establishments that have shown an outstanding talent for advancing the craft of the cocktail. To embody the ideals with which Tales of the Cocktail was originally founded, these awards will recognize both national and international honorees who will receive exclusive Riedel Crystal awards.

Employees Only bar

Employees Only is nominated for Best American Cocktail Bar, World’s Best Drink Selection and World’s Best Cocktail Bar. | Photo: Employees Only

New York’s Employees Only leads the field this year with nominations for Best American Cocktail Bar, World’s Best Drink Selection and World’s Best Cocktail Bar. Employees Only owners Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric are nominated in the Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book category for Speakeasy: The Employees Only Guide to Classic Cocktails Reimagined. Zaric is also nominated for Best Bar Mentor and International Bartender of the Year.

Two new categories have been added his year, while a third one has been split into two subcategories. The Best High Volume Cocktail Bar award celebrates bars that efficiently deliver cocktail culture to the masses. Nominees have at least 100 seats, with cocktails, lists, bartending, and service all taken into consideration. The Best Restaurant Bar nominees are dedicated to creating a great cocktail experience for their dining guests. Factored into the nomination are the bar’s approach to aperitifs and digestifs, how well it works with the kitchen to pair cocktails with food, as well as general bartending and mixing excellence. The award for Best Cocktail Writing has been divided into two subcategories: Non-Book Publication and Author. The Non-Book category honors publications as a whole for excellence in overall writing. The Author category recognizes individual writers for contributions to furthering information, knowledge and interest in cocktail culture.

The winners will be announced at the Fifth Annual Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, taking place in New Orleans at the Mahalia Jackson Theater on Saturday, July 23rd.

For information and tickets, visit www.talesofthecocktail.com.

The Drawing Room bar

The Drawing Room is nominated for Best Restaurant Bar. | Photo: The Drawing Room

Following is the complete list of the 2011 Spirited Awards nominees.

American Bartender of the Year

  • Eric Alperin, Los Angeles, California
  • Kenta Goto, New York City, New York
  • Misty Kalkofen, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Sam Ross, New York City, New York
  • Joaquin Simo, New York City, New York

Best American Brand Ambassador

Best American Cocktail Bar

Best Bar Mentor

  • Wayne Collins, London, England
  • Steve Olson, New York City, New York
  • Audrey Saunders, New York City, New York
  • Dushan Zaric, New York City, New York

Best High Volume Cocktail Bar

Best Cocktail Writing – Non Book

Best Cocktail Writing – Author

  • Toby Cecchini, New York City, New York
  • Camper English, San Francisco, Francisco
  • Darcy O’Neil, London, Ontario
  • Naren Young, New York City, New York

Best International Brand Ambassador

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book

  • Fix the Pumps by Darcy O’Neill
  • Left Coast Libations by Ted Munat & Michael Lazar*
  • Punch by David Wondrich
  • Speakeasy by Dushan Zaric and Jay Kosmas

Best New Product

Best Restaurant Bar

International Bartender of the Year

  • Erik Lorincz, London, England
  • Dre Masso, London, England
  • Sam Ross, New York City, New York
  • Dushan Zaric, New York City, New York

World’s Best Cocktail Bar

World’s Best Cocktail Menu

World’s Best Drinks Selection

World’s Best Hotel Bar

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar

*Left Coast Libations is the hard back version.
**Cocchi Americano is new to the US Market.

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