Winners of the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards Announced

Death & Co. wins Spirited Awards for World’s Best Cocktail Menu and Best American Cocktail Bar. | Photo: Grub Street

The winners for the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards have been announced, with The Bar at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast named the World’s Best Cocktail Bar. New York’s Death and Company garnered awards for World’s Best Cocktail Menu and Best American Cocktail Bar. Seattle’s beloved Murray Stenson (Zig Zag Café) was named American Bartender of the Year, while International Bartender of the Year went to Agostino Perrone of London’s Connaught Hotel (Hotel Bar of the Year). The full list of winners and nominees is below.

The winners were announced at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award Ceremony and Dinner last Saturday, July 24. Now in its eighth year, Tales of the Cocktail is an internationally acclaimed festival of cocktails, cuisine and culture that took place in New Orleans from July 21-25. From the Tales of the Cocktail website:

Through its annual Spirited Award Ceremony, 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.

Congrats to the winners and cheers to all the nominees!

For more information, visit

Spirited Award Categories with Winners in Bold Italics

Best American Cocktail Bar
Criteria: This award recognizes the influence on cocktail trends within the United States and seeks to award the country’s best cocktail bar.

World’s Best Hotel Bar
Criteria: The classic ‘American Bar’ played an important role in the history and development of cocktail culture. The judges are looking for hotel bars, which uphold this tradition (but are not necessarily old) and offer five-star service and consistently well made drinks.

Best Cocktail Writing
Criteria: Great journalism is one of the best ways to communicate to the general public the value and significance of great cocktails and related products. This award is for any non-book journalism (Magazine, Newspaper, Website, etc) which promotes bars, bartender, or cocktails in general.

  • CLASS magazine
  • Gary Regan
  • Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller
  • Naren Young

Best New Product
Criteria: This is awarded to what the judges consider to be the best new cocktail ingredient (spirit, liqueur, syrup or juice) or piece of cocktail equipment (muddler, shaker etc.). To qualify products must be on general retail sale in at least three US states.

Best American Brand Ambassador
Criteria: An award that recognizes the importance of personality in the promotion of drinks brands across America.

World’s Best Drinks Selection
Criteria: A venue stocking an outstanding range of spirits and liqueurs. The judges will favor discernment as well as sheer numbers of bottles stocked.

American Bartender of the Year
Criteria: From Jerry Thomas onwards, American bartenders have been amongst the most influential on drinks styles and cocktail culture in general. This award seeks to recognize the most influential American bartender today. The winner should be proficient at making all recognized classic drinks and also have created contemporary cocktails, which have been copied by his/her peers.

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book
Criteria: The best book published in 2008 regarding cocktails, liquor, bars, bar design or bartending in general. New editions of existing works may also be nominated.

  • Beachbum Berry Remixed
  • Gin Compendium by Gaz Regan
  • MudPuddle Books by Greg Boehm
  • Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh

World’s Best Cocktail Menu
Criteria: The judges seek to reward innovative and thirst inducing cocktail menus. Both the design and content will be considered.

International Bartender of the Year
Criteria: The absolute best drinks mixer in the world. The winner must have received international recognition of their work with their own recipes crossing borders to appear on cocktail menus in numerous countries. (US citizens are not excluded.)

  • Agostino Perrone, The Connaught Hotel, London
  • Brian Miller, Death & Co, NYC
  • Salvatore Calabrese, London
  • Sam Ross, Milk & Honey, NYC

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar
Criteria: Only bars, which opened after 1st March 2009 may be nominated. This award aims to reward new creativity and ideas as well as well executed drinks.

  • Cure, New Orleans
  • Dutch Kills, Queens
  • Mayahuel, NYC
  • Rickhouse, San Francisco

World’s Best Cocktail Bar
Criteria: Only truly world-class bars will be considered for this illustrious title. Some bars attain worldwide recognition and this award recognizes the very best of the best.

Best International Brand Ambassador
Criteria: An award which recognizes the importance of personality in the promotion of drinks brands and their creative use of brand communication to engage the trade and their ability to execute compelling education and seminars. This person will work in an International capacity or in a Country other than the USA.

Best Bar Mentor
Criteria: Not everybody who is having an impact on the quality of the cocktails we drink are working behind the bar as bartenders. There are many people who are creating fine bar programs, training the next generation of great bartenders, and playing an active role in designing the bars we all love to drink in. This award is to recognize those individuals who, in their professional life, play a crucial role in raising the quality of bars, bartenders, and cocktails without currently working as a bartender.

  • Dale DeGroff
  • Robert Hess
  • Sasha Petraske
  • Tony Abou-Ganim

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award
Criteria: The impact that some people have on the general cocktail community can span over the course of many years. There are individuals who have worked long and hard to change the industry and educate the public. This award is to provide special recognition to these individuals and the wonderful efforts they have undertaken.

  • Brian Rea
  • Gary Regan
  • Murray Stenson
  • Tony Abou-Ganim
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