The kings and queens (and in-betweens) of the mixological arts were on hand at the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans on Saturday, July 21st for the 12th Annual Spirited Awards—the garnish that tops off the world’s premier drinks-fest, Tales of the Cocktail.
Billed as the Oscars of the booze biz, the Spirited Awards’ most coveted prize, World’s Best Bar, went to the American Bar at The Savoy in London, a development that might well have elicited a tweet or two from the current President were he not distracted by more pressing matters.
Fortunately for the Yanks, all was not lost, as a number of American bars that are actually located in America were honored as well: Chicago-based tiki tavern Lost Lake was voted Best American Cocktail Bar; Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co. in Miami nabbed Best Bar Team honors; and Seattle’s Navy Strength sailed home with the award for Best New Bar. Yael Vengroff of LA’s the Spare Room was crowned the finest drinks-slinger from sea to shining sea.
Repeat U.S.-based winners included perennial favorite the NoMad Bar in New York City (Best High Volume Cocktail Bar); Portland, Oregon’s Clyde Common (Best Restaurant Bar); and celebrated barman/author Jim Meehan, whose eponymous Bartender Manual won for Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book.
Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Jabali was named Best New Spirit. While there’s a very limited amount of it available, Mezcal aficionados can surely find it at the aforementioned Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co., which was also honored for the World’s Best Spirit Selection. Sweet Liberty was launched in 2015 by one of the bartending world’s biggest stars, John Lermayer, who passed away on June 6th at the age of 45. Lermayer was also honored at the Spirited Awards, with the annual Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award.