The prestigious Spirited Award has put hundreds of cocktail bars across the globe onto the world map. The award is now Tales of the Cocktail, 19 years old, the New Orleans-based group that created this award in the year 2007 has turned the concept into reality by creating the world’s most Interactive chart of top bars in the world.
Each year, during the summer, The Spirited Awards has been the tradition-setting closing ceremony for the seven-day Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans. (Full information: Forbes is the official media partner of Tales of the Cocktail.) Some of the most prestigious categories honored throughout the time are the Top American Cocktail Bars Best International Cocktail Bar, World’s Best Cocktail Menu, and Best American Bar Mentor–many of that have led winners to immense success and recognition within the mixology industry.
“After we were awarded the title of World’s Best Bar at the Spirited Awards in 2019, we observe a surge in the number of customers who came in after the award ceremony, particularly in the morning,” says Linden Pride, the owner of Dante the Greenwich Village institution renowned for its Negronis. “And there was always an influx of people outside the restaurant during peak times. It was very gratifying to receive this kind of recognition from our peers. It certainly opened doors to new opportunities for business and partnerships in the field.”
The Spirited Awards be held on the 23rd of September, featuring new awards to acknowledge the challenges that the last year was to the hotel industry. Tales of the Cocktail has made it simpler for spirits lovers to visit each award-winning bar and finalist on its easy-to-use map to commemorate fifteen years of Spirited Awards.
“There truly isn’t any interactive tool that allows consumers to discover and get to the most prestigious bars in the world. We wanted to develop an application that shines a light on the top bars in the industry,” says Eileen Wayner, who is Tales of the Cocktail’s newly named CEO. “And when we looked back on the past 15 seasons of Spirited Awards, we realized that we’d connected over 900 bars, and we were incredibly excited to offer our customers and industry professionals an interactive method to learn about bars and make plans for trips.”
Negroni Paradise: Dante in New York was named the World’s Best Bar at the 2019 Spirited Awards.
If you’re in search of the ideal Manhattan or a classic Manhattan or a fantastical French 75 inside Paris or an old-fashioned Singapore Sling in the island nation that it’s named after, The new tool from TOTC can help you find it.
“We’ve been doing this for nearly one calendar year,” Wayner continues. “We were aware that it was a year of anniversary for us, and we decided to commemorate this heritage. We dug up the information to cross-check and cross-reference and identified which bars were operating. Also, we ensured that we found the right websites, or Instagram accounts, or handles.
“We’ve been collecting this information for 15 years, so we decided to show it in a format that’s more user-friendly than an entire set filled with spreadsheets.”
The map of the world’s cocktail bars is broken down into regions, allowing users to click on the desired country, city, or a specific bar to view the various awards it has earned throughout time. For example, if you would like to know the establishments awarded Best International High-Volume Cocktail Bar, A comprehensive list will be presented to you. Also, TOTC will be updating it frequently as information about closings and new openings comes into.
Kanpai Kanpai: Tales of the Cocktail map includes 932 watering spots, all of which have been Spirited Award winners or nominees.
Because of the epidemic in the past, lots of former Spirited Award winners have gone into that huge drinking hole in the sky. However, the foundation took the decision not to include them in the spotlight. “Covid certainly has profoundly affected our industry. our industry, and we need to acknowledge the massive loss,” Wayner says. “Part of the reason we are maintaining bars that have shut down is an acknowledgment of the communities. Bars appear in communities, and talents reside within those communities. While they may be at an alternative bar or created their bar in the area and it’s an integral part of the history of their communities.
“We would like to see these bars in the spotlight because they were so amazing. They were founded by talent and played a significant role in the development of the industry.”
Making A Splash New York’s Katana Kitten, helmed by Masahiro Urushido, won The Best New American Cocktail Bar award at the 2019 Spirited Awards.
Of the 932 establishments recognized by the Spirited Awards since 2007, over 80 are permanently closed. And of the thirteen top winners–establishments that have earned either the World’s Best Cocktail Bar or World’s Best Bar award–three are temporarily closed (Drink in Boston, Pacific Cocktail Haven in San Francisco, and The American Bar at the Savoy in London).
Two award-winning establishments have been closed for good: Milk & Honey, the late Sascha Petraske’s iconic New York speakeasy, closed several years ago. It was also the last bar to open at its London outlet in September 2020. Another Manhattan landmark, Pegu Club, founded by Audrey Saunders and revered as an incubator for the next generation of bartenders (such as PDT founders Jim Meehan and Toby Maloney of Violet Hour), closed after almost 15 years in 2020 because of Covid.
There are over 800 top-quality bars to choose from, and the Alpha cities are an excellent location to start. London has 73 bars listed on the map. Manhattan follows with 72. (If you include the Brooklyn bars on this map, New York would be no. 1.) Two California cities are next in line: Los Angeles has 38 of the nominated bars for cocktails, while 32 are located in San Francisco. If you want to go to the extreme to get a prestigious cocktail, there are 27 bars located throughout Dubai and Sydney.
Whatever the spirit prompts towards drinking, there’s an array of possibilities, and now you can easily find them.