It’s the most wonderful time of the year, folks: Tales of the Cocktail has officially concluded in New Orleans, and the Spirited Awards have crowned the newest kings and queens of the industry. Seriously, this is like Christmas for cocktail geeks (well, actually getting to attend Tales of the Cocktail would’ve been like Christmas, but since we were stuck in San Francisco the whole time we’ve got to live vicariously).

For those of you who are out of the loop—and don’t feel bad if you are, since we doubt it’s healthy to obsess about this stuff like we do—Tales of the Cocktail is generally regarded as the most important cocktail and spirits festival in the world. This is all the more impressive given that it was only founded in 2002, but the timing couldn’t have been better. There wasn’t much else out there a decade ago, and people flocked to Tales like drunken moths to a light.

Over the years, founder Ann Tuennerman added dozens of the world’s most celebrated cocktail and spirits experts to the festival’s ranks, with people like Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich, and Simon Ford conspiring to make it the most star-studded event in the industry. Bartenders, cocktail writers, spirit brand ambassadors, and mountains of giddy (and sweaty—have you ever been to New Orleans in July?) spectators now pack the city each summer to take part in the spectacle.

In 2007, Tales added what might be its most famous event: the Spirited Awards. They are, more or less, the Oscars of the cocktail industry, and those of us who pay attention to this stuff wait with bated breath as the top ten, top four, and eventual winners of each category are announced. The nominees represent the best of the best in the world of great drinking, and being considered at all is a massive accomplishment.

We were particularly proud of our hometown this year, as it seemed like nearly every category featured a San Francisco bar or bartender in the top ten finalists. Some of our favorite spots like Trick Dog, Smuggler’s Cove, NoPa, and Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant (which might have the best tequila selection in the world) were nominated for various categories, and the Mission District’s ABV even took home the prize for Best New American Cocktail Bar. Those guys won’t need to use their bragging rights, we’ve got it covered.

For those of you who are curious about the winners (especially the most coveted prize, World’s Best Bar), we’ve compiled a list of all of this year’s winners below. 2015 presented a particularly crowded and talented field, even for a competition as prestigious as this one. But now that the results are officially in, it’s time to start bar-hopping our way around the world to give each of these places a shot. If we hurry, we might even get done in time for next year!

2015 Spirited Awards Winners


Overall Categories

Best Bar Mentor

Jim Meehan (Portland)

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient

Amaro di Angostura

World’s Best Cocktail Menu

Dead Rabbit (New York)

World’s Best Spirits Selection

Canon (Seattle)

World’s Best Bar

Dead Rabbit (New York)

American Categories

Best American Bar Team

Employees Only (New York)

American Bartender of the Year

Ivy Mix (New York)

Best American Brand Ambassador

Brooke Arthur (House Spirits)

Best American Cocktail Bar

Williams & Graham (Denver)

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar

Employees Only (New York)

Best American Hotel Bar

The Broken Shaker (Miami Beach)

Best American Restaurant Bar

Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks (Boston)

Best New American Cocktail Bar

ABV (San Francisco)


International Categories

Best International Bar Team

28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)

International Bartender of the Year

Ryan Chetiyawardana (London)

Best International Brand Ambassador

Claire Smith-Warner (Belvedere Vodka)

Best International Cocktail Bar

Artesian (London)

Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar

The Black Pearl & The Attic (Melbourne)

Best International Hotel Bar

Beaufort Bar, The Savoy (London)

Best International Restaurant Bar

Blind Pig at Social Eating House (London)

Best New International Cocktail Bar

Dandelyan (London)


Writing Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication


Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer

Dave Broom

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book

Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold

Best New Spirits Book

Whisky: The Manual by Dave Broom



Photo: Taken at the Dead Rabbit‘s opening week just two years ago

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