Tales of the Cocktail – Day 4
The twentieth iteration of Tales of the Cocktail came to a glamorous close with the revered Spirited Awards ceremony. The hotly anticipated awards, considered the Oscars of the drinks industry, brought together an eclectic list of winners from across the US and rest of the world, to cap a remarkable twentieth edition of Tales of the Cocktail.
London bars did particularly well, winning all of the Best International Bar categories. Bar with Shapes for a Name picked up the award for Best New International Cocktail Bar. The contemporary and colourful hymn to Bauhaus was opened by Remy Savage in 2021 in East London to much critical acclaim. Remy also collected the award for International Bartender of the Year making him one of the few nominees to take home two of the coveted Spirited Award glass plates. Tayēr+Elementary, took home the award for Best International Cocktail Bar. Co-owned and operated by Monica Berg and Alex Kratena, the groundbreaking bar, located in London’s Old Street, is renowned for its approach to flavour development and for contributing to a new idea of bar experience. Campari Academy’s Creative Director Monica Berg collected the award acknowledging the importance of her team back in London.
Lyaness, situated in London’s Sea Containers hotel, was awarded Best International Hotel Bar and also collected the prestigious final award “World’s Best Bar” – an award that is given to just one of the winners of the night. Part of the Mr Lyan group owned by Ryan Chetiyawardana, Lyaness has a unique approach with its cook book inspired menu – that centres around bespoke ingredients created by the team.
In the US, New Orleans also shined on stage, with local drinks industry legend Chris Hannah taking home the award for US Bartender of the Year. Originally from Baltimore, Hannah rose to fame tending the bar at the iconic Arnaud’s French 75 for 14 years, before embarking on his own personal adventures. After opening Manolito, he is now the face and soul of Jewel of the South which also took home the award for Best US Restaurant Bar. The charming restaurant with a garden courtyard is located in the French Quarter, it serves up caviar, steaks and Sunday brunch alongside cocktails including Hannah’s Brandy Crusta.
Katana Kitten in New York was one of the hottest tickets: the Greenwich Village staple which is half American dive, half Japanese highball bar, collected the award for both Best US Bar Team and Best US Cocktail Bar. Founder Masahiro Ushida also picked up the award for Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book for his work on “The Japanese Art of the Cocktail”, which he co-edited with Michael Anstendig. Born in Monowa, Japan, Masa (as he is known) opened his visionary bar in 2018 after 6 years of bartending in New York, and in that same year it won the award for Best New US Cocktail Bar.
Dale Degroff presented Julie Reiner with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Author and Co-owner of the world renowned Clover Club and Leyanda in Brooklyn, Julie has been elevating the New York cocktail scene for 25 years. Julie collected the prestigious award on stage joking that whilst she was so grateful for the recognition, she certainly wasn’t finished and can’t wait to do more.
Celebrated historian and writer David Wondrich was crowned for his monumental work as chief editor of The Oxford Companion of Spirits and Cocktails, along with Noah Rothbaum. Globally recognized as the most important drinks historian, Wondrich is author of bar bookshelf staples such as Imbibe! and Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, which have served as must-haves for any budding bartender’s library. The Oxford Companion counts 1150 entries, 860 pages and over 150 contributors, easily definable as the most complete spirits and cocktail encyclopedia ever written.
With a night which saw much to celebrate Tales of the Cocktail came to a close: but next year is on the horizon already.