Founded in 2007 to celebrate excellence in the drinks industry, the Spirited Awards has become one of the most internationally revered accolades, recognizing beverage professionals, products, establishments, journalists, and media across every facet of the global spirits and cocktail industry. In partnership with Forbes, the Spirited Awards official media partner, TOTCF will honor recipients during the Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference, which is returning for an in-person celebration in New Orleans from July 25-29, 2022.
The Spirited Awards are comprised of industry accolades, both domestic and international, writing and media awards, and select, overall awards that transcend regionality including World’s Best Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu.
“Each year it is our distinct privilege to recognize the ingenuity and excellence of the cocktail community by presenting the TOTCF Spirited Awards, and this year feels particularly poignant given how hard our industry has been working,” said TOTCF CEO Eileen Wayner. “We are so appreciative of the dedication and tenacity of the beverage community, and we are honored to continue shining a light on the achievements of our colleagues through this recognition of the Spirited Awards.”
2022 Spirited Awards Changes and Updates
In an effort to continually evolve alongside the dynamic cocktail community, the Spirited Awards Committee has thoughtfully reviewed the awards program and has implemented a number of changes to the 2022 process. This year’s Spirited Awards nomination process will return to recognizing the previously accredited categories such as the “establishments,” “people,” “books,” and “writing and media” categories; however, taking into consideration the impacts of COVID-19 over the past two years, the Spirited Awards Co-Chairs have agreed to retire the “Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar” and “Best U.S. High Volume Cocktail Bar” awards. Moving forward, bars that were previously considered for this category will now fall under either the “Best International/U.S. Cocktail Bar,” “Best International/U.S. Hotel Bar,” or “Best International/U.S. Restaurant Bar.” Additionally, while the Philanthropy Award has honored many outstanding efforts, it will also be retired from the Spirited Awards. An overwhelming volume of remarkable people, organizations, brands and establishments have stepped up since the onset of the global pandemic to help the industry navigate this crisis; however, the TOTCF team recognizes that it’s so many more than could possibly be formally awarded. .
In August 2020, in the midst of nomination announcements, TOTCF made the decision to update its policy surrounding repeat winners. Recognizing that past Spirited Award winners have been honored for their achievements and will remain in the revered echelon of veteran winners, TOTCF decided to ensure that others who have not yet had this recognition would have the sole opportunity to be awarded for their work. Thus, previous Spirited Award winners are not eligible for a subsequent win for the same concept and category. Also, moving forward, if a bar has previously won “World’s Best Bar,” they are no longer eligible to win another Spirited Award, except for the “Timeless” award (which is selected through a different set of criteria).
As an additional change in 2022, the Timeless awards will now accept public nominations.
Nominations, Timeline, and Categories
The open-call nomination period for the “establishments”, “people”, and “writing & media” categories will run from February 15-March 8, 2022. The Regional Honoree list will be published in May, and the Top 10 lists will be announced in early June, with the Top 4 Finalists announced in late June.
The 16th annual Spirited Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, July 28, 2022, in partnership with the Tales of the Cocktail 2022 host venue, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. Additional details will follow.
2022 Spirited Awards Categories Open for Public Nomination:
- (International/U.S.) Bartender of the Year
- Best (International/U.S.) Bar Mentor
- Best (International/U.S.) Brand Ambassador
- Best (International/U.S.) Bar Team
- Best (International/U.S.) Cocktail Bar
- Best (International/U.S.) Hotel Bar
- Best (International/U.S.) Restaurant Bar
- Best New (International/U.S.) Cocktail Bar
- Timeless (International/U.S.) Award
- World’s Best Cocktail Menu
- World’s Best Spirits Selection
- Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient
- Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing
- Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication
- Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series
- Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book
- Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits
- Pioneer Award
The nomination form, which is also open for self-nominations, can be found on the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation website. It only takes one nomination to be considered for the 2022 Spirited Awards, and all nominations are accepted and encouraged.
Spirited Awards Committee
Spirited Awards® Committee Members are a collective of revered bartenders, bar owners, educators, and writers from across the globe entrusted with the meaningful decision of evaluating nominees based on a set of structured criteria. Drawing on their years of experience and their knowledge of the current work happening locally, nationally, and internationally, together the committee judges and evaluates nominees from far and wide to ensure that the Spirited Awards represent the range and magnitude of the global drinks industry. The Spirited Awards is not based on popular vote and all nominations are evaluated by their respective judging committees, even a single vote carries equal weight in the evaluation process.
“The Spirited Awards are supported by a broad pool of industry judges from across the globe,” said Spirited Awards Overall Chair Charlotte Voisey. “We are so grateful for their professional opinion and their objectivity, which are so crucial to the process of celebrating excellence in all of its forms throughout the cocktail world.”
Winners will be selected by a panel of over 100 industry experts.
TOTC 2022: Join Us in New Orleans for a Celebration of “Progress”
To toast the momentous 20-year anniversary of TOTC, the conference will return with a curated lineup of seminars, events, and, of course, imbibing all in the name of “progress” — the festival’s official 2022 theme. Chosen for its recognition of the nimble and adaptive development of the drinks industry, “Progress” showcases the transformative atmosphere and nature of the resilient cocktail community.
As a gracious offering to guests who want to join in celebrating 20 years of cocktail education and networking, Tales of the Cocktail’s 2022 official host hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans has provided a room block and special rate for attendees. The online reservation platform can be accessed via the Marriott website, here.
Please follow along for additional information on the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.