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Tales of the Cocktail Awards

Rocks Stars


August 1, 2012

Rocks Stars Goes To Tales of the Cocktail
By David Ransom

5 questions for Joaquin Simo of Death & Co, New York City, Named U.S. Bartender of the Year at the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail Awards

Q. How many years have you been coming to Tales of the Cocktail?
A. Five…ish, I think…

Q. Do you wear an armband?
A. No

Q. Sponsorships aside, what’s your go to spirit right now?
A. Whatever’s in front of me… and Sherry, which technically isn’t really a spirit.

Q. As a veteran of this industry, what advice do you have for someone just getting into the business?
A. The most important thing in this business is who’s in front of you, not what’s in the glass. Always
remember, we serve people, not drinks. With that as your mantra, the world’s yours to conquer.

Q. What’s your favorite garnish?
A. None, I don’t use them much. Then again, I suppose cucumber ribbons, because they annoy the waitstaff…

Love it! Congratulations on your recent accolade…



June 2, 2011

The Nominees for the 5th Annual Tales of the Cocktail Awards are…
By Francine Cohen

Dear Brand X,

I knew Smith & Cross, Smith & Cross was a friend of mine and you sir, are no Smith & Cross!

That said, with an impressive lineup of the world’s best bars, brands, brand ambassadors, bartenders, and the chroniclers who tell their stories, the 5th Annual Tales of the Cocktail Awards can’t miss, no matter who it is that has their name called out from the stage of the Mahalia Jackson Theatre on July 23rd at the culmination of Tales of the Cocktail 2011.

This annual cocktail festival, now in its 9th year. continues to evolve along with the spirits industry it celebrates. In recognizing the growth of consumer interest in cocktails and the burgeoning connection between the bar and the kitchen this year’s judging committee added two new categories; Best High Volume Cocktail Bar to be awarded to the top bar that consistently delivers top quality cocktails at bars with 100 seats or more. This award celebrates those bars that deliver cocktail culture to the masses efficiently. Cocktails, lists, bartending, and service are all considered, as well as, Best Restaurant Bar to be awarded to the top restaurant bar that is dedicated to creating a great cocktail experience for their dining guests. Considerations will go to the approach they have to Aperitif and Digestive drinks, how well they work with the kitchen to pair cocktails with food, as well as general bartending and mixing excellence.

Additionally, those scribes who dedicate their time and attention (and livers) to drinks research, trends, and news are being honored in two separate ways as last year’s award for Best Cocktail Writing has been divided into two subcategories, Non-Book Publication and Author. The Non-Book category celebrates publications as a whole for their excellence in overall writing. The Author category awards individual writers for their contributions to furthering information, knowledge and interest in cocktail culture.

Through its annual Spirited Awards™, Tales of the Cocktail® provides recognition to those individuals and establishments that have shown an outstanding talent for advancing the craft of the cocktail. To embody the ideals with which Tales of the Cocktail® was originally founded, these awards will recognize both national and international honorees who will receive exclusive Riedel Crystal awards.

Pernod Ricard USA ( is proud to be the sponsor of this year’s 5th Annual Spirited Awards™ for the company’s fourth year in a row- recognizing industry leaders and innovators. For the past 8 years, Tales of the Cocktail® has brought together an incredible group of suppliers, bartenders, writers and the most authoritative experts in the industry- all acting as partners in the celebration and appreciation of cocktail culture. In presenting the Spirited Awards™ and as the industry leader in bartender education, Pernod Ricard USA applauds each participant and nominee. Also, as part of the evening’s celebration, Beverage Media Group, Inc. will recognize 10 Up & Coming Mixologists, selected from participants of the Tales of the Cocktail Apprentice Program.

INSIDE F&B is proud to be a Tales of the Cocktail media partner and cheers on all of our industry colleagues who are on the short list. It was heartwarming to see, on Facebook, the mutual love, respect, and support each of the nominees and their peers have for one another. To us, you all are winners.

Below is the complete list of nominee according to category.

American Bartender of the Year
Eric Alperin, Los Angeles, California
Kenta Goto, New York City, New York
Misty Kalkofen, Boston, Massachusetts
Sam Ross, New York City, New York
Joaquin Simo, New York City, New York

Best American Brand Ambassador
Colin Asare-Appiah, U’luvka Vodka
Jacques Bezuidenhout, Partida Tequila
Jamie Gordon, Absolut Vodka
Jim Ryan, Hendrick’s Gin

Best American Cocktail Bar
Clover Club, New York City, New York
Drink, Boston, Massachusetts
Employees Only, New York City, New York
The Varnish, Los Angeles, California

Best Bar Mentor
Wayne Collins, London, England
Steve Olson, New York City, New York
Audrey Saunders, New York City, New York
Dushan Zaric, New York City, New York

Best High Volume Cocktail Bar
Eastern Standard, Boston, Massachusetts
Flatiron Lounge, New York City, New York
Florida Room, Miami, Florida
Rickhouse, San Francisco, California

Best Cocktail Writing – Non Book
Imbibe USA
Tasting Panel Magazine

Best Cocktail Writing – Author
Toby Cecchini, New York City, New York
Camper English, San Francisco, Francisco
Darcy O’Neil, London, Ontario
Naren Young, New York City, New York

Best International Brand Ambassador
Ian Burrell
Claire Smith, Belvedere Vodka
Dan Warner, Beefeater Gin
Angus Winchester, Tanqueray Gin

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book
Fix the Pumps by Darcy O’Neill
Left Coast Libations by Ted Munat & Michael Lazar*
Punch by David Wondrich
Speakeasy by Dushan Zaric and Jay Kosmas

Best New Product
Bank’s Rum
Cocchi Americano**
Smith & Cross Rum
Tequila Calle 23

Best Restaurant Bar
The Drawing Room, Chicago, Illinois
Eleven Madison Park, New York City, New York
Hawksmoor Seven Dials, London, England
Hix, London, England

International Bartender of the Year
Erik Lorincz, London, England
Dre Masso, London, England
Sam Ross, New York City, New York
Dushan Zaric, New York City, New York

World’s Best Cocktail Bar
69 Colebrooke Row, London, England
Dry Martini, Barcelona, Spain
Employees Only, New York City, New York
High Five, Tokyo, Japan

World’s Best Cocktail Menu
Artesian at The Langham, London, England
Eau de Vie, Sydney, Australia
Mayahuel, New York City, New York
Sanctuaria, St. Louis, Missouri

World’s Best Drinks Selection
Artesian at The Langham, London, England
Cure, New Orleans, Louisiana
Eau de Vie, Sydney, Australia
Employees Only, New York City, New York

World’s Best Hotel Bar
Artesian at The Langham, London, England
Clive’s Classic Lounge at Chateau Victoria Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia
Clyde Common at The Ace Hotel, Portland, Oregon
The Savoy, London, England

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar
1534, New York City, New York
Dram, New York City, New York
Eau de Vie, Sydney, Australia
Painkiller, New York City, New York

*Left Coast Libations is the hard back version
**Cocchi Americano is new to the US Market

Awards to be announced at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards™ on Saturday, July 23, 2011 in New Orleans at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Tickets can now be purchased online at The evening’s attire should be Boardwalk Empire inspired.