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First AZ Bar Nominated for Tales of the Cocktail

Posted on: June 17th, 2016 by Taryn Jeffries No Comments

The fact that we have some amazing individuals immersed in the culinary scene in Arizona is obvious to anyone who’s been out for dinner or a drink lately. Sadly, we get overlooked for some national awards. But we know. We know about all the masterful chefs and mixologists the Valley has to offer. We recently got a serious nod from Tales of the Cocktail.

First AZ Bar Nominated for Tales of the CocktailTales of the Cocktail began in 2002 and has grown into a distinguished group of cocktail lovers. It is essentially the industry’s annual meeting place to exchange new ideas, products and techniques. Part of that includes the Spirited Awards. Next month marks the 10th Annual Spirited Awards, taking place in New Orleans.

The awards provide recognition of the best bars and bar talent throughout the US and around the world. The awards feature a theme and this year is no different. They’ll be traveling to three different decades with a bar crawl through time.

The awards given are as diverse as the nominees. So let’s delve into them a little.

Best American/ International Bar Team

From a tandem of two dynamic tenders who bring a unique, compelling chemistry to their small bar to the larger troupes that orchestrate the theater of high-volume craft experiences, it is teamwork that often makes the difference in a world-class bar. This award recognizes the best collection of talent working in a bar today. This includes bartenders, barbacks, servers and front of the house. Judges will look for qualities that collectively contribute to the overall success of the bar. The factors span including professionalism, dedication, hospitality, consistency of service and high-quality cocktails.

American/ International Bartender of the Year

This award recognizes the bartenders that have had the most influence on drinks styles and cocktail culture this year. The winners are innovative, experienced, personable and possess extensive technical and practical skills and knowledge. The winner must have received national/ international recognition of their work with their own recipes crossing borders to appear on cocktail menus in other areas. Nominees must be regularly working behind the bar. This award is not based on nationality but rather the location where the bartender works.

Best American/ International Brand Ambassador

This award recognizes the importance of personality in the promotion of drink brands and their creative use of brand communication to engage the trade and their ability to execute compelling education and seminars. This person must be working as a full-time Brand Ambassador with a primary focus on education on the trade and excludes any Brand Executives.

Best American/ International Cocktail Bar
This award recognizes the bars that set the highest of standards and influences cocktail trends and seeks to award the best cocktail bar both international and in the United States. The menu, bar teams, atmosphere, and cocktail quality are all a part of the consideration.

Best American/ International High Volume Cocktail Bar

This award recognizes the bar that consistently delivers top quality cocktails at bars with a capacity of 100 people or more. This award celebrates the bars that deliver cocktail culture to the masses efficiently. Cocktails, menus, bartending and service are part of the consideration.

Best American/ International Hotel Bar

The classic hotel bar has played an important role in the history and development of cocktail culture. The award recognizes the hotel bars that uphold this tradition but don’t necessarily have to be old. They will offer five-star service and consistently well-made drinks in a comfortable setting. The ability to cater to an International guest is also part of the consideration.

Best American/ International Restaurant Bar

This award recognizes the restaurant bar that shows dedication to creating a great cocktail experience for their dining guests. Considerations will go to the approach they have to aperitif and digestive drinks. They will also look at how well they work with the kitchen to pair cocktails with food. Other considerations include general bartending and mixing excellence. It is important that the primary business of the restaurant is food and wine and that it is a restaurant receives high ratings as such.

Best New American/ International Cocktail Bar

New bars are constantly opening. This award aims to reward those bars that make an immediate impact on cocktail culture and set new high standards for the industry. This award recognizes creativity, décor, and service as well as well-executed drinks. Only bars that opened between April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016, are eligible for this award.

There are more awards for writing and overall categories. One that we are particularly excited about is the Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar. Why so excited? Because one of our favorites, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour have been nominated. Not only that, they are the first Arizona bar to receive a nomination.

“At Bitter & Twisted, our goal has always been to create a world-class cocktail bar and in the heart of historic downtown Phoenix, to prove that our cocktail culture can measure up to any other city in the world,” says B&T head barman & proprietor, Ross Simon. “So we are incredibly honored to receive this prestigious nomination, and on behalf of my hard-working staff, I want to thank the judges and Tales of The Cocktail for including us in the 10th Annual Spirited Awards. And most importantly our guests that support us, and help keep the lights on and doors open in the first place…”

“These nominees are just a snapshot of the talent and creativity that is in our industry today. In order to truly capture what is going on in the global cocktail movement, our shortlists would need to be doubled,” says Simon Ford, Spirited Awards Chairman and host. “These awards recognize the people and places that captured the imagination of the 110 judges, but please also remember these awards are celebrating the industry we all love and the resurgence of the cocktail movement.”

“Making the Spirited Awards top ten is no small feat. We receive hundreds of nominations in each category so everyone on this list should be proud of this hard-earned accomplishment,” says Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail. “With the quality of bars, bartenders, ambassadors, distillers and writers we have in our industry, it was not an easy task for our judges. I want to thank them for lending their time and expertise in narrowing down to our top tens.”

The event will feature a live stream the night of the event on the Tales of the Cocktail Facebook page. The 2016 Spirited Awards hosts are Simon Ford, founder of The 86 Co., and Aisha Tyler. Simon Ford will make an announcement of the 4 finalists for each category at noon on Monday, June 20th on the Facebook page.

We are so excited for Bitter & Twisted. Who else do you think deserves recognition?

If you are looking for the best and latest in Arizona restaurant and culinary news, please make sure to sign up for our newsletter, give us a like on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram to make sure that you never miss a bite!

© Taryn Jeffries 2016

About the Author - Taryn Jeffries

Editor and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites, 2017 Food Writer of the Year (Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame) Taryn grew up in a small town in Illinois with a doting Grandmother who taught her the way around a kitchen and that food is representative of love. Her current quest is to find the love in local dishes and the chefs behind them. In addition to running all things PhoenixBites, Taryn is also a freelance writer, sharing her insight on the best dishes and where to get them each and every month.

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