Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards and the Bartenders Breakfast 2011
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Employees Only wins World's Best Cocktail Bar and World's Best Drink Selection
July 23, 2011
NEW ORLEANS—We've been telling our non-cocktail world friends that Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans is like Sundance for bartenders. And if that's the case, then the Spirited Awards that cap off the week of high-class tippling in the Big Easy are like the Oscars. Out of the 16 awards doled out at Saturday's ceremony, six of them went to New York talent, and Metromix New York loves its hometown heroes.
The big winners were Employees Only who took home awards for World's Best Cocktail Bar and World's Best Drink Selection. It's great to see one of our favorites get the international recognition it deserves. Danny Meyer's much lauded Eleven Madison Park won for Best Restaurant Bar, and the place must have been short-staffed this weekend as it seemed like half the theater got up to accept the award. And for the first time in Tales history, the American Bartender of the Year award was a tie for first place, shared between Kenta "Ninja" Goto of Pegu Club and Sam "Bad Haircut" Ross of Milk & Honey (presenter Simon Ford gave them the nicknames, not us, we swear!). Gary "Gaz" Regan presented David Wondrich the award for Best New Cocktail/Bartending for "Punch."
Last but certainly not least, the lovely Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club won for Best Bar Mentor, and was fittingly presented the award by her mentor Dale DeGroff. Little did we know that Ms. Saunders was to be married later that night at the Bartenders Breakfast bash and given away by Mr. DeGroff, with a brass band and procession of bridesmaids and groomsmen who have shaken cocktails under her tutelage.