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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Cien Años Después: Michelin Hits Mexico

Cien Años Después: Michelin Guide Hits Mexico

by David Klemt

In news that may come as a shock to many, the Michelin Guide is covering Mexico for the first time in its 124-year history.

If, like me, you’re surprised, I think that’s justifiable. I raised an eyebrow when I learned that the Michelin Guide didn’t cover the US with an American edition until 2005.

Should you be curious about what cities were featured in that first American guide…it was only New York. From what I’ve gathered, 500 restaurants throughout the city’s boroughs received coverage. Of the 50 hotels included in that guide, all were in Manhattan.

And when it comes to Canada, Toronto and Vancouver guides didn’t exist until 2022. So, to learn that the Michelin Guide has just now arrived in Mexico was mind blowing.

However, the country is certainly attempting to make up for lost time (a total of 124 years of lost time). Coming out swinging for their first guide, more than 150 restaurants throughout Mexico earned recognition.

In 2024, 97 restaurants earned Michelin recommendations. A total of 42 Bib Gourmands were awarded. Six restaurants in Mexico earned Michelin Green Stars. Five restaurants received Michelin Special Awards, such as the Exceptional Cocktail Award, and the Mentor Chef Award.

Now, on to the “big” awards: Michelin Stars. Sixteen restaurants in Mexico now have one Michelin Star. Just two, both in Mexico City, earned two Michelin Stars: Quintonil, and Pujol.

Interestingly, both restaurants also earned placement on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 rankings. Pujol grabbed 33 on the list, while Quintonil is number seven.

Unfortunately, not a single restaurant in Mexico has been awarded three Mexican Stars. But, I think it’s only a matter of time.

But wait…

Finding out that the Michelin Guide hadn’t come to Mexico until 2024 piqued my interest. So, I did some digging and found myself sliding down a rabbit hole.

It may be difficult to believe at first glance, but the entirety of France was home to less than 3,000 cars in the year 1900. That’s not great if you happen to be in a few businesses: automobile manufacturing, tire manufacturing, and hospitality.

The demand for privately owned automobiles would need to increase if manufacturers were to succeed. This includes tire manufacturers. New vehicles coming off assembly lines would mean more tire sales. More drivingmore miles driven, specifically—would mean more tire repairs and replacements. And with more people driving across an entire country, tourism would increase. That, of course, is great for hotels, restaurants, cafes, pubs, and taverns.

So, to increase the demand for automobiles, and therefore tires and tourism (but mostly the tires), two brothers hatched a plan.

Édouard and André Michelin published the first Michelin Guide. Or, more accurately, the first Guide Michelin. Around 35,000 copies of the guide were distributed throughout France. 1900’s Guide Michelinwhich was free—contained maps; locations of hotels; locations of gas stations and repair shops; and instructions for repairing and replacing tires.

I haven’t read it, but I feel like the main instruction is, “Buy another Michelin tire. In fact, buy four more. No, five more—get yourself a spare. Or, hey, get eight so you have four spares, as long as they’re Michelin.”

…there’s more…

The iconic (or infamous) Star system was first introduced in 1926, with only one Star awarded. Five years later, the full Star system was developed (none, one, two, three). Yet another five years later, the meaning of each Star rating was revealed to the public.

As far as other countries not receiving Michelin Guide coverage, Italy first got a guide in 1956…and zero stars. Great Britain has received coverage off and on, but the Michelin Guide as we know itnarrowing its focus strictly to restaurants and hotelscame out in 1974. This edition also featured Ireland.

Okay, now it’s time for what’s truly astonishing: countries, cities, and city-states, apparently via their tourism boards, pay for Michelin Guide coverage.

I’ve heard “accusations” of corrupt lists, and payment in exchange for coverage of a certain city or country. However, I didn’t pay much heed to these claims.

But, apparently it’s confirmed that countries and cities do see the Michelin Guide as a worthwhile investment in their tourism industries.

While I’m not certain that I’d go so far as to label this exchange corruption, I do agree that it’s eyebrow-raising.

…and more.

For example, Atlanta, Georgia, became the seventh American city to receive a Michelin Guide. And according to an interview between travel news and research site Skift and Discover Atlanta CEO and President William Pate, the city invested $1 million in the Michelin Guide for three years of coverage.

Per Pate, restaurants featured in the Atlanta Michelin Guide saw growth of 30 percent. Further, restaurants not even featured saw a bump of about ten percent.

South Korea reportedly paid about $1 million in 2016 for a Michelin Guide, and it’s said that the government was unhappy with the coverage. I suppose that’s where some of the accusations of corruption or “scandal” could stem from. It’s reported that Thailand paid well over $4 million for Bangkok to receive five years of coverage, starting in 2017.

Turning our attention to Canada, the UAE, Malaysia, and Vietnam, sources claim they paid for coverage. However, in each case, the sum is described as “an undisclosed amount.”

A Smart Investment?

I can certainly understand why a country or city may choose to invest in Michelin Guide coverage. If it’s true that restaurants in Atlanta that weren’t even featured saw increased sales and traffic, that’s a commendable ROI.

According to several sources, restaurants that receive a recommendation or up to three Stars can see increases in business of anywhere from ten to 30 percent. In some cases, their business doubles. So, again, it may be wise for tourism boards to make these investments and put their restaurants scenes on the map. Or, in the case of known scenes, give them a significant boost.

I should note that, from what I’ve found, the Michelin Guide doesn’t hide their financial relationships. They appear to be open about payments (investments, contributions…choose your favorite term) received from government agencies or tourism boards.

At this time, I can’t state with any certainty if Mexico invested in the Michelin Guide to receive coverage. Therefore, I can’t say how much they invested to have their first guide published.

What I can say is that it’s about time that Mexico’s rich, vibrant, and sophisticated dining scene received this recognition.

Image: Raul Angel on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Restaurant Business Plan. Feasibility Study. Concept. Branding. Consultant. Start-Up.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 Reveals #1

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 Reveals 1 to 50

by David Klemt

The interior of Virtù bar in Tokyo, Japan

Virtù in Tokyo, Japan. Number 11 on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 list, and the winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award.

Cheers to the Best Bar in Asia, which also happens to be the Best Bar in Hong Kong, and the winner of the 2024 Disaronno Highest New Entry Award.

Connecting the dots, that means the bar that has earned the number one spot has achieved something stunning. Looking back at the previous eight editions of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, no other bar has taken the top spot on its first appearance on this list.

The top bar in Asia is taking home three awards, plus a record.

Now, let’s look back at last week’s list. In revealing the expanded rankingbars number 51 to 100—I identified three cities that appeared to be on the rise. These are Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Nara, Japan; and Tainan City, Taiwan.

I was curious as to whether any (or all) of these cities would be home to bars on the one to 50 list. While they weren’t, I think it’s only a matter of time before a bar in at least one of the cities breaks into the main list. On the topic of keeping an eye out, Dry Wave Cocktail Studio in Bangkok, Thailand, earned this year’s Campari One to Watch Award.

In perhaps unsurprising news, Singapore boasts the most bars on this year’s list, claiming 11 spots. If we were to combine all of mainland China plus special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China, there are 15 bars to Singapore’s eleven. Seoul, South Korea, is home to five bars that earned placement this year, including Zest at number two. Bangkok, Thailand, claims four bars, with BKK Social Club landing at number seven.

Take a look at the list below to find out which bar is the best in Asia. Cheers!

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024: 50 to 11

  1. Pine & Co (Seoul, South Korea)
  2. Atlas (Singapore)(Rémy Martin Legend of the List Award 2024; Bareksten Best Bar Design Award 2024)
  3. Le Chamber (Seoul, South Korea)
  4. The Haflington (Hanoi, Vietnam)
  5. Alice (Seoul, South Korea)
  6. Mostly Harmless (Hong Kong, China)
  7. The Public House (Taipei, Taiwan)
  8. CMYK (Changsha, China)
  9. Fura (Singapore)(Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award 2024)
  10. Reka (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  11. ZLB23 (Bengaluru, India)(The Best Bar in India)
  12. Barc (Kathmandu, Nepal)(The Best Bar in Nepal)
  13. Employees Only (Singapore)
  14. Bar Mood (Taipei, Taiwan)
  15. Bar Trigona (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  16. Analogue Initiative (Singapore)
  17. The Bellwood (Tokyo, Japan)
  18. The Curator (Manila, Philippines)(The Best Bar in Philippines)
  19. Origin Bar (Singapore)
  20. Native (Singapore)
  21. Vender (Taichung, Taiwan)(The Best Bar in Taiwan)
  22. Smoke & Bitters (Hiriketiya, Sri Lanka)(The Best Bar in Sri Lanka)
  23. Craftroom (Osaka, Japan)
  24. Pantja (Jakarta, Indonesia)
  25. Quinary (Hong Kong, China)
  26. Offtrack (Singapore)
  27. Penicillin (Hong Kong, China)
  28. The SG Club (Tokyo, Japan)
  29. The St. Regis Club (Macau) (Macau, China)(The Best Bar in Macau)
  30. Bar Us (Bangkok, Thailand)
  31. Bar Cham (Seoul, South Korea)
  32. The Savory Project (Hong Kong, China)
  33. Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar (Bangkok, Thailand)
  34. Darkside (Hong Kong, China)
  35. Night Hawk (Singapore)
  36. Sago House (Singapore)
  37. Hope & Sesame (Guangzhou, China)(The Best Bar in Mainland China)
  38. Vesper (Bangkok, Thailand)
  39. The Cocktail Club (Jakarta, Indonesia)(The Best Bar in Indonesia)
  40. Virtù (Tokyo, Japan)(Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2024)

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024: 10 to 1

  1. The Aubrey (Hong Kong, China)
  2. Argo (Hong Kong, China)
  3. Penrose (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)(The Best Bar in Malaysia; Nikka Highest Climber Award 2024)
  4. BKK Social Club (Bangkok, Thailand)(The Best Bar in Thailand)
  5. Nutmeg & Clover (Singapore)
  6. Bar Benfiddich (Tokyo, Japan)(The Best Bar in Japan)
  7. Coa (Hong Kong, China)
  8. Jigger & Pony (Singapore)(The Best Bar in Singapore)
  9. Zest (Seoul, South Korea)(The Best Bar in Korea; Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award 2024: Dohyung “Demie” Kim)
  10. Bar Leone (Hong Kong, China)(The Best Bar in Asia; The Best Bar in Hong Kong; Disaronno Highest New Entry Award 2024)

Cheers to Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024! For more information, please review the official press release below.

The Bar Leone team from Hong Kong

Cheers to Bar Leone!

BAR LEONE IN HONG KONG NAMED THE BEST BAR IN ASIA, SPONSORED BY PERRIER, AS THE ASIA’S 50 BEST BARS 2024 LIST IS REVEALED

The prestigious list and several special awards were announced at a live ceremony in Hong Kong, featuring bars from 18 destinations across the region

  • Bar Leone ranks 1 and is named The Best Bar in Asia, sponsored by Perrier, and The Best Bar in Hong Kong
  • Bar Leone also wins the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award
  • The list features 15 new entries spanning 11 destinations
  • Singapore leads with 11 bars on the list, as Jigger & Pony ranks No.3 and is named The Best Bar in Singapore for the fifth consecutive year
  • Singapore’s Atlas wins the inaugural Bareksten Best Bar Design Award in Asia, as well as theRémy Martin Legend of the List Award
  • The Savory Project in Hong Kong is the recipient of the London Essence Best New Opening Award
  • Bar veteran Yangdup Lama of New Delhi’s Sidecar is awarded the Roku Industry Icon Award
  • Penrose, Kuala Lumpur, is named winner of the Nikka Highest Climber Award after rising 42 places in the rankings
  • New entrant Fura in Singapore takes the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award
  • Dry Wave Cocktail Studio from Bangkok receives the Campari One To Watch Award
  • Nest by Pun, Taipei, takes the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award
For the full 1-50 list, please scroll to the top of this article.

16 July 2024 – The list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024, sponsored by Perrier, was announced at a live awards ceremony this evening in Hong Kong. The ceremony, hosted in collaboration with destination partner Hong Kong Tourism Board, featured bars from 18 cities across Asia, including 15 new entries, culminating in Bar Leone in Hong Kong being named The Best Bar in Asia.

Bar Leone has achieved the remarkable feat of debuting at the coveted No.1 spot, clinching The Best Bar in Hong Kong title, as well as the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award. This marks the first time in 50 Best Bars history that The Best Bar in Asia has been a new entry on the list. The one-year-old neighbourhood bar in Central, Hong Kong, founded by bartender Lorenzo Antinori, embodies the Italian ethos of ‘cocktail popolari’ or ‘cocktails for the people’. With behind-the-bar experience at Argo in Hong Kong and top bars in Seoul and London, Antinori brings expertise to a beverage programme focused on classic, approachable cocktails that are inspired by the traditional Roman bars of his home country.

The bar programme focuses on revived classics made with a low-intervention, seasonal approach, and is complemented by minimalist garnishes, like manicured citrus peels and quality olives. The relaxed and fun vibe mirrors Lorenzo’s playful personality, with decor featuring burnt orange banquettes, a mahogany bar, church candles, Italy-themed posters, a 70s-80s Italian pop soundtrack and personal knick-knacks – all of which combine to create a space that feels both homely and high end.

Emma Sleight, Head of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, says: “We are thrilled to be back in Hong Kong celebrating Asia’s vibrant bar community. The region’s bars continuously redefine exceptional drinking experiences, showcased by the talent and creativity at this year’s winning establishments. With 15 new entries, the list is bound to entice and excite even seasoned cocktail enthusiasts. Huge congratulations to the tour de force that is Lorenzo Antinori and the whole team at Bar Leone for the impressive – and previously unheard of – feat of entering the ranking at No.1. This is undoubtedly a strong testament to the bar’s irreverent and casual approach to cocktails, design, service and hospitality.”

At No.2 is the intimate low-waste bar, Zest in Seoul, which has ascended three spots, making it The Best Bar in Korea. A consistent presence in the top five is Jigger & Pony in Singapore at No.3, making it The Best Bar in Singapore for the fifth year running. Last year’s top spot holder, Coa, comes in at No.4, and No.5 is Tokyo’s Bar Benfiddich, which takes the title of The Best Bar in Japan.

Destination Success Stories

A total of 15 bars from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan made the list this year, while Hong Kong leads the region with nine spots, with Coa at No.4 and Argo at No.9. The 25th-floor izakaya with sweeping views of Victoria Harbour, The Aubrey, has risen seven spots to No.10. Darkside comes in at No.17 and new entrant The Savory Project debuts at No.19. Penicillin rises two places to No.24, while Quinary climbs five spots to No.26 and Mostly Harmless rounds off Hong Kong’s showing at No.45.

From Taichung, the vending machine-themed craft cocktail den, Vender, climbs 11 places to No.30, earning the title of The Best Bar in Taiwan. In Taipei, Bar Mood re-enters the rankings at No.37, while The Public House is at No.44. Guangzhou’s Hope & Sesame, a technique-driven speakeasy, is now at No.14, ascending 25 spots and holding onto The Best Bar in Mainland China title. CMYK from Changsha debuts at No.43, where award-winning bartender Ethan Liu has created a high-energy, multi-room drinking den inside an old residential building. This also marks Changsha’s first appearance in the rankings. Additionally, The St. Regis Bar at No.22 is Macau’s sole representative and is named The Best Bar in Macau.

Singapore tops the rankings with 11 coveted spots: alongside Jigger & Pony (No.3), Nutmeg & Clove, founded by bar veteran and former Roku Industry Icon winner Colin Chia, rises to No.6. Sago House follows at No.15, while new entrant Night Hawk debuts at No.16. Offtrack, another new entry at No.25, offers a music-focused drinks experience with local DJs and lesser-known classic cocktails.

Native climbs 11 places to No.31, and Origin, another new entrant at No.32, features interiors resembling an old-school train station with cocktails themed around the city’s five districts. Analogue Initiative is at No.35, followed by Employees Only at No.38. Newcomer Fura comes in at No.42, while Atlas rounds-off Singapore’s showing at No.49.

Bars from Seoul secured five positions on the list, led by Zest at No.2, making it The Best Bar in Korea. Sustainability-forward Zest is helmed by Dohyung ‘Demie’ Kim alongside Korean bartending stalwarts Sean Woo, Jisu Park and Noah Kwon. Bar Cham is at No.20, followed by Alice at No.46 and Le Chamber at No.48. Closing the list at No.50 is new entrant Pine & Co, a bar resembling a scientist’s R&D lab, known for its future-forward cocktails.

In Japan, Tokyo’s Bar Benfiddich secures the No.5 spot, maintaining its title as The Best Bar in Japan for the third consecutive year. Following closely is Virtù which climbs nine places to No.11, The SG Club takes No.23, while The Bellwood has surged 15 places to No.34. Hailing from Osaka, newcomer Craftroom debuts at No.28. This petite, six-seater bar, led by revered bartender Ryu Fujii, offers classic cocktails within a seasonally changing menu.

Bangkok also holds five spots on the list, with BKK Social Club leading the pack at No.7, also earning the title of The Best Bar in Thailand. Vesper follows at No.13, while the funky, fun and immersive Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar climbs four spots to No.18. Finally, new entrant Bar Us debuts impressively at No.21, offering a high-concept ‘drinking room’ with all-black interiors and bartenders sporting freshly-pressed white lab coats.

Penrose in Kuala Lumpur makes an impressive climb of 42 places to reach No.8, earning the title of The Best Bar in Malaysia and earning the Nikka Highest Climber Award 2024. Also hailing from Kuala Lumpur, Bar Trigona maintains its position at No.36 while newcomer Reka, a self-proclaimed ‘post- modern flavour lab’, enters the list at No.41. Indonesia is represented by two bars from Jakarta: The Cocktail Club ascends seven spots to claim No.12 and secures the title of The Best Bar in Indonesia, followed by Pantja, which enjoys a two-spot hike to No.27.

India is represented on the list by Bengaluru’s ZLB23 at No.40. This newcomer claims the title of The Best Bar in India, serving prohibition-style cocktails in a venue accessed through a secret entrance hidden within a working kitchen. Hiriketiya’s Smoke & Bitters climbs 11 places to No.29 and is crowned The Best Bar in Sri Lanka. From Kathmandu, Barc debuts at No.39 as The Best Bar in Nepal, offering an upmarket, elegant space accompanied by a sophisticated selection of cocktails. Manila’s The Curator ascends one spot to No.33, earning the title of The Best Bar in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Hanoi’s The Haflington enters the list at No.47 – this immersive, vintage-themed space offers an adventurous cocktail menu inspired by The Jungle Book, securing the title of The Best Bar in Vietnam.

Special Awards

Dry Wave Cocktail Studio, Bangkok (No.73 on the 51-100 list), has won the Campari One To Watch Award, hand-picked by the 50 Best team as a bar that it feels has the potential to break into the 1-50 list in the future. Dry Wave Cocktail Studio runs a stellar beverage programme of classic and creative libations, led by veteran bartender-owner Supawit ‘Palm’ Muttarattana, who formerly helmed Vesper (No.12 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 and No.55 on The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023).

Bartender, entrepreneur and author Yangdup Lama has been crowned the Roku Industry Icon 2024.

Owner of New Delhi’s Sidecar, Lama is a legendary figure in the industry and the subcontinent’s leading mixologist. Under his leadership, Sidecar has earned several placements in Asia’s and The World’s 50 Best Bars rankings. Lama inspires with his creative cocktails and advocacy for regional ingredients, and as a mentor and trainer, he proudly showcases India’s bartending talent on the global stage.

Singapore’s Atlas (No.49), a jazz-age-inspired gin bar, has been honoured with the Rémy Martin Legend of the List Award, recognising an establishment that has consistently performed well in the rankings since the list’s inception in 2016. It is a double win for Atlas this year, as it also receives the inaugural Bareksten Best Bar Design Award in Asia for its spectacular art deco style and a 15-metre-tall gin tower housing around 900 labels. This new accolade celebrates bars with thoughtful designs emphasising accessibility, sustainability and market appropriateness.

The Savory Project, Hong Kong, is awarded the London Essence Best New Opening Award and enters the list at No.19. Founded by the award-winning team behind former top spot holder Coa, this newcomer spotlights craft cocktails with savoury and umami notes made with unorthodox ingredients.

Fura (No.42) in Singapore wins the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award for its groundbreaking, low-carbon footprint cocktails, circular ethos and commitment to low-waste practices. Fura exclusively uses local ingredients in its drinks, highlighting its dedication to a sustainable beverage programme.

The Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu award goes to Nest by Pun in Taipei. This reservations-only speakeasy features a thematic menu reflecting its bee and honeycomb design elements, enhancing its mysterious charm. The menu is thoughtfully crafted to help patrons narrow down their drink choices based on preferred ingredients and flavour profiles. Guests can expect not only cocktail mastery, but also a captivating storytelling experience.

Pre-announced special award winners that accepted their accolades at the live awards ceremony include Virtù in Tokyo, winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award, and Dohyung ‘Demie’ Kim from Seoul, winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award.

The Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 awards ceremony was streamed live and is available to view on The

World’s 50 Best Bars Facebook and 50 Best Bars TV YouTube Channel.

Voting Process

50 Best works with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner to help protect the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024. See more details on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars voting process here.

About Asia’s 50 Best Bars

Asia’s 50 Best Bars is the first regional event of The World’s 50 Best Bars brand, created in 2016 with the purpose of showcasing the best and most innovative talent in the drinks industry in this region. The annual ranking is based on the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy, comprising the most knowledgeable and travelled members of the bar industry, drinks media and mixology experts from across Asia. The Academy spans dozens of cities across the continent, reflecting the relative development and importance of bar scenes in different locations and the diversity of the drinking scene in Asia. Asia’s 50 Best Bars, The World’s 50 Best Bars and North America’s 50 Best Bars are owned and organised by William Reed, the group behind The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and The World’s 50 Best Hotels.

About the host destination partner: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is a Government-subvented body. Operating 15 offices around the world and representative offices in seven different markets, its primary mission is to maximise the social and economic contribution that tourism makes to the community of Hong Kong, and consolidate the city’s position as a world- class destination. The HKTB works closely with the Government, travel industry and other partners to promote Hong Kong worldwide, widen the range of tourism products and elevate service standards, as well as enhance the experiences of visitors during their stay.

For more details on Asia’s 50 Best Bars and selection process, please visit:

https://www.worlds50bestbars.com/asia/

Our Partners:

  • Hong Kong Tourism Board – Official Host Partner
  • Perrier – Official Water Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Asia
  • Michter’s – Official American Whiskey Partner; sponsor of Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award
  • Nikka Whisky – Official Whisky of the World Partner; sponsor of Nikka Highest Climber Award and The Best Bar in Malaysia
  • Ketel One – Official Vodka Partner; sponsor of Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award
  • Siete Misterios – Official Mezcal Partner; sponsor of Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu Award
  • The London Essence – Official Mixers Partner; sponsor of London Essence Best New Opening Award
  • Disaronno – Official Italian Liqueur Partner; sponsor of Disaronno Highest New Entry Award
  • Roku Gin – Official Gin Partner; sponsor of Roku Industry Icon Award
  • Altos Tequila – Official Tequila Partner; sponsor of Altos Bartenders’ Bartender
  • Matusalem – Official Rum Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Mainland China and ceremonial scarves
  • Naked Malt – Official Scotch Whisky Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Korea
  • Rémy Martin – Official Cognac Partner; sponsor of Rémy Martin Legend of the List
  • Campari – Official Bitters Partner; sponsor of Campari One To Watch Award
  • Mancino Vermouth – Official Vermouth Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Taiwan and ceremonial shakers
  • Amaro Lucano – Official Amaro Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Indonesia and ceremonial shakers
  • Tia Maria – Official Coffee Liqueur Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Singapore
  • Torres Brandy – Official Brandy Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Japan
  • Scrappy’s Bitters – Official Cocktail Bitters Partner; sponsor of The Best Bar in Thailand
  • Bareksten – Official Aquavit Partner; sponsor of Bareksten Best Bar Design Award
  • Rosewood Hong Kong – Official Hotel and Venue Partner
  • The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong – Official Hotel and Venue Partner
  • Aqua Hong Kong – Official Venue Partner

Images courtesy of Asia’s 50 Best Bars/The World’s 50 Best

KRG Hospitality. Bar Consultant. Nightclub. Lounge. Mixology. Cocktails.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 Reveals 51 to 100

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 Reveals 51 to 100

by David Klemt

The Zest bar team, led by Dohyung "Demie" Kim, in Seoul, South Korea

The bar team at Zest (No. 5, Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023) in Seoul, South Korea, led by Dohyung “Demie” Kim.

As we near the ceremony for the ninth edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, taking place in Hong Kong on July 16, we can congratulate numbers 51 to 100.

Clearly one of the hottest bar markets in the world, Singapore dominates the 51 to 100 list this year. Unsurprisingly, the city-state also featured the most bars on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 51 to 100 list. Interestingly, Singapore boasted eight bars on the list last year, and the same in 2024.

In second place on the expanded list in terms of number of bars is Bangkok. The legendary nightlife city claims six spots on the 2024 51 to 100 ranking.

Seoul, South Korea, is not only home to three barsincluding number 51the city is also the home to Zest. This is noteworthy in part because Dohyung “Demie” Kim is the winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award 2024, one of two awards announced ahead of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024 ceremony.

Kim is the co-founder of Zest, which took home the fifth spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 list. With that ranking, the bar also claimed the title of the Best Bar in Korea. Further, Zest earned number 18 on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2023 list.

On another note, it appears that the we should keep an eye on Tainan City, Taiwan; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Nara, Japan. Each of these cities holds two spots on the 2024 expanded list, a 100-percent increase over 2023. Last year, Lamp Bar, located in Nara, earned spot number 23 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list. It’ll be interesting to see if these cities are represented on the one to 50 list for this year.

On that note, we’ll find out which bars are ranked one to 50 on July 16. Mark your calendars. Cheers!

Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024: 100 to 51

  1. Moonrock (Tainan City, Taiwan)
  2. Drinking & Healing (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
  3. Dry Wave Cocktail Studio (Bangkok, Thailand)
  4. Tell Camellia (Hong Kong, China)
  5. Home (New Delhi, India)
  6. Charles H (Seoul, South Korea)
  7. Wu (Nothingness) (Taipei, Taiwan)
  8. Last Word (Singapore)
  9. Sober Company (Shanghai, China)
  10. The Bamboo Bar (Bangkok, Thailand)
  11. Asia Today (Bangkok, Thailand)
  12. Gong Gan (Seoul, South Korea)
  13. The St. Regis Bar (Jakarta) (Jakarta, Indonesia)
  14. High Five (Tokyo, Japan)
  15. Bulgari Ginza Bar (Tokyo, Japan)
  16. The Sailing Bar (Nara, Japan)
  17. Sidecar (New Delhi, India)
  18. Firefly (Bangkok, Thailand)
  19. Southbank Cafe + Lounge (Muntinlupa City, Philippines)
  20. The Hudson Rooms (Hanoi, Vietnam)
  21. Junglebird (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  22. The Han-jia (Tainan City, Taiwan)
  23. 28 HongKong Street (Singapore)
  24. Cat Bite Club (Singapore)
  25. Gold Bar (Tokyo, Japan)
  26. Bee’s Knees (Kyoto, Japan)
  27. Folklore (Tokyo, Japan)
  28. Opium (Bangkok, Thailand)
  29. Under Lab (Taipei, Taiwan)
  30. The Old Man (Hong Kong, China)
  31. Coley (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  32. Manhattan (Singapore)
  33. Lair (New Delhi, India)
  34. Honky Tonks Tavern (Hong Kong, China)
  35. Mizunara: The Library (Honh Kong, China)
  36. The Elephant Room (Singapore)
  37. Yakoboku (Kumamoto, Japan)
  38. Stay Gold Flamingo (Singapore)
  39. Tropic City (Bangkok, Thailand)
  40. To Infinity & Beyond (Taipei, Taiwan)
  41. No Sleep Club (Singapore)
  42. The Bombay Canteen (Mumbai, India)
  43. Stir (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
  44. Republic (Singapore)
  45. Three X Co (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  46. Lamp Bar (Nara, Japan)
  47. Epic (Shanghai, China)
  48. Tokyo Confidential (Tokyo, Japan)
  49. Backdoor Bodega (Penang, Malaysia)
  50. Soko (Seoul, South Korea)

ASIA’S 50 BEST BARS UNVEILS THE ESTABLISHMENTS VOTED ONTO THE EXTENDED 51-100 LIST FOR 2024

The fourth edition of this prestigious list announces 15 new entries across Asia, with bars from Singapore, Bangkok and Tokyo leading the region

9 July 2024 – Shining the spotlight on an extended collection of bars across the region, Asia’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, releases the prestigious 51st to 100th list for the fourth year running. The ranking is revealed one week ahead of its live awards ceremony in Hong Kong and is created from the overall Asia’s 50 Best Bars voting process, which sees its 265-member strong Academy – consisting of a gender-balanced group of bartenders, bar owners, drinks writers and cocktail aficionados – place independent and anonymous votes for what they believe constitutes a “best bar experience”.

The 51-100 list: A Snapshot

  • This year’s 51-100 list includes 15 new entries from across the region
  • The list comprises bars spanning 19 different cities across Asia
  • Singapore leads with 8 bars on the extended list, among which Cat Bite Club at No.77 is a new entrant
  • Bangkok is represented by 6 bars, while Tokyo follows with 5 places on the list
  • A bar from Muntinlupa City debuts on the list with Southbank Cafe + Lounge at82

For the full 51-100 list, please refer to the accompanying graphic or scroll to the bottom of this release.

Bars from Singapore command eight places on the 51-100 list, with Republic leading the pack at No.57. This ultra-luxe drinking den at the Ritz-Carlton is inspired by the swinging sixties, with a cocktail menu focused on art, cinema, fashion and music. It is followed by No Sleep Club at No.60, which has moved up fourteen places from last year, Stay Gold Flamingo (No.63), The Elephant Room (No.65), and Manhattan (No.69). At No.77, specialising in rice and agave spirits, Cat Bite Club, is a new entrant, while 28 HongKong Street at No.78 and Last Word at No.93 round off Singapore’s showing.

Bangkok follows with six spots on the list, led by Tropic City at No.62 and Opium at No.73. New entrant Firefly, at No.83, is the Sindhorn Kempinski’s lavish lobby bar where whimsical cocktails and live jazz are complemented by a cigar parlour, followed by Asia Today at No.90 and The Bamboo Bar at No.91. Closing Bangkok’s showing at No.98 is another new entrant, Dry Wave Cocktail Studio, which runs a stellar beverage programme of classic and creative libations led by veteran bartender-owner Supawit ‘Palm’ Muttarattana, who formerly helmed Vesper (No.12 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 and No.55 on The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023).

Tokyo maintains a strong showing with five bars on the extended list, starting with new entrants Tokyo Confidential (No.53) and Folklore (No.74). The former is an edgy rooftop craft cocktail bar, while Folklore, a modern minimalist space, spotlights avant-garde sake and shochu cocktails. Gold Bar comes in at No.76, followed by another new entrant, Bulgari Ginza Bar at No.86, which promises an Italian aperitivo experience within Tokyo’s iconic Ginza Tower. High Five (No.87) rounds off Tokyo’s representation on the list.

In Hong Kong, Mizunara: The Library has moved up twenty places to No.66, alongside three other bars on the list: Honky Tonks Tavern, which climbs thirty-one places to No.67; The Old Man at No.71; and Tell Camellia at No.97. Topping the 51-100 list is Seoul’s Soko at No.51, followed by new entrant Gong Gan at No.89, a bar housed in a traditional Korean home reimagined with modern design elements and a focus on upcycling. At No.95, Charles H from Seoul rounds off the city’s representation.

Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi and Taipei boast three spots each on the list. From Kuala Lumpur, Three X Co ascends twenty-one places to No.56 and is followed by Coley (No.70) and Junglebird (No.80). While in New Delhi, the modern speakeasy Lair (No.68) is a new entrant, followed by regulars on the list Sidecar (No.84) and Home (No.96). To Infinity & Beyond leads Taipei’s representation at No.61, followed by two new entries, the laboratory-like cocktail den, Under Lab at No.72 and the offbeat, ‘classic cocktails only’ Wu (Nothingness) at No.94.

Ho Chi Minh City, Nara, Shanghai, and Tainan each occupy two spots on the extended list. From the Vietnamese capital, Stir rises twenty-four places to No.58, followed by Drinking & Healing at No.99, a new entrant boasting ‘industrial chic’ interiors and cocktails with local ingredients. Nara is represented by Lamp Bar (No.55) and The Sailing Bar (No.85), which has ascended three places. In Shanghai, Epic moves up sixteen places to No.54, followed by Sober Company, re-entering the rankings at No.92. The Han-jia from Tainan is a new entrant at No.79, offering a luxurious space with industrial design elements, a global whisky selection, and inventive cocktails; and Moonrock rounds off the list at No.100.

Several destinations are represented on the extended list with one bar each. From Penang, Backdoor Bodega re-enters the rankings at No.52, while The Bombay Canteen from Mumbai comes in at No.59. Kumamoto’s Yakoboku ascends twenty places to No.64; Kyoto’s Bee’s Knees is at No.75, and The Hudson Rooms – the 1920s-inspired oyster and cocktail den on the rooftop of The Capella in Hanoi – is a new addition at No.81. In Indonesia, a new entrant from Jakarta, The St. Regis Bar (No.88) enters the list for its New York-inspired signature cocktails paired with a live jazz band and ultra-luxe interiors.

Marking its debut on the rankings is Muntinlupa City in the Philippines, with Southbank Cafe + Lounge (No.82) – a self-proclaimed ‘drinking room’ that focuses on technique-heavy cocktails within a Melbourne-inspired space.

Emma Sleight, Head of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, says: “We are thrilled to welcome this diverse cohort of bars on the 51-100 list as part of this year’s 50 Best rankings. Since introducing the extended list in 2021, we have been consistently impressed by the innovative drinking experiences Asia has to offer, and it is beyond exciting to see the large number of new entries and new destinations that have made the list this year. With this recognition, we are hopeful that more bar talent will step forward annually, creating fresh and dynamic cocktail experiences for enthusiasts across the region.”

50 Best works with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner to help protect the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2024. See more details on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars voting process here.

The ninth edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, will be announced at a live awards ceremony in Hong Kong on 16 July 2024 and is hosted in collaboration with destination partner Hong Kong Tourism Board. The awards ceremony will also be streamed live on the 50 Best Facebook channel via the link here and the YouTube channel via the link here. The announcement of the list and individual awards can be followed via the 50 Best social media channels, with the livestream beginning at 20:25 Hong Kong time/13:25 UK time.

Asia's 50 Best Bars 2024, 51 to 100 chart

About Asia’s 50 Best Bars

Asia’s 50 Best Bars is the first regional event of The World’s 50 Best Bars brand, created in 2016 with the purpose of showcasing the best and most innovative talent in the drinks industry in this region. The annual ranking is based on the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy, comprising the most knowledgeable and well-travelled members of the bar industry, drinks media and mixology experts from across Asia. The Academy spans dozens of cities across the continent, reflecting the relative development and importance of bar scenes in different locations and the diversity of the drinking scene in Asia. Asia’s 50 Best Bars, The World’s 50 Best Bars and North America’s 50 Best Bars are owned and organised by William Reed, the group behind The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and The World’s 50 Best Hotels.

About the host destination partner: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is a Government-subvented body. Operating 15 offices around the world and representative offices in seven different markets, its primary mission is to maximise the social and economic contribution that tourism makes to the community of Hong Kong, and consolidate the city’s position as a world- class destination. The HKTB works closely with the Government, travel industry and other partners to promote Hong Kong worldwide, widen the range of tourism products and elevate service standards, as well as enhance the experiences of visitors during their stay.

For more details on Asia’s 50 Best Bars and selection process, please visit: https://www.worlds50bestbars.com/asia/

Image:

KRG Hospitality. Bar Consultant. Nightclub. Lounge. Mixology. Cocktails.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Cheers to the 2024 Tales Catalysts!

Cheers to the 2024 Tales Catalyst Honorees!

by David Klemt

Please join us in congratulating this year’s Tales Catalyst honorees, announced this week by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.

In addition to unveiling the 2024 Tales of the Cocktail agenda, and revealing the top four Spirited Awards finalists, Tales is recognizing two industry leaders as Tales Catalysts.

Becky Paskin, an award-winning whisky journalist, consultant, and presenter, and chief curating officer for Pictures and Cocktails LLC, Keyatta Mincey Parker, are this year’s honorees.

Both Paskin and Mincey Parker are being recognized, in large part, for their commitment to community, inclusivity, equity, and innovation. That’s to say nothing of the education they provide to others in the industry.

To learn more about Paskin and Mincey Parker, including their contributions to the industry, please review the official press release below.

Cheers!

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES TALES CATALYST HONOREES

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation names Becky Paskin and Keyatta Mincey Parker as this year’s Tales Catalysts, continuing a 12-year tradition of championing leading industry members who represent marginalized groups and foster meaningful change within their communities

NEW ORLEANS, LA (June 26, 2024) — Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) is pleased to announce the 2024 Tales Catalyst honorees, recognizing members of the cocktail community who are elevating the industry to greater heights. The 2024 International Honoree is Becky Paskin and the U.S. Honoree is Keyatta Mincey Parker, presented by Diageo Bar Academy. Tales Catalysts reflects a more inclusive and intersectional space for recognizing and celebrating leaders in the industry, solely for their contributions to making the drinks industry a more inclusive space – without barriers of gender or identity. Tales Catalyst, in partnership with SevenFifty Daily and Beverage Media (Provi publications), the official Tales Catalyst media partners, will take place during Tales of the Cocktail® on Tuesday, July 23 at 3:00 PM, at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans. The event will feature speeches by the honorees followed by a cocktail hour, with this year’s honorees speaking to their unique vision and personal efforts in fostering inclusivity in the drinks industry.

“I am overjoyed to see these new Catalyst Award recipients being honored at Tales of the Cocktail,” said Catalyst Co-Chair Tiffanie Barriere. “Their innovative contributions and consistent dedication to advancing the cocktail and spirits industry set them apart as true pioneers. Each recipient has demonstrated an exceptional ability to inspire, educate, and elevate our community, making profound impacts through their creativity and commitment. Their recognition is not only well-deserved but also a testament to the future and innovation of our craft.”

This year’s honorees were selected from a pool of over 100 qualified applicants and carefully chosen by Tales Catalyst Committee Members.

“Our two honorees are the definition of community builders. Each a Catalyst in their own way,” said Catalyst Co-Chair Robin Nance. “Keyatta has created and cultivated a space for her community and continues to expand and elevate what is possible. Becky took her disappointment and frustration and created a space that celebrates women in a category that often leaves them out of the conversation. They are both incredibly deserving and I can’t wait to honor them in July!”

Guests are invited to celebrate this year’s Tales Catalyst Honorees during Tales of the Cocktail® on Tuesday, July 23 at 3:00 PM. For those who are interested in attending, tickets may be purchased on the TOTCF website.

2024 Catalyst Honorees:

2024 Catalyst International Honoree:

Becky Paskin

Becky Paskin is an award-winning whisky journalist, presenter, and consultant, and founder of the OurWhisky Foundation. Formerly editor of leading online magazine Scotchwhisky.com and global trade title The Spirits Business, her writing appears in a variety of publications from Club Oenologique and Waitrose to Whisky Magazine and the Daily Beast. She is a regular drinks presenter for television and radio, including ITV’s Love Your Weekend and This Morning, and regularly presents educational seminars at global drinks festivals.

Becky is an advocate for equality and inclusion within the global whisky industry; her work has led her to being named Icons of Whisky Communicator of the Year, IWSC Spirits Communicator of the Year, SevenFifty Daily’s Drinks Innovator of the Year, and listed as About Time Magazine’s Top 10 Women to Watch in Drinks. She is also a Keeper of the Quaich and has been named one of the 50 most influential people in the global drinks industry by Drinks International for the past four years.

2024 Catalyst U.S. Honoree:

Keyatta Mincey Parker

Keyatta Mincey Parker, a prominent figure in the spirits and cocktails industry, serves as the Chief Curating Officer at Pictures and Cocktails LLC. With over two decades of experience in the food service and hospitality sector, she brings a unique blend of expertise, merging her knowledge from hotels, fine dining, dynamic dance clubs, and her rich Liberian heritage. Recognized by Thrillist and Tastemakers as a must-know bartender and one of the Top 50 Bartenders in the South, Keyatta has garnered attention from prestigious publications such as Forbes, Food and Wine, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Southern Living Magazine.

Collaborating with influential spirit brands, chefs, celebrities, and farmers, Keyatta Mincey Parker is known for creating visually stunning and innovative cocktails. As the driving force behind Pictures and Cocktails, she designs bespoke cocktails and experiences. Additionally, she is the Founder and Executive Director of A Sip of Paradise Garden, a non-profit community garden for bartenders and hospitality professionals in Atlanta.

Keyatta’s impressive repertoire includes crafting the celebratory cocktail for the Liberian Olympic National Team, which has been adopted as the team’s official drink. She has been inducted into the Atlanta chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and recognized as a member of Wine Enthusiast’s 2023 Future 40. Recently, she joined the board of Slow Foods Atlanta, aiming to expand her influence from the creative side of food to food justice, advocating for clean, fair, and healthy food for all.

As an esteemed speaker, Keyatta addresses topics such as philanthropy, community building, mental health, gardening, agriculture, black land ownership, equity in hospitality, and women in leadership. Despite her diverse interests, her passion for cocktails remains a constant focal point.

Tales Catalyst Partners

Catalyst is proud to share its presenting, supporting, and media partners, who help make the 2024 Tales Catalyst possible. Tales Catalyst 2024 is presented by Diageo Bar Academy with support from Don Q Rum, Korbel, Laird & Co, and Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic. Thank you to the Official Water of TOTC2024: Maison Perrier. The official Tales Catalyst Media Partner for 2024 is Provi.

Tales of the Cocktail® 2024

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that educates, advances, and supports the global hospitality industry and creates lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance, and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events. This year, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation hosts its 22-year anniversary Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference in New Orleans from July 21-26, 2024, and will celebrate the theme of “Inspire.”

For more information on Tales of the Cocktail or Tales Catalyst, please visit the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

ABOUT TALES OF THE COCKTAIL FOUNDATION:

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that educates, advances, and supports the global hospitality industry and creates lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance, and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events. This year, TOTCF hosts its 22nd Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference in New Orleans from July 21-26, 2024, and celebrates the theme Inspire.

ABOUT SEVENFIFTY DAILY AND BEVERAGE MEDIA GROUP:

SevenFifty Daily is an award-winning online magazine about the business and culture of the beverage alcohol industry. Beverage Media Group contains a network of national, market-specific publications with industry insights and printed distributor pricing by region. Covering the three tiers of the alcohol industry, the publications connect a global community of drinks professionals, creating a space that fosters conversation and a platform for showcasing the people and ideas moving the industry forward. Both SevenFifty Daily and Beverage Media Group are Provi publications.

Image: 2023 Tales Catalysts event by Rush Jagoe

KRG Hospitality. Bar Consultant. Nightclub. Lounge. Mixology. Cocktails.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The 2024 Spirited Awards: Top 4 Finalists

The 2024 Spirited Awards: Top 4 Finalists

by David Klemt

AI-generated image of the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award on top of a bar, next to a cocktail

This is what Shutterstock’s AI think a Spirited Award looks like. At least the spelling is accurate.

We’re excited to share the top finalists in each of the 2024 Spirited Awards categories, announced by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.

It’s a monumental task to come up with the top-ten nominees, I’m certain. So, I can only imagine what it’s like to remove six well-deserving nominees from each category.

As regular readers of KRG Hospitality probably know by now, I do have a bit of bias for venues and industry pros in Las Vegas, New Orleans, Chicago, and basically the entirety of Canada. The same can be said for Bar Hacks podcast guests.

However, I’m just excited to see such amazing people, venues, and outlets receive Spirited Awards recognition. This time around, I’ll keep my bar biases to myself.

With that said, we do know four of this year’s recipients already. We’ll learn who took home the rest of the awards on Thursday, July 25.

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award presented by William Grant & Sons
  • Hidetsugu Ueno
Timeless International Award presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation
  • Café Pacifico — London, UK
Timeless U.S. Award presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation
  • The Buena Vista — San Francisco, CA
Tales Visionary Award Presented by Johnnie Walker
  • Colin Asare-Appiah

Congratulations to the winners above, and cheers to the finalists below!

US Categories

US Bartender of the Year presented by Pernod Ricard

  • McLain Hedges — Yacht Club, Denver, CO
  • Christine Kim — Service Bar, Washington, D.C.
  • Kapri Robinson — Allegory, Washington, D.C.
  • Masa Urushido — Katana Kitten, New York, NY

Best US Bar Mentor presented Jameson Irish Whiskey

  • Anu Apte
  • Jason Asher
  • Kate Gerwin
  • Alex Jump

Best US Brand Ambassador presented Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Tad Carducci — Gruppo Montenegro
  • Benny Hurwitz — Campari American Whiskeys
  • Anna Mains — Monkey Shoulder
  • Natasha Sofia — Mijenta Tequila

Best US Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons

  • Century Grand — Phoenix, AZ
  • Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA
  • Pacific Cocktail Haven — San Francisco, CA
  • Service Bar — Washington, D.C.

Best US Cocktail Bar presented by Del Maguey Mezcal

  • Double Chicken Please — New York, NY
  • Happy Accidents — Albuquerque, NM
  • Overstory — New York, NY
  • Yacht Club — Denver, CO

Best US Hotel Bar presented by Grey Goose

  • Allegory at the Eaton Hotel — Washington, D.C.
  • Little Rituals at the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott — Phoenix, AZ
  • Pacific Standard at the KEX Portland — Portland, OR
  • The Sazerac Bar at The Roosevelt New Orleans — New Orleans, LA

Best US Restaurant Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Cleaver – Butchered Meats, Seafood & Classic Cocktails — Las Vegas, NV
  • Jaguar Sun — Miami, FL
  • Kumiko — Chicago, IL
  • Palomar — Portland, OR

Best New US Cocktail Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Cobra — Columbus, OH
  • Medium Cool Cocktail Lounge — Miami Beach, FL
  • Paradise Lost — New York, NY
  • Superbueno — New York, NY

International Categories

International Bartender of the Year presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Lorenzo Antinori — Bar Leone, Hong Kong, China
  • Kate Boushel — Atwater Cocktail Club, Milky Way Cocktail Bar, Bon Délire, Montreal, QC, Canada
  • Eric van Beek — Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Luke Whearty — BYRDI, Melbourne, Australia

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Ryan Chetiyawardana
  • Iain McPherson
  • Danil Nevsky
  • Christina Veira

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Claudia Cabrera — Fratelli Branca
  • Jesse Estes —Tequila Ocho
  • Caitlin Hill — Rémy Cointreau
  • Dave Mitton — Lot 40 / J.P. Wiser’s

Best International Bar Team presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Handshake Speakeasy — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Hanky Panky — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel — Singapore
  • Panda & Sons — Edinburgh, Scotland

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by PATRÓN Tequila

  • 🔶🟥🔵— London, UK
  • ALQUÍMICO — Cartagena des Indias, Colombia
  • Handshake Speakeasy — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Satan’s Whiskers — London, UK

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Fords Gin

  • ARGO at the Four Seasons — Hong Kong, China
  • BKK Social Club at Four Seasons Bangkok — Bangkok, Thailand
  • Charles H. at the Four Seasons Hotel — Seoul, South Korea
  • Side Hustle at The NoMad Hotel London — London, UK

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Gin Mare

  • ARCA Tulum — Tulum, Mexico
  • Bar Kismet — Halifax, NS, Canada
  • Burnt Ends Bar — Singapore
  • Danico — Paris, France

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Bar Leone — Hong Kong, China
  • Bar Nouveau — Paris, France
  • Bar Us — Bangkok, Thailand
  • Cat Bite Club — Singapore

Global Categories

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Don Fulano 20th Anniversary Añejo
  • J. Rieger & Co. Monogram Whiskey 2023 Kansas City Whiskey – Solera Reserve
  • Worthy Park 109
  • YUZUCO Yuzu Super Juice

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Allegory at the Eaton Hotel — Washington, D.C.
  • ALQUÍMICO — Cartagena des Indias, Colombia
  • Handshake Speakeasy — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel — Singapore

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Baba Au Rum — Athens, Greece
  • Eleven Madison Park — New York, NY
  • Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library — Portland, OR
  • Origin Bar at the Shangri-La Hotel — Singapore

Writing & Media Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • CLASS magazine
  • SevenFifty Daily
  • The Cocktail Lovers
  • The Spirits Business

Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Bartender At Large
  • Like•a•ble Cocktails by Kaitlyn
  • Perspectives by Campari Academy
  • Radio Imbibe

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • “A New Spirit Confronts the Consequences of Colonialism,” by Adaorah Oduah, for Punch
  • “Facing Rum’s Problematic Past Is Allowing Producers to Embrace the Spirit’s Future,” by Christine Sismondo, for Imbibe
  • “Indigenous Women Working in Mezcal Are Ready to Be Recognized for Their Work,” by Shayna Conde, for Wine Enthusiast
  • “Meet the People Keeping Queer Bars Safe,” by Rax Will, for Punch

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Slow Drinks: A Field Guide to Foraging and Fermenting Seasonal Sodas, Botanical Cocktails, Homemade Wines, and More by Danny Childs
  • The Book of Cocktail Ratios: The Surprising Simplicity of Classic Cocktails by Michael Ruhlman
  • The Ice Book: Cool Cubes, Clear Spheres, and Other Chill Cocktail Crafts by Camper English
  • TROPICAL STANDARD: Cocktail Techniques and Reinvented Recipes by Garret Richard & Ben Schaffer

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • How to Taste: A Guide to Discovering Flavor and Savoring Life by Mandy Naglich
  • ICE: From Mixed Drinks to Skating Rinks–a Cool History of a Hot Commodity by Amy Brady
  • Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs, and Juice: A Cocktail Recipe Book Cocktails from Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks by Toni Tipton-Martin
  • The Maison Premiere Almanac Cocktails, Oysters, Absinthe, and Other Essential Nutrients for the Sensualist, Aesthete, and Flaneur: A Cocktail Recipe Book by Joshua Boissy, Krystof Zizka, Jordan Mackay, William Eilliott

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES 2024 SPIRITED AWARDS® TOP FOUR FINALISTS

The 18th annual Spirited Awards® celebrates global excellence in the drinks industry and recognizes professionals, organizations, and establishments shaping the cocktail community

NEW ORLEANS, LA (June 17, 2024) — Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) is honored to announce the Top Four Finalists for the 18th annual Spirited Awards®. Since its founding in 2007, the Spirited Awards® has become one of the industry’s most revered awards, recognizing beverage professionals, products, and establishments across every facet of the spirits and cocktail community on a global scale. In partnership with Forbes, the Spirited Awards® official media partner, TOTCF will honor recipients during the Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference, which is celebrating its 22nd-year in New Orleans from July 21-26, 2024.

The Spirited Awards® are comprised of industry accolades, both domestic and international, writing and media awards, and overall awards that transcend regionality, including World’s Best Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu. Today, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is proud to announce the Top Four finalists of each category, in addition to the recipients of the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award, Timeless U.S. and International Awards, and the Tales Visionary Award. The awards categories spotlight a range of talent from bartenders, journalists, brand ambassadors, and industry luminaries, to brands and media, to ensure each aspect of the industry is represented and recognized for its incomparable contributions.

“It is with immense pleasure that we celebrate those propelling the cocktail industry forward and amplifying their craft within their respective communities,” said Charlotte Voisey, Spirited Awards® Overall Chair. “We are honored to announce our Top Four Finalists for the 2024 Spirited Awards and recognize the incredibly talented individuals receiving the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award, Timeless U.S. and International Awards, and the Tales Visionary Award. Their love-affair with hospitality and dedication to advancing the industry is awe-inspiring. We are excited to celebrate and honor them at the 18th annual Spirited Awards.”

[See above for the top-four finalists in each category.]

The 18th Annual Spirited Awards® Ceremony

The 18th annual Spirited Awards® Ceremony will be celebrated on July 25, 2024, at the Fillmore New Orleans. For those who are interested in attending the Spirited Awards®, two tiers of tickets are now available – Spirited Awards® Ceremony Side Seating and Spirited Awards® Ceremony Stadium Seating. Additional information and to purchase tickets, please visit the Spirited Awards® website.

Spirited Awards® Judges

Below is a list of Spirited Awards® Chairs, responsible for overseeing the judging process this year:

  • Spirited Awards® Overall Chair
    • Charlotte Voisey
  • Asia Pacific Co-Chairs
    • Sam Bygrave
    • Andrew Ho
    • Symphony Loo
    • Charmaine Thio
  • Canada Co-Chairs
    • Kate Boushel
    • Jonathan Smolensky
  • Europe Co-Chairs
    • Stephanie Jordan
    • Roberta Mariani
  • Latin America & Caribbean Co-Chairs
    • Carlos Aguinsky
    • Georgina Barbachano García
  • Middle East & Africa Co-Chairs
    • Stephen “KOJO” Aidoo
    • Caitlin Hill
    • Nana Sechere
  • U.S. Central Co-Chairs
    • Joshua Gandee
    • Lynn M. House
  • U.S. East Co-Chairs
    • Jackson Cannon
    • Jaymee Mandeville
  • U.S. West Co-Chairs
    • Jason Asher
    • Erin Schaeferle
  • Timeless Co-Chairs
    • Jared Brown
    • Anistatia Miller
  • Writing & Media Co-Chairs
    • Ryan Chetiyawardana
    • Emma Janzen
    • Sandrae Lawrence

Spirited Awards® judges are a collection of respected bartenders, bar owners, educators, and writers from across the globe entrusted with this critical calling. Drawing on their years of experience and their knowledge of the current work being done locally, nationally, and internationally, together the judges can evaluate nominees from far and wide to ensure that the Spirited Awards® represents the breadth and diversity of the global drinks industry.

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Spirited Awards® Committee is dedicated to valuing the inclusion of the communities the foundation serves, by ensuring that our judging panel reflects their incredible diversity in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality. Recognizing that inclusion is key to a well-represented committee, TOTCF strives to ensure that we have an equitable representation of gender across the judging panel. The Spirited Awards® are not based on popular vote and all nominations are evaluated by their respective judging committees.

Spirited Awards® Directory

Tales of the Cocktail is pleased to share the Spirited Awards® Directory giving discerning imbibers a comprehensive compendium of all Spirited Awards® winners and nominees from the past 18 years. This resource is updated annually, making it a go-to guide for planning the perfect drinking and dining itinerary. Access Spirited Awards® Directory to explore award-winning bars.

A Special Thanks: Spirited Awards® Sponsors

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation would like to thank all of its Spirited Awards® sponsors: Del Maguey Mezcal, Diageo Bar Academy, Fords Gin, G. H. Mumm Champagne, Gin Mare, Grey Goose, House of Lustau, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Johnnie Walker, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic, PATRÓN Tequila, Pernod Ricard, and William Grant & Sons.

To follow along for additional information on the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, please visit the website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

About Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that educates, advances, and supports the global hospitality industry and creates lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance, and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events.

About Forbes

Forbes champions success by celebrating those who have made it, and those who aspire to make it. Forbes convenes and curates the most influential leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving change, transforming business and making a significant impact on the world. The Forbes brand today reaches more than 140 million people worldwide through its trusted journalism, signature LIVE and Forbes Virtual events, custom marketing programs and 42 licensed local editions in 68 countries. Forbes Media’s brand extensions include real estate, education and financial services license agreements.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform.

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Happy Hundredth to the Caesar Salad!

Happy Hundredth to the Caesar Salad!

by David Klemt

AI-generated image of a Caesar salad in a bowl on a table with a birthday cake on top of it

AI generated some truly unhinged abominations before creating this image.

In about a month you and your kitchen team have the opportunity to pull out all the stops and celebrate an iconic menu item with your guests.

Whereas it’s often difficult to impossible, in contrast, to trace the origins of classic cocktails, we know much of the history of this particular dish. Driven by a restaurant in Tijuana, the Caesar salad will receive recognition on its hundredth “birthday” on July 4.

Or, more accurately, Caesar’s Restaurante Bar is planning a festival to celebrate the salad during the first week of July.

Given the attention this festival is receiving, savvy operators can also plan promotions around the Caesar salad.

Origins: Known

First, let’s get one of the greatest misconceptions surround this salad out of the way. No, it’s not named for Julius Caesar.

Next, let’s dispel another myth. No, the Caesar salad wasn’t around in Rome during Caesar’s reign. Well over two thousand years separate his five-year rule and the creation of this salad.

Rather, the salad carries the name, quite simply, of its creator, Cesare Cardini.

In 1913, Cardini traveled to New York City, and then headed to Montréal. He would return to Italy eventually, then come back to the US in 1919.

Before heading to Tijuana, Cardini ran at least one restaurant in Sacramento. Per reporting, he chose Tijuanawhere he operated several restaurants and a hotelto get around Prohibition.

Cardini’s daughter Rosa shared the salad’s story in 1987 with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. According to Rosa, an overwhelming number of guests arrived at her father’s hotel a hundred years ago. Of course, these guests also slammed the restaurant.

Cardini didn’t have enough fresh veggies to feed everyone, so he chose to improvise. Part of that improvisation was putting on a performance, preparing the first-ever Caesar salad in the dining room in front of the guests.

So, tableside is the traditional, original preparation, an interesting detail.

More Misconceptions

The Caesar, in its original preparation, consists of a handful of specific ingredients. Cardini used romaine hearts, eggs, lemons, Worcestershire sauce, garlic-infused oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, and croutons.

However, per Rosa, it’s not just the namesake of the salad and its country of origin that people get incorrect. You’ll notice that anchovies aren’t among the ingredients. Neither are mayonnaise or Dijon mustard. And as far as the finer details, Rosa told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that her father didn’t use raw eggs. Instead, they had been coddled, or boiled for one minute.

Another mistake for which Rosa expressed her disdain is tableside preppers putting all of the ingredients into a bowl at the same time to toss them. There’s a proper order, and you’ll find it at the bottom of this article.

Finally, Rosa noted that the appropriate method of tossing the romaine hearts is to use a gentle, under-over rolling technique. This approach prevents bruising of the leaves when done correctly.

Now, guests visiting bars and restaurants in America will have expectations on the Fourth of July. It’s likely that celebrating the Caesar salad isn’t one of them. So, operators should consider promoting their Caesars in the days before and just after that major holiday.

The Original

Below, the proper order to prepare a traditional Caesar salad, per Rosa Cardini. Following the instructions will yield four servings.

I’m going to skip the steps of making the garlic-infused oil and croutons in house.

  1. The hearts (outer leaves removed) of two medium romaine lettuce heads  should be cold and crisp. These can be kept whole or broken into two-inch lengths.
  2. Pour four ounces of the infused oil over the leaves, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  3. Using the aforementioned proper technique, toss the leaves two or three times.
  4. Break the coddlednot raweggs over the leaves. Add eight to ten drops of Worcestershire sauce along with the juice of two lemons. Again, toss two or three times.
  5. Add six to eight tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and a half-cup of croutons (made with day-old white bread and a touch of the infused oil, traditionally), and toss again.
  6. Serve on chilled salad plates.

There you have it. The original preparation.

According to Rosa, many guests simply picked up the leaves and ate them like slices of toast. Today’s guests will likely prefer a fork, but that’s an interesting note.

Of course, people enjoy putting their spin on this classic dish. In particular, adding all manner of proteins is a popular way to personalize a Caesar salad.

Recently, I tried a Caesar to which Everything But the Bagel seasoning had been added. Not bad.

Given its adaptability, it could be a good idea to create an LTO Caesar menu with the original at the top, along with two or three variations.

And, hey, while you’re at it, consider offering a Caesar cocktail (another very customizable item) alongside the Caesar salad. Why not?

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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The World’s Best Restaurant: 2024

Barcelona is Home to the 2024 World’s Best Restaurant

by David Klemt

Plénitude restaurant in Paris, France, number 18 on the 2024 World's 50 Best Restaurants list

Plénitude restaurant in Paris, France, number 18 on the 2024 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Winner of the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award 2024.

Revealed at an awards ceremony hosted by Wynn Las Vegas, The World’s Best Restaurant—and The Best Restaurant in Europe—is located in Barcelona, Spain.

Helmed by three incredible chefs, Disfrutar earned the number-one spot on the 2024 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Providing a hint of what guests can expect, the restaurant’s name translates to “Enjoy.”

Interestingly, the trio of chefsOriol Castro, Mateu Casañas and Eduard Xatruchwere members of the senior creative team at El Bulli. To provide a measure of context, El Bulli clinched the top spot on the very first World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2002. The legendary restaurant would go on to earn number one again in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

So, it’s not a stretch to say that when Chefs Oriol, Casañas, and Xatruch opened Disfrutar in 2014, the restaurant world expected amazing achievements. By 2018, the three chefs led their restaurant to a debut on the 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking, finding themselves at number 18. Just a year later, Disfrutar reached number nine on the list.

For our Canadian and American readers, I’m going to reveal two bits of news now. First, there are no Canadian restaurants on this year’s top 50 list. That means that taken together with the expanded, 51 to 100 ranking, Canada is a no-show.

Second, only two American restaurants landed among the 50 best restaurants in the world. One is in New York, the other, California. There are three other American restaurantstwo in New York City and one in Chicagoon the expanded list. However, a Los Angeles restaurant, Kato, bagged the Resy One To Watch Award 2024.

In contrast, Mexico City is home to three restaurants in the top 50, as Lima and Tokyo. Paris and Bangkok each boast four restaurants, grabbing the most spots.

Salud to Disfrutar, and cheers to every restaurant team that earned their way onto the 2024 list!

World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024: 50 to 11

  1. Uliassi (Senigallia, Ancona, Italy)
  2. La Colombe (Cape Town, South Africa)(New entry)
  3. Hiša Franko (Kobarid, Gorizia, Slovenia)
  4. Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Graubünden, Switzerland)
  5. SingleThread (Healdsburg, California, US)(Re-entry)
  6. Arpège (Paris, Île-de-France, France)(Re-entry)
  7. Mingles (Seoul, South Korea)(New entry)
  8. Nobelhart & Schmutzig (Berlin, Germany)(Sustainable Restaurant Award 2024)
  9. Ikoyi Restaurant St. James’s (London, England, UK)
  10. Mayta (Lima, Peru)
  11. Le Du (Bangkok, Thailand)
  12. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Piedmont, Italy)
  13. Sorn (Bangkok, Thailand)(Re-entry)
  14. Oteque (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)(Re-entry)
  15. The Jane (Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium)
  16. Frantzén (Stockholm, Södermanland and Uppland, Sweden)
  17. Rosetta (Mexico City, Mexico)
  18. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
  19. Den (Tokyo, Kantō, Japan)
  20. Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)
  21. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
  22. Boragó (Santiago, Chile)
  23. Elkano (Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain)
  24. A Casa do Porco (São Paulo, Brazil)(The World’s Best Female Chef 2024: Chef Janaína Torres)
  25. The Chairman (Hong Kong)(Highest Climber Award 2024)
  26. El Chato (Bogotá, Distrito Capital, Colombia)
  27. Odette (Singapore)
  28. Sühring (Bangkok, Thailand)(Re-entry)
  29. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)
  30. Floriège (Tokyo, Kantō, Japan)
  31. Wing (Hong Kong)(New entry)(Highest New Entry Award 2024)
  32. Reale (Castel di Sangro, L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy)
  33. Plénitude (Paris, France)(Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award 2024)
  34. Kol (London, England, UK)
  35. Kjolle (Lima, Peru)
  36. Sézanne (Tokyo, Kantō, Japan)
  37. Quique Dacosta (Dénia, Alicante, Spain)
  38. Trèsind Studio (Dubai, UAE)
  39. Lido 84 (Gardone Riviera, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy)
  40. Septime (Paris, France)

World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 10 to 1

  1. Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina)(Beronia World’s Best Sommelier Award 2024: Pablo Rivero)
  2. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
  3. Alchemist (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  4. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)
  5. Atomix (New York City, New York, US)
  6. Maido (Lima, Peru)(Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award 2024: Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura)
  7. Diverxo (Madrid, Spain)
  8. Table by Bruno Verjus (Paris, France)
  9. Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Biscay, Spain)
  10. Disfrutar (Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain)

DISFRUTAR, BARCELONA, IS NAMED NO.1 IN THE LIST OF THE WORLD’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS 2024

  • Disfrutar in Barcelona is named The Best Restaurant in Europe and The World’s Best Restaurant 2024, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna
  • Announced this evening at an awards ceremony in Las Vegas, the 2024 ranking includes restaurants from 26 territories in five continents worldwide and introduces three restaurants making their list debut
  • Neil Perry, original founder of Rockpool Group in Australia and current chef-owner of Margaret in Sydney, receives the Woodford Reserve Icon Award
  • Paris-based Nina Métayer wins The World’s Best Pastry Chef Award 2024, sponsored by Sosa
  • The Beronia World’s Best Sommelier Award 2024 is presented to Pablo Rivero of Don Julio, Buenos Aires
  • Wing in Hong Kong earns the Highest New Entry Award
  • The Highest Climber Award, sponsored by Highstreet World, goes to The Chairman, Hong Kong
  • Nobelhart & Schmutzig in Berlin is announced as the winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award
  • Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura from Maido in Lima receives the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award 2024

5 June 2024 – The world of gastronomy came together in the neon-lit city of Las Vegas in the United States this evening to celebrate and recognise The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, with Barcelona’s Disfrutar named The World’s Best Restaurant and The Best Restaurant in Europe. The awards ceremony, hosted at Wynn Las Vegas, honours the very best gastronomic talent from 26 territories across five continents.

Disfrutar, the Barcelona restaurant run by the skilled chef trio of Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas, is named The World’s Best Restaurant 2024, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua
Panna, succeeding the 2023 winner, Central in Lima, which now enjoys an elevated position in the Best of the Best hall of fame

Ranked at No.2 in the 2023 list, Disfrutar is famed for modern techniques and beautiful ingredients, resulting in an experience that subverts traditional fine dining in a completely surprising way. The tasting menu showcases a Mediterranean identity with avant-garde flavours to deliver daring contemporary food that is truly thought-provoking. Disfrutar is followed in the ranking by Asador Etxebarri (No.2) in Atxondo and Table by Bruno Verjus (No.3) in Paris.

William Drew, Director of Content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, comments: “It is with great excitement that we announce the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, and honour the iconoclastic Disfrutar as The World’s Best Restaurant. The team, led by Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas, has shown extraordinary dedication to its craft, amazing and delighting diners with every dish on its extensive menu. This year sees the culinary community celebrate a truly global list featuring restaurants across 26 territories, demonstrating that the appetite for diversity and excellence in hospitality shows no sign of waning.”

Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura, the chef-owner of Maido in Lima, wins the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award 2024, the only award to be voted for by his peers, in light of his dedication to putting Peru onto the world culinary stage, evidenced by Maido’s position as No.1 on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2023.

Australian chef and restaurateur Neil Perry – whose restaurant portfolio has included the legendary Rockpool Bar & Grill, Rosetta and Spice Temple, as well as his latest venture, Margaret – has enjoyed a career spanning more than 45 years and is now rewarded with the Woodford Reserve Icon Award. Perry is arguably his country’s most influential chef and is known for his visionary interpretations of Modern Australian and Asian cuisines.

Nina Métayer is named The World’s Best Pastry Chef 2024, sponsored by Sosa. Métayer’s sculptural creations have garnered attention the world over and her beautiful work is inspiring a new generation of pastry chefs.

Restaurants from four new cities have entered or re-entered the list, with La Colombe in Cape Town (No.49), SingleThread in Healdsburg (No.46), Oteque in Rio de Janeiro (No.37), and Mingles in Seoul (No.44), showing the awards’ ever-expanding international footprint in recognising the best restaurants across the globe.

Based in Hong Kong, chef Vicky Cheng’s Wing (No.20) is recognised with the Highest New Entry Award 2024, and The Chairman (No.26) – also in Hong Kong – bags the Highest Climber Award 2024, sponsored by Highstreet World. The Chairman moves up 24 spots from the 2023 list and was also recognised as The Best Restaurant in Hong Kong by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024.

The Beronia World’s Best Sommelier Award is presented to Pablo Rivero, sommelier and owner of Don Julio, Buenos Aires. Previously recognised as Latin America’s Best Sommelier 2022 as part of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, Rivero is known for his championing of the region’s wine and his thoughtful pairings with local produce.

Berlin’s Nobelhart & Schmutzig (No.43) is announced as the winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award, in recognition of its unerring advocacy for better agricultural policies and the voices of producers. Its ‘brutally local’ ethos is testament to its personal relationships with farmers and growers, allowing the team to offer a truly regional and seasonal menu.

The evening also celebrated those honoured with pre-announced special awards. These included: Champions of Change winners Jessica Rosval and Caroline Caporossi – founders of Roots in Modena, a social enterprise restaurant that hosts a training programme for migrant women – and João Diamante of Diamantes Na Cozinha in Rio de Janeiro, founder of a culinary initiative which creates opportunities for young people in vulnerable situations; Janaína Torres, winner of The World’s Best Female Chef Award; Plénitude in Paris, which was presented with the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award; and Kato, Los Angeles, which picked up the Resy One To Watch Award.

The Voting Process

The list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 is created from the votes of 1,080 international restaurant industry experts and well-travelled gourmets who make up The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy. The gender-balanced Academy is comprised of 27 separate regions around the world, each of which has 40 members including an Academy Chair. No sponsor from the event has any influence over the voting process.

Professional services consultancy Deloitte independently adjudicates The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, including the ranking from 1-50. This adjudication ensures that the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting lists are protected.

Best of the Best

Those in the elite group of No.1 ranked restaurants (listed below) have delivered on their exemplary reputations time and again and will be forever honoured as iconic dining destinations in the Best of the Best hall of fame. The chefs and restaurateurs who have led these restaurants to the pinnacle of the list have expressed their desire to invest in the future of the sector and ‘give back’ to the food world through new projects and innovation. The following restaurants have been named No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants since the list’s inception and were therefore not eligible for voting in 2024:

  • El Bulli (2002, 2006-2009)
  • The French Laundry (2003-2004)
  • The Fat Duck (2005)
  • Noma – original location (2010-2012, 2014)
  • El Celler de Can Roca (2013, 2015)
  • Osteria Francescana (2016, 2018
  • Eleven Madison Park (2017)
  • Mirazur (2019)
  • Noma – current location (2021)
  • Geranium (2022)
  • Central (2023)

See above for the 2024 one through fifty ranking.

Image:

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SevenRooms Announces Powerhouse Ad Board

SevenRooms Announces Powerhouse Advisory Board

by David Klemt

"Good news is coming" sign taped to a pole on the street

One of our favorite hospitality technology platforms, SevenRooms, is back at it, showing off their commitment to growth through an announcement made today.

Regular readers of KRG Hospitality’s industry news section may recall an impressive announcement from SevenRooms toward the end of last year. In late November of 2023, the innovative hospitality CRM, operations, reservation, and marketing platform released not one, not two, but three powerful new tools:

  • Priority Alerts
  • Private Line
  • Word-of-Mouth Referrrals

Those who may have missed this announcement can read about these tools here.

Today’s news, however, isn’t based on the release of an innovative new tech feature. Rather, it has everything to do with SevenRooms looking toward the future. The hospitality tech leader is proud to announce CAB, their Customer Advisory Board.

Images of the SevenRooms inaugural Customer Advisory Board members

At the launch, CAB features five hospitality industry heavy hitters. Each represents a hospitality titan, such as MGM Resorts International, Union Square Hospitality Group, and Black Sheep Restaurants. Each member is tasked with analyzing AI, revenue management, and the future of hospitality, and the opportunities presented by each.

Personally, I’m particularly interested in what CAB members will have to say about AI in the industry by year’s end.

For more details, please review the official press release below.

SEVENROOMS ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF CUSTOMER ADVISORY BOARD WITH GLOBAL HOSPITALITY LEADERS

MGM Resorts International, Union Square Hospitality Group, Black Sheep Restaurants, Australian Venue Co., and MJMK Restaurants join to provide strategic insights on the future of hospitality, emerging trends, and key technological opportunities

NEW YORK (June 4, 2024) – SevenRooms, the leading marketing and operations platform for the hospitality industry, today announced the creation of its inaugural Customer Advisory Board (CAB). Composed of hospitality experts and thought leaders from the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, and United Kingdom, SevenRooms’ CAB will serve as a strategic forum to explore, discuss and action opportunities within the hospitality industry.

CAB members joined SevenRooms executive leadership at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to discuss the 2024 board theme of “Future Proofing to Serve up Success.” CAB attendees gained deeper insight into industry trends and best practices from global markets, discussed the value of loyalty in building hospitality-focused businesses with their peers, and debated how technology can help bridge the gap between guests and restaurants to deliver revenue-driving experiences. Throughout 2024, CAB members will continue to explore the following areas of opportunity:

  • Future of Hospitality – consumer sophistication, technology consolidation and the preparing workforces for what’s to come
  • Artificial Intelligence – authenticity and the importance of maintaining human, hospitality-focused connections
  • Revenue Management – data storytelling and how to make more money from the
    same seats

As the consumer of tomorrow evolves, with new demands and expectations, SevenRooms’ CAB will continue to explore what authentic, hospitality-driven experiences look like for both hospitality operators and consumers. Plus, develop strategies for how technology like SevenRooms can provide a blueprint for growth to help operators own and elevate the guest experience to build loyalty. This includes leveraging CRM and marketing tools that not only help their businesses grow, but ensure they’re set up for long-term success by generating more predictable revenue, more often.

“We are excited to launch our Customer Advisory Board, welcoming this esteemed group of industry leaders deeper into our community,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO and Co-Founder of SevenRooms. “At SevenRooms, we are committed to the long-term success of our customers both now and in the future. As leaders in innovation, we empower operators to build sustainable, profitable businesses with guest experience at their core. With our board members’ diverse perspectives and deep industry knowledge, they will be instrumental in helping us better understand and address the needs of our customers and the wider global hospitality industry, ultimately, helping them better serve their guests.”

The inaugural members of the Customer Advisory Board include:

“Working with Joel and the SevenRooms team over many years, I’ve seen firsthand their commitment to the hospitality industry and its continued growth and evolution; passions I too hold very dear,” said Ari Kastrati, Chief Hospitality Officer at MGM Resorts International and Chairman of SevenRooms’ Customer Advisory Board. “I am honored to chair this new advisory group, with a collective goal of supporting and empowering hospitality businesses as they navigate an increasingly complex market and strive to elevate experiences for diners of today and tomorrow.”

For more information about SevenRooms and its Customer Advisory Board, please visit sevenrooms.com/customer-advisory-board.

About SevenRooms

SevenRooms is a leading marketing and operations platform for growing restaurants in the hospitality industry. From Michelin star gems to local favorites, the all-in-one platform helps restaurants increase sales, delight guests, and keep them coming back, automatically. The full suite of products includes reservations, waitlist and table management, review aggregation, referrals, email marketing, and marketing automation. Founded in 2011 and venture-backed by Amazon, Comcast Ventures and PSG, SevenRooms has more than 10,000 dining, hotel F&B, nightlife and entertainment clients globally, including: Marriott International, MGM Resorts International, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Wynn Resorts, Jumeirah Group, Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Bloomin’ Brands, Union Square Hospitality Group, Australian Venue Co., The Wolseley Hospitality Group, Dishoom, Live Nation and Topgolf. www.sevenrooms.com

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2024 Spirited Awards: Top 10 Nominees

The 2024 Spirited Awards: Top 10 Nominees

by David Klemt

AI-generated image of the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award on top of a bar, next to a cocktail

This is what Shutterstock’s AI thinks a Spirited Award looks like. Close? I guess? Hmm…

Just a month after unveiling their top-ten regional honorees, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation reveals the top-ten nominees for each Spirited Award category.

That’s an impressively quick turnaround for such a monumental task.

So, let’s raise a glass (low-, full-, or zero-proof) to the judges and TOTCF for whittling down each award to just ten nominees.

My Vegas Bias is Showing…

As usual, I’m going to show my bias a bit here. Just two nominees represent Las Vegas, but they’re both incredible.

Nectaly Mendoza is up for Best US Bar Mentor, and his concept Cleaver is a top-ten nominee for Best US Restaurant Bar.

I cut began my hospitality journey in and around Chicago, so cheers to three Windy City bars who have made it to this round of the Spirited Awards.

Best Intentions is still in for Best US Bar Team and Best US Cocktail Bar. Milk Room at the Chicago Athletic Hotel is a top-ten nominee for Best US Hotel Bar, and Kumiko is up against Cleaver and eight other amazing venues for Best US Restaurant Bar.

…But so is My Canadian Bias!

Of course, I also have a “wee bit” of bias when it comes to Canada, given that KRG Hospitality was founded and is headquartered in America’s neighbor to the north. First, congratulations to Kate Boushel! She’s definitely getting the acknowledgement for her leadership and contributions that she deserves. Not only is the revered bartender and mentor a top-ten nominee for International Bartender of the Year, she’s the first Canadian to win the 2024 Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award from North America’s 50 Best Bars.

There are also five Canadian venues in the running for a 2024 Spirited Award.

Atwater Cocktail Club, for which Boushel is the director of beverage and education, is a top-ten nominee for Best International Bar Team. Library Bar at the Fairmont Royal York is in for Best International Hotel Bar. Bar Kismet and Published on Main are both among the ten nominees for Best International Restaurant Bar. So, cheers to Halifax, Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Setting aside my bias for Vegas-based and Canadian bars, restaurants, and hotels now, congratulations to every nominee on the list below! Each team’s hard work and dedication has earned them the recognition they deserve. Cheers!

US Categories

US Bartender of the Year presented by Pernod Ricard

  • Erika Flowers — Compère Lapin, New Orleans, LA
  • Nicole Giampino — Platform 18/Century Grand, Phoenix, AZ
  • McLain Hedges — Yacht Club, Denver, CO
  • Christine Kim — Service Bar, Washington, D.C.
  • Libby Lingua — Highball, Phoenix, AZ
  • Caer Maiko Ferguson — Drinkwell, Austin, TX
  • Kapri Robinson — Allegory, Washington, D.C.
  • Isabel “Izzy” Tulloch — Milady’s, New York, NY
  • Masa Urushido — Katana Kitten, New York, NY
  • Takuma Watanabe — Martiny’s, New York, NY

Best US Bar Mentor presented Jameson Irish Whiskey

  • Anu Apte
  • Jason Asher
  • Steva Casey
  • Laura Cullen
  • Touré Folkes
  • Kate Gerwin
  • Alex Jump
  • Anne Louise Marquis
  • Nectaly Mendoza
  • Amanda Gunderson and Travis Nass

Best US Brand Ambassador presented Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Tad Carducci — Gruppo Montenegro
  • Cameron George — Ardbeg
  • A-K Hada — Bacardí Rums
  • Benny Hurwitz — Campari American Whiskeys
  • Stephen Kurpinsky — Mr Black Spirits
  • Anna Mains — Monkey Shoulder
  • Mary Palac — Campari Mexican Spirits
  • Aleka Ross — Hotaling & Co
  • Cesar Sandoval —Casa Lumbre Spirits
  • Natasha Sofia — Mijenta Tequila

Best US Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons

  • Allegory at the Eaton Hotel — Washington, D.C.
  • Best Intentions — Chicago, IL
  • Century Grand — Phoenix, AZ
  • Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA
  • Martiny’s — New York, NY
  • Milady’s — New York, NY
  • Nickel City — Austin, TX
  • Pacific Cocktail Haven — San Francisco, CA
  • Service Bar — Washington, D.C.
  • Yacht Club — Denver, CO

Best US Cocktail Bar presented by Del Maguey Mezcal

  • Bar Goto — New York, NY
  • Best Intentions — Chicago, IL
  • Double Chicken Please — New York, NY
  • Happy Accidents — Albuquerque, NM
  • Martiny’s — New York, NY
  • Overstory — New York, NY
  • Service Bar — Washington, D.C.
  • Thunderbolt — Los Angeles, CA
  • Trick Dog — San Francisco, CA
  • Yacht Club — Denver, CO

Best US Hotel Bar presented by Grey Goose

  • Allegory at the Eaton Hotel — Washington, D.C.
  • Champagne Bar at the Four Seasons Surf Club — Miami, FL
  • Chandelier Bar at the Four Seasons New Orleans — New Orleans, LA
  • Dear Irving on Hudson at the Aliz Hotel — New York, NY
  • Little Rituals at the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott — Phoenix, AZ
  • Milk Room at the Chicago Athletic Hotel — Chicago, IL
  • Nubeluz at The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad — New York, NY
  • Pacific Standard at the KEX Portland — Portland, OR
  • Raines Law Room at the William — New York, NY
  • The Sazerac Bar at The Roosevelt New Orleans — New Orleans, LA

Best US Restaurant Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Accomplice Bar — Los Angeles, CA
  • Amazonia — Washington D.C.
  • Bresca — Washington, DC
  • Cleaver – Butchered Meats, Seafood & Classic Cocktails — Las Vegas, NV
  • Crown Shy — New York, NY
  • Gramercy Tavern — New York, NY
  • Grey Ghost — Detroit, MI
  • Jaguar Sun — Miami, FL
  • Kumiko — Chicago, IL
  • Palomar — Portland, OR

Best New US Cocktail Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Cobra — Columbus, OH
  • Equal Measure — Boston, MA
  • FYPM — Phoenix, AZ
  • Jolie — New Orleans, LA
  • Medium Cool Cocktail Lounge — Miami Beach, FL
  • Murray’s Tavern — Austin, TX
  • Paradise Lost — New York, NY
  • Pretty Decent — Louisville, KY
  • Superbueno — New York, NY
  • Wild Child — Kansas City, MO

International Categories

International Bartender of the Year presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Lorenzo Antinori — Bar Leone, Hong Kong, China
  • Gina Barbachano — Hanky Panky, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Kate Boushel — Atwater Cocktail Club, Milky Way Cocktail Bar, Bon Délire, Montreal, QC, Canada
  • Giulia Cuccurullo — Artesian, The Langham, London
  • Aaron Diaz — Carnaval, Lima, Peru
  • Uno Jang — Jigger & Pony, Singapore
  • Julian Short — Sin + Tax, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Eric van Beek — Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Luke Whearty — BYRDI, Melbourne, Australia
  • Matt Whiley — Re, Sydney, Australia

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Simone Caporale
  • Ryan Chetiyawardana
  • Giacomo Giannotti
  • Tato Giovannoni
  • Shingo Gokan
  • Indra Kantono
  • Iain McPherson
  • Danil Nevsky
  • Jean Trinh
  • Christina Veira

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Jenna Ba — Tanqueray
  • Jordan Bushell — Hennessy
  • Claudia Cabrera — Fratelli Branca
  • Jesse Estes —Tequila Ocho
  • Caitlin Hill — Rémy Cointreau
  • Daniyel Jones — House of Angostura
  • Ally Martin — Hendrick’s Gin
  • Dave Mitton — Lot 40 / J.P. Wiser’s
  • Tim Philips-Johansson — Johnnie Walker
  • Charmaine Ann Thio — Hendrick’s Gin

Best International Bar Team presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Atwater Cocktail Club — Montreal, QC, Canada
  • Caretaker’s Cottage — Melbourne, Australia
  • Handshake Speakeasy — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Hanky Panky — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Hope & Sesame Guangzhou — Guangzhou, China
  • Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel — Singapore
  • La Factoría — San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Panda & Sons — Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Satan’s Whiskers — London, UK
  • Tayēr + Elementary — London, UK

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by PATRÓN Tequila

  • 🔶🟥🔵— London, UK
  • ALQUÍMICO — Cartagena des Indias, Colombia
  • BYRDI — Melbourne, Australia
  • Handshake Speakeasy — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Kwãnt — London, UK
  • Maybe Sammy — Sydney, Australia
  • Panda & Sons — Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Paradiso — Barcelona, Spain
  • Satan’s Whiskers — London, UK
  • ZEST — Seoul, South Korea

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Fords Gin

  • ARGO at the Four Seasons — Hong Kong, China
  • Bar Trigona at the Four Seasons Hotel — Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • BKK Social Club at Four Seasons Bangkok — Bangkok, Thailand
  • Charles H. at the Four Seasons Hotel — Seoul, South Korea
  • DarkSide at Rosewood Hong Kong — Hong Kong, China
  • Dean & Nancy on 22 at the A by Adina Hotel — Sydney, Australia
  • Fifty Mils at the Four Seasons Hotel — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Library Bar at the Fairmont Royal York — Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Seed Library at One Hundred Shoreditch Hotel — London, UK
  • Side Hustle at The NoMad Hotel London — London, UK

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Gin Mare

  • ARCA Tulum — Tulum, Mexico
  • Bar Kismet — Halifax, NS, Canada
  • Burnt Ends Bar — Singapore
  • Carico Milano — Milan, Italy
  • Casa Prunes — Mexico City, Mexico
  • CoChinChina— Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • COYA Dubai — Dubai, UAE
  • Danico — Paris, France
  • Published on Main — Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Zuma Dubai — Dubai, UAE

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Bar Leone — Hong Kong, China
  • Bar Nouveau — Paris, France
  • Bar Us — Bangkok, Thailand
  • Bijou Drinkery Room — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Cat Bite Club — Singapore
  • Dram — London, UK
  • El Primo Sanchez — Sydney, Australia
  • Equal Parts — London, UK
  • FURA — Singapore
  • Tokyo Confidential — Tokyo, Japan

Global Categories

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • DeGroff Bitter Aperitivo
  • Don Fulano 20th Anniversary Añejo
  • Ferrand Dry Curaçao Yuzu Late Harvest
  • J. Rieger & Co. Monogram Whiskey 2023 Kansas City Whiskey – Solera Reserve
  • Joseph Cartron Bergamote
  • La Escondida Sotol Blanco
  • Powers Irish Rye
  • Ten To One Rum Black History Month Artist Edition
  • Worthy Park 109
  • YUZUCO Yuzu Super Juice

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Diageo Bar Academy

  • Allegory at the Eaton Hotel — Washington, D.C.
  • ALQUÍMICO — Cartagena des Indias, Colombia
  • Angelita — Madrid, Spain
  • Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour — Phoenix, AZ
  • Danico — Paris, France
  • Handshake Speakeasy — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Hope & Sesame — Guangzhou, China
  • Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel — Singapore
  • Maybe Sammy — Sydney, Australia
  • Paradiso — Barcelona, Spain

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Baba Au Rum — Athens, Greece
  • Eleven Madison Park — New York, NY
  • KOL Mezcaleria — London, UK
  • Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library — Portland, OR
  • Origin Bar at the Shangri-La Hotel — Singapore
  • Rumba — Seattle, WA
  • Salón de Agave at Casa Prunes — Mexico City, Mexico
  • Sexy Fish — London, UK
  • The Baxter Inn — Sydney, Australia
  • Tlecān — Mexico City, Mexico

Writing & Media Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Boothby
  • Candra Drinks
  • CLASS magazine
  • Club Oenologique
  • Difford’s Guide
  • Guest Check
  • InsideHook
  • SevenFifty Daily
  • The Cocktail Lovers
  • The Spirits Business

Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • Bartender At Large
  • Freepour
  • Like•a•ble Cocktails by Kaitlyn
  • no proof with Joshua Gandee
  • Perspectives by Campari Academy
  • Radio Imbibe
  • Served Up the Podcast
  • Shōshin Art Club
  • The Blackbird Podcast by Josh Lindley of Bartender Atlas
  • The Modern Bar Cart Podcast

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • “A New Spirit Confronts the Consequences of Colonialism,” by Adaorah Oduah, for Punch
  • “Facing Rum’s Problematic Past Is Allowing Producers to Embrace the Spirit’s Future,” by Christine Sismondo, for Imbibe
  • “Family Matters: The Mezcal Boom and the Lives of the Families who Make It,” by Noah Arenstein, for Imbibe
  • “Indigenous Women Working in Mezcal Are Ready to Be Recognized for Their Work,” by Shayna Conde, for Wine Enthusiast
  • “Meet the People Keeping Queer Bars Safe,” by Rax Will, for Punch
  • “Mexican Spirits, Philly Energy,” by Craig LaBan, for the Philadelphia Inquirer
  • “Sotol and the Making of the Next Big Drink,” by Rachel Monroe, for The New Yorker
  • “The Ghostly Outline of a Shadow — Tracing the Footsteps of Whiskey Near-Legend of Jokichi Takamine,” by Kara Newman, for Good Beer Hunting
  • “The Martini Whisperer,” by Robert Simonson, for Grub Street
  • “Why Has the Modern Cocktail Movement Ignored the LGBTQ+ Community?” by Brad Japhe, for VinePair

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • How to Make Better Cocktails: Cocktail Techniques, Pro-Tips and Recipes by Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge, Natalia Garcia Bourke and Andy Shannon
  • Mr Lyan’s Cocktails at Home: Good Things to Drink with Friends by Ryan Chetiyawardana
  • Saved by the Bellini & Other 90s-Inspired Cocktails by John deBary
  • Signature Cocktails by Amanda Schuster
  • Slow Drinks: A Field Guide to Foraging and Fermenting Seasonal Sodas, Botanical Cocktails, Homemade Wines, and More by Danny Childs
  • Strong, Sweet & Bitter by Cara Devine
  • The Book of Cocktail Ratios: The Surprising Simplicity of Classic Cocktails by Michael Ruhlman
  • The Ice Book: Cool Cubes, Clear Spheres, and Other Chill Cocktail Crafts by Camper English
  • TROPICAL STANDARD: Cocktail Techniques and Reinvented Recipes by Garret Richard & Ben Schaffer
  • Wild Drinks: The New Old World of Small-Batch Brews, Ferments and Infusions by Sharon Flynn

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

  • A Field Guide to Tequila by Clayton Szczech
  • A Passion for Whisky: How the tiny Scottish island of Islay creates malts that captivate the world by Ian Wisniewsk
  • Hospitality DNA by Dave Nitzel and Dave Domzalski
  • How to Taste: A Guide to Discovering Flavor and Savoring Life by Mandy Naglich
  • ICE: From Mixed Drinks to Skating Rinks–a Cool History of a Hot Commodity by Amy Brady
  • Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs, and Juice: A Cocktail Recipe Book Cocktails from Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks by Toni Tipton-Martin
  • The Absinthe Frappé by Marielle Songy
  • The Encyclopedia of Cocktails by Robert Simonson
  • The Essential Tequila & Mezcal Companion by Tess Rose Lampert
  • The Maison Premiere Almanac Cocktails, Oysters, Absinthe, and Other Essential Nutrients for the Sensualist, Aesthete, and Flaneur: A Cocktail Recipe Book by Joshua Boissy, Krystof Zizka, Jordan Mackay, William Eilliott

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES TOP 10 NOMINEES FOR THE 2024 SPIRITED AWARDS®

The 18th annual Spirited Awards® celebrates global excellence in the drinks industry and recognizes professionals, organizations, and establishments shaping the cocktail community
NEW ORLEANS, LA (May 29, 2024) — Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) is honored to announce the Top 10 Nominees for the 18th annual Spirited Awards®. Since its founding in 2007, the Spirited Awards® has become one of the industry’s most sought-after awards, recognizing beverage professionals, products, and establishments across every facet of the spirits and cocktail community on a global scale. In partnership with Forbes–the Spirited Awards® official media partner–TOTCF will honor recipients during the Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference, which is celebrating its 22nd year in New Orleans, July 21-26, 2024.
The Spirited Awards® are comprised of industry accolades, both domestic and international; writing and media awards; and overall awards that transcend regionality, including World’s Best Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu.
“Once again we are in awe of the impeccable global talent coming out of our industry, and this year’s Spirited Awards shortlist is no exception,” said Charlotte Voisey, Spirited Awards Overall and International Chair. “We are so impressed by these nominees, their hard work and dedication to creating innovative and exceptional cocktails, and to improving the industry on a global level to provide extraordinary experiences and unmatched hospitality.”
In that spirit, the Foundation is proud to announce the Top 10 Nominees, broken into  International, U.S., Media & Writing, and Global categories.
Note: Please see above, with each category’s finalists listed in alphabetical order, as per Tales of the Cocktail. The categories are in a different order than that of the press release: US Categories, International Categories, Global Categories, and then Writing & Media Categories.

Spirited Awards® 2024

Spirited Awards Top 4 Finalists and the recipients for the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award presented by William Grant & Sons, Visionary Award presented by Johnnie Walker, & International/U.S. Timeless Awards presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation will be named on June 17. All winners will be celebrated on July 25 at the 18th Annual Spirited Awards® Ceremony at the Fillmore New Orleans. Spirited Awards® Ceremony tickets will be available via the TOTCF website on June 17.

Spirited Awards® Judges

Below is a list of Spirited Awards® Chairs, responsible for overseeing the judging process this year:

  • Spirited Awards® Overall Chair
    • Charlotte Voisey
  • Asia Pacific Co-Chairs
    • Sam Bygrave
    • Andrew Ho
    • Symphony Loo
    • Charmaine Thio
  • Canada Co-Chairs
    • Kate Boushel
    • Jonathan Smolensky
  • Europe Co-Chairs
    • Stephanie Jordan
    • Roberta Mariani
  • Latin America & Caribbean Co-Chairs
    • Carlos Aguinsky
    • Georgina Barbachano García
  • Middle East & Africa Co-Chairs
    • Stephen “KOJO” Aidoo
    • Caitlin Hill
    • Nana Sechere
  • U.S. Central Co-Chairs
    • Joshua Gandee
    • Lynn M. House
  • U.S. East Co-Chairs
    • Jackson Cannon
    • Jaymee Mandeville
  • U.S. West Co-Chairs
    • Jason Asher
    • Erin Schaeferle
  • Timeless Co-Chairs
    • Jared Brown
    • Anistatia Miller
  • Writing & Media Co-Chairs
    • Ryan Chetiyawardana
    • Emma Janzen
    • Sandrae Lawrence
Spirited Awards® judges are a collection of respected bartenders, bar owners, educators, and writers from across the globe entrusted with this critical calling. Drawing on their years of experience and their knowledge of the current work being done locally, nationally, and internationally, together the judges can evaluate nominees from far and wide to ensure that the Spirited Awards® represents the breadth and diversity of the global drinks industry.
Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Spirited Awards® Committee is dedicated to valuing the inclusion of the communities the foundation serves, by ensuring that our judging panel reflects their incredible diversity in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality. Recognizing that inclusion is key to a well-represented committee, TOTCF strives to ensure that we have an equitable representation of gender across the judging panel. The Spirited Awards® are not based on popular vote and all nominations are evaluated by their respective judging committees.

Spirited Awards® Directory

Tales of the Cocktail is pleased to share the Spirited Awards® Directory Giving discerning imbibers a comprehensive compendium of all Spirited Awards® winners and nominees from the past 18 years. This resource is updated annually, making it a go-to guide for planning the perfect drinking and dining itinerary. Access Spirited Awards® Directory to explore award-winning bars.

A Special Thanks: Spirited Awards® Sponsors

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation would like to thank all of its Spirited Awards® sponsors: Del Maguey Mezcal, Diageo Bar Academy, Fords Gin, G. H. Mumm Champagne, Gin Mare, Grey Goose, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Johnnie Walker, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic, PATRÓN Tequila, Pernod Ricard, and William Grant & Sons.
To follow along for additional information on the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, please visit the website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

About Tales of the Cocktail Foundation:

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that educates, advances, and supports the global hospitality industry and creates lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance, and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events.

About Forbes

Forbes champions success by celebrating those who have made it, and those who aspire to make it. Forbes convenes and curates the most influential leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving change, transforming business and making a significant impact on the world. The Forbes brand today reaches more than 140 million people worldwide through its trusted journalism, signature LIVE and Forbes Virtual events, custom marketing programs and 42 licensed local editions in 68 countries. Forbes Media’s brand extensions include real estate, education and financial services license agreements.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform.

KRG Hospitality. Bar Consultant. Nightclub. Lounge. Mixology. Cocktails.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Chef Duffy x NRA Show: Live Menu Read

Chef Duffy x NRA Show: Live Menu Read

by David Klemt

Graffiti of crossed chef's knives underneath a baseball cap that reads, "D.E.G."

Chef Brian Duffy crushed it in Chicago at the 2024 National Restaurant Association Show.

We’re sharing tips from Chef Brian Duffy‘s live menu reads at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.

These informative sessions are always standouts at industry trade shows and conferences. Both the operator who submits their menu anonymously and the audience gain valuable insight into menu programming and development.

In ten minutes or less, the Chef Duffy shares wisdom that’ll boost guest engagement; streamline and energize the kitchen; and help save on labor and food costs. And he won’t even Bar Rescue anyone who submits a menu. That is to say, no, he doesn’t yell at anyone while giving them tips for fixing their menu.

As Chef Duffy pointed out during his latest live menu reads, an operator’s menu has the potential to create generational wealth. However, it must be programmed properly for it to reach that potential.

So, ask yourself a question right now about your menu: Would you be proud for your menu, in its current state, to be plastered across a billboard? If not, I have another question for you: Why aren’t you taking the time to rectify that situation?

Your menu is your concept’s billboard. Treat it as such.

Oh, and one note for the NRA Show before we dive in: These sessions deserve at least two hours. One hour just isn’t enough given how impactful Chef Duffy’s live menu reads are for operators.

Menu Programming 101

There’s a logical reason why Chef Duffy is never short on menus to review. In fact, he addressed the situation directly at the 2024 NRA Show.

“Everybody has the same shit on their menu,” he stated frankly.

One explanation for why menus seem so similar makes a lot of sense.

“We’ve been told what to put on our menu buy our purveyors,” said Chef Duffy during his live menu read.

For the most part, operators are given the same product catalogs. These are circulated nationally, not regionally. So, everyone is ordering the same items. Clearly, Chef Duffy is fed up with this situation.

“We’re not here to do the same things that everyone else is,” declared Chef Duffy. “I don’t want to see that anymore.”

Menu #1: Sports Bar

This first menu featured a vibrant design that instilled a sense of patriotism. Chef Duffy theorized that he’d feel good spending time in this space, based on the menu’s appearance.

However, he wasn’t a fan of the layout of the menu. Taking up valuable real estate was a large catering ad, placed directly in the center.

In the top left were salads. “‘Add chicken to any salad,'” read Chef Duffy. “No shit. Why are we stopping at chicken? We can add anything to a salad.”

Based on his knowledge of food costs and the menu’s pricing, Chef Duffy deduced that the operator’s food costs were too high. In fact, he estimated that food costs were more than 31 percent. The burgers, he surmised, were running a 35-percent cost.

By the way, Chef Duffy always puts two slices of cheese on his burgers to fill the top out more. This delivers a more visually appealing experience, and a better bite.

On the topic of pricing, operators must maintain balance. For example, this first menu priced the addition of two slices of bacon at $3.50, but a chicken breast was six dollars. Two Chicago hotdogs cost more than a burger.

Menu #2: Breakfast Spot

Unfortunately, the operator committed one of Chef Duffy’s deadliest menu sins. There was a photo of the restaurant’s steak and eggs.

Worse, the image showed a rather large steak paired with a commodity egg. If this dish doesn’t leave the kitchen looking exactly like the picture, guests are going to be underwhelmed and unimpressed. Further, why are operators still trying to save money by buying commodity eggs?

However, there was a second deadly menu sin committed by the operator. Given the overall perception this menu delivered, the claim that at least one dish featured “wild-caught crab” didn’t ring true to Chef Duffy.

I’m confident in saying that I think lying on a menu may provoke Chef Duffy’s wrath more than a photo.

“If you lie to me on your menu, I will tear you apart,” he stated quite strongly.

That said, he did like the menu’s design (minus the photos). Even better, he recognized that there were several inventive spins on breakfast classics. Remember, “We’re not here to do the same things that everyone else is.”

Menu #3: Sports Bar

To be honest, I was expecting this type of menu. In fact, I thought it would be the first menu design encountered during this session.

Essentially, it was a collection of what everyone else has on their menus.

As an example, there were wings on the menu, and the sauces were anything but creative. Chef Duffy didn’t address it but they were also listed without commas, so they appeared to be one long, run-on sentence of a sauce.

The most glaring issues, however, were the pasta and the dessert. Both sections contained just a single item. That’s rightthere was an entire section dedicated to one pasta dish. Moreover, it’s not like there were a number of modifiers one could select to personalize their pasta.

This was the item description underneath the dessert section (designated as “Closers”): “Dessert of the week – $8 Please ask your server for details.” There’s a significant issue with that description and placement, as identified by Chef Duffy.

If a menu includes desserts, the guest is likely going to forget about them after they’ve ordered their starter and entree. It’s far more effective to have a dessert tray or cart and train your servers to suggest dessert when they touch the table toward the end of the meal.

Takeaways

Chef Duffy throws in more tips during a single menu read than most people would expect.

Below are some of the takeaways that make his live menu reads so insightful:

  • Only list name brands if they come from a local farm. This approach shows that an operator cares about supporting local producers and is part of the community.
  • Use the best ingredients for the specific concept.
  • If a restaurant features housemade buns for burgers and/or bread for sandwiches, they should offer a version as an appetizer. Really make this idea shine by also offering housemade specialty butters.
  • Operators that have chips on their menus should use the crumbles and “dust” to make breading for other items. After all, the chips have been paid for alreadyuse all of them.
  • It’s better and more impactful to have 25 items on a menu that are executed perfectly than 50 items that are executed poorly.
  • Chef Duffy doesn’t agree with omitting prices from menus. “Why? Are we negotiating? Are we negotiating before I place my order?”

Connect with Chef Duffy on Instagram, and learn more about him on the Duffified Experience Group website.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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