If travel is in the cards for 2016, let this year’s Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards winners guide you to the best places, cocktails and people.
For starters, who wouldn’t want to pay a visit to the World’s Best Bar or the bar with the World’s Best Cocktail Menu? At The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, you can do both. There are no reservations, so pre-game in the Taproom while you wait for your table upstairs in the Parlor. And don’t even think of stealing the menu book. You can purchase the most recent edition—or plot your plan of attack—at DeadRabbitNYC.com/Shop.
While you’re in town, earn your chicken soup by staying till closing at the Best American High-Volume Cocktail Bar—which just so happens to be manned by the Best American Bar Team—at Employees Only. And if you make it out to Brooklyn, high-five the American Bartender of the Year, Ivy Mix, co-owner of Leyenda.
Staying with the Northeast, eat as well as drink at the Best American Restaurant Bar, Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks in Boston. In the Southeast, check out the Best American Hotel Bar, The Broken Shaker Miami in hipster hostel The Freehand. Closer to home, get high (a whole mile!) at the Best American Cocktail Bar, Williams & Graham, tucked in a bookstore in Denver, and get up to speed at the Best New American Cocktail Bar, ABV in San Francisco.
In the Pacific Northwest, keep an eye out for Best Bar Mentor, PDT founder and recent transcontinental transplant Jim Meehan, who is writing his forthcoming book, Meehan’s Manual (due fall 2016), in Portland, Oregon. Best American Brand Ambassador Brooke Arthur is based in Los Angeles, but she’s a partner in Portland’s House Spirits Distillery (Aviation Gin, Westward Whiskey). Sample those and more from the Captain’s List at Seattle’s Canon, home to the World’s Best Spirits Selection.
Headed for points abroad? London should be on your itinerary for certain. It’s here that you will find the Best International Cocktail Bar (Artesian in the Langham Hotel), the Best International Hotel Bar (Beaufort Bar in The Savoy), Best International Restaurant Bar (Blind Pig at Social Eating House) and the Best New International Cocktail Bar (Dandelyan in the Mondrian) founded by International Bartender of the Year, Ryan Chetiyawardana. But wherever the Tube takes you, mind the gap and be sure to tip back a Belvedere martini in honor of the Best International Brand Ambassador, Claire Smith-Warner, a.k.a. “the First Lady of Vodka.”
If Asia or Oceana is your final destination, you’ll find the Best International Bar Team at Singapore’s 28 Hong Kong Street ready to help you work through your jetlag. Have your order ready when you belly up to the Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar, Melbourne’s The Black Pearl & The Attic.
Should you find yourself drinking alone, bring along a copy of Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer Dave Broom’s Whisky: The Manual ($17, Amazon.com), also the year’s Best New Spirits Book. Wash down the chapter on cocktails with 2015’s Best New Spirit, Amaro di Angostura.
And don’t forget to send me a postcard!