Welcome to the Liquor Awards
Liquor.com is thrilled to introduce the Liquor Awards.
Our aim is to recognize the drinks-industry professionals and bars—both longstanding and up-and-coming—who are contributing to the advancement of the world of cocktails, spirits, and hospitality. We believe these winners and nominees represent the people and places that exemplify the best of the American drinks industry.
Rather than creating a list of the hottest new bars or the same old standbys, we sought to celebrate the people, bars, and organizations that have broken the proverbial mold and introduced the industry to something new, whether in years past or in recent months. Our focus is centered on those who display creativity and integrity, who are building a more inclusive community, and who promote the art of drink-crafting in an inspirational way.
For the inaugural installment of what will be an annual event, we’ve compiled a list of winners and finalists who represent the best in 14 categories across the industry. These bars, organizations, and individuals are not only respected and admired by their peers, but have demonstrated they are truly advancing drinks culture.
Our Selection Process
In order to ensure the nominees comprised the most diverse group of bars, restaurants, organizations and individuals possible, we tapped a group of 50 hospitality-industry luminaries representing a range of geographical locations, gender identifications, sexual orientations, cultural backgrounds, and abilities to submit their nominations. In order to cast the widest possible net, we also partnered with charitable organization Another Round, Another Rally for its insights and suggestions, and worked collaboratively with them to assemble our full panel of judges.
Each judge was able to nominate up to five bars, organizations, or individuals exemplifying each category, and include a brief statement in support of each nominee. We compiled their responses and calculated the top five finalists in each category, which were then sent out for a round of ranked-choice voting to determine the winner.
Excellence in Bars
Julio Cabrera and company have brought the spirit of classic Cuban bar culture to the Magic City, where his cantineros sling expertly made cocktails amid energetic live music. The result? An experience that manages to be elegant, exuberant, and unlike any other.More About Café La Trova
This beloved neighborhood watering hole, founded by two hospitality industry veterans, is a no-fuss gem frequented by locals and bartenders alike. Since opening, it’s gained word-of-mouth acclaim for quality cocktails and an approachable, effortlessly cool vibe.More About Ba'sik
Tropical décor and over-the-top drinks have made this bar an oasis in the Jupiter Next hotel. A step inside is a fanciful escape in downtown Portland that truly needs to be experienced.More About Hey Love
At Kevin Diedrich’s inventive West Coast bar, classic cocktails are married with Asian and Pacific Island ingredients and flavors. Earning consistent acclaim and demonstrating unwavering commitment to quality, PCH shows no signs of slowing down.More About Pacific Cocktail Haven
Kate Gerwin’s game-changing new bar has pioneered an innovative business model the industry could learn from. A novel use of a distiller’s license to streamline distribution chains and a focus on employee welfare have created a working environment that works for everyone.More About Happy Accidents
Since 2008, expertly crafted drinks and impeccable service have made Julie Reiner’s neighborhood gathering spot truly timeless. In an ever-changing industry, Clover Club remains iconic.More About Clover Club
With a staggering selection curated by owner Jamie Boudreau, this temple to spirits is home to more than 4,000 bottles, including vintage rarities, modern mainstays, and local productions. You could spend years here and never drink the same thing twice.More About Canon
Since creating an educational platform and series of pop-ups advocating for waste reduction in drinks, consultant Kelsey Ramage has continued to broaden Trash Collective’s now-global reach and inspire countless bars to get scrappy—one zero-waste cocktail at a time.More About Trash Collective
Chris Cabrera is an advocate and activist who recently became the first-ever National LGBTQ+ Ambassador for Bacardi. There, he’s used his platform to make inclusivity a cornerstone of business for one of the world’s largest spirits companies.More About Chris Cabrera
Chicago bar pro Josh Davis launched Brown & Balanced to celebrate and support a new generation of Black and Brown bartenders. Utilizing pop-ups, digital programming, events, partnerships, and more, his organization has become a community-building hub that continues to grow.More About Brown & Balanced
Psychotherapist Laura Louise Green has dedicated her organization to putting humanity back into hospitality. Advocating for healthier environments through the framework of psychological safety, Healthy Pour offers events, seminars, and a wide array of resources to support industry workers.More About Healthy Pour
Masahiro Urushido’s welcoming service and winning smile have become as renowned as the highballs and sandos at this Japanese-American bar. When it comes to making guests feel at home, few can claim to do better than Katana Kitten.More About Katana Kitten
Masahiro “Masa” Urushido, the managing partner and “director of deliciousness” at Katana Kitten in New York City, is “what a bartender should be,” according to Julio Cabrera of Café La Trova in Miami. What, exactly, does that mean? “He’s superbly welcoming and accommodating,” says Chicago drinks pro and Crafthouse Cocktails founder Charles Joly. “Masa reads his guests and will deliver each with an experience.”More About Masahiro Urushido, Katana Kitten
It’s not an understatement to say modern bartending wouldn’t exist in its current form without Dale DeGroff. His work as head bartender and manager of the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center from 1987 to 1999 led to a resurgence of classic cocktails and technique that persists today and rehabilitated the image of bartenders as skilled craftspeople and cultural ambassadors.More About Dale DeGroff