Cocktails & Spirits

Miami Bars Merit Top-Ten Mentions in Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards

Julio Cabrera (second from right) is joined by son Andy, daughter Lupe, and wife Betty after winning American Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail's 2019 Spirited Awards.
Julio Cabrera (second from right) is joined by son Andy, daughter Lupe, and wife Betty after winning American Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail's 2019 Spirited Awards. David Martinez
click to enlarge Julio Cabrera (second from right) is joined by son Andy, daughter Lupe, and wife Betty after winning American Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail's 2019 Spirited Awards. - DAVID MARTINEZ
Julio Cabrera (second from right) is joined by son Andy, daughter Lupe, and wife Betty after winning American Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail's 2019 Spirited Awards.
David Martinez
This week, the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation announced the slate of nominees for its 2020 Spirited Awards. Five Miami and Miami Beach bars were honored in one or more of five categories.

Restaurateur David Martinez was excited to learn that two of his establishments — Cafe La Trova and Sweet Liberty — received nods. "This is a glimmer of good news that I think everyone could use right now," Martinez tells New Times. "It's great for the staff. There are places where they could make more money, but our bartenders do it for the craft.

"This is a career for our bartenders," Martinez continues. "They're studying recipes, trends, glassware. There are so many components that make up a truly great bartender."

Martinez says he's happy for all of the other Miami honorees and intends to call his fellow nominees to congratulate them. "It is an honor to be mentioned alongside them," Martinez says. "This is such a tightly knit community, and it's exciting to celebrate each other's successes."


Nominations are made in eight regions: three in the United States (East, Central, and West) and five internationally (Canada, Latin America & the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and Asia & Pacific).

On May 4, the judges will whittle the regional lists down to an overall top ten. The finalists will be declared June 1, and the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony July 25.

The awards, handed out annually in New Orleans during a multiday conference in the summer, date back to 2007 and celebrate excellence in the cocktail and spirits industries. Last year, Miami's Julio Cabrera (Cafe La Trova) was named American Bartender of the Year.

The foundation has decided to go ahead with this year's festivities, scheduled for July 21 through 26 at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans. "The Foundation feels it is more important now than ever to continue to honor the professionals, organizations and establishments that have enhanced the industry," Tales of the Cocktail states on its website.

Here is the full list of Miami nominees in the East region:

Best American Bar Team
Cafe La Trova
Le Sirenuse Restaurant & Champagne Bar at the Surf Club Miami
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company

Best American Cocktail Bar
Jaguar Sun

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar
Cafe La Trova
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company

Best American Hotel Bar
Le Sirenuse Restaurant & Champagne Bar at the Surf Club Miami

Best New American Cocktail Bar
The Sylvester

A complete list of Tales of the Cocktail's 2020 Spirited Awards Regional Top Ten honorees is available at talesofthecocktail.org
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss