Cocktails & Spirits

Julio Cabrera and Cafe La Trova Finalists for Tales of the Cocktail 2019 Spirited Awards

Julio Cabrera
Julio Cabrera Photo by Anthony Nader / 52 Chefs

Tales of the Cocktail, the annual New Orleans celebration of spirits and industry professionals, announced the finalists for its annual Spirited Awards. The awards were founded in 2007 to celebrate excellence in the cocktail and spirits industries.

This year, Julio Cabrera and his love song to Cuba, Cafe La Trova, are up for two awards.

Cafe La Trova is a finalist in the Best New American Cocktail Bar category, alongside Denver's Death & Co and New York City's Existing Conditions and Katana Kitten.

Cabrera is up for the American Bartender of the Year award. Other finalists include Kevin Diedrich of Pacific Cocktail Haven (San Francisco), Masa Urushido of Katana Kitten (New York City), and the Dead Rabbit's Jillian Vose (New York City).

Cabrera, who is visiting Cuba for more inspiration, told New Times that he and the Cafe La Trova team, which includes culinary power couple Michelle Bernstein and David Martinez, will be in New Orleans for the awards ceremony that takes place in July. "This year, of course, we are excited to be nominated in two different categories," he said. Cabrera also acknowledged the other bars and professionals up for awards. "We are honored to be among such incredible company in this year's nominations."

Last year, Miami Beach's Sweet Liberty cleaned up at the Tales of the Cocktail awards ceremony, winning the World’s Best Spirit Selection and Best American Bar Team categories. In an emotional tribute, John Lermayer was posthumously given the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award. And, for a second time, Broken Shaker was named Best American Hotel Bar.

This year, Broken Shaker in Los Angeles gets its shot at the Best American Hotel Bar award. Other nominees in the category include Nina Compton's Compére Lapin at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in New Orleans, Libertine Social at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and Midnight Rambler at the Joule in Dallas.

The 13th annual Spirited Awards ceremony will be held at the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans on Saturday, July 20, from 7 to 10 p.m. Winners receive a Riedel crystal trophy and the accolades that come with the awards that can rightly be compared to the James Beard of cocktails.

Find a complete list of finalists in all categories at

13th-Annual Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. 7 to 10 p.m. on July 20 at the Orpheum Theater, 129 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans. Tickets cost $100 to $450 at
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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