The ceremony, held annually in New Orleans, is the boozy version of the culinary world's James Beard Awards. Voted on by a cadre of spirits professionals, the awards acknowledge excellence in 26 categories, such as American Bartender of the Year, Best American Brand Ambassador, Best International Restaurant Bar, and Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer.
Last year, Sweet Liberty won the Spirited Award for Best New American Cocktail Bar, making this two years in a row that the bar was awarded by what could be the most important honor in the spirits world. Bar co-owner John Lermayer was a finalist for American Bartender of the Year, and the bar was also up for Best American Bar Team.
Lermayer, along with Dan Binkiewicz (of Blackbird Ordinary and Purdy Lounge) and David Martinez (of Michy's), opened Sweet Liberty in September 2015 with the goal of creating "a bar that the people of Miami can be proud to call their own," Lermayer said in an interview with New Times.
Since its opening, the bar has racked a number of accolades. In 2016, it was named Best Bar in Miami Beach by New Times and was awarded Best Happy Hour in 2016 and 2017 by New Times readers. Last year, Sweet Liberty was also named one of the best new bars in America by Playboy.
Sweet Liberty. 237-B 20th St., Miami Beach; 305-763-8217; mysweetliberty.com.