2017 James Beard Award finalists

It’s a week of announcements! Hard on the heels of Tales of the Cocktail’s agenda reveal comes the list of 2017 James Beard Award finalists, which includes these notable local cocktail bars and bartenders:

Outstanding Bar Program

  • Bar Agricole
    (Bar Agricole helped drive ethical cocktail sourcing. You can’t get a Campari drink at the bar, but you can get an amaro made from known ingredients that could be tracked from harvest to bottle.)

Book Award: Beverage Category

  • Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki, Martin Cate with Rebecca Cate
    (I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t take the award. It’s a beautiful tome, a friendly look at a niche category, and the photography of over-the-top decorated tiki drinks grabs the attention more than your average cocktail book. My copy is, of course, signed by Martin and Rebecca.)

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

  • Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA
    (St. George is a font of local excellence and sass. Their Terroir is my ne plus ultra of gin.)

In a sea of breweries and vineyards float few other distilleries, so I’ll call them out:

  • Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall, High Wire Distilling Company, Charleston, SC
  • Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
    (Technically a brewery but I love Sam, I love Dogfish Head, and I love their spirits.)
  • Charles Joly, Crafthouse Cocktails, Chicago
  • Drew Kulsveen, Willett Distillery, Bardstown, KY
  • Steve McCarthy, Clear Creek Distillery, Portland, OR
  • Herman C. Mihalich and John S. Cooper, Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey, Bristol, PA
  • Chris Weld, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Sheffield, MA


Other finalists of note

Other Coupe Tales friends and frenemies finalists include:

  • Best Chef finalist: Dan Fox, Heritage Tavern, Madison, WI (read about our favorite Heritage drink) and Jonny Hunter, Forequarter, Madison, WI
  • Outstanding Restaurant: L’Etoile, Madison, WI
  • Outstanding Bar Program: Manifesto, Kansas City, MO
    (We have sipped at Manifesto and loathed our drink to the point of being unable to drink a second, but we are willing to concede that one drink is an inadequate sampling of a menu.)

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