About a month from now, Tales of the Cocktail, an enormous and notoriously boozy cocktail convention, will begin in New Orleans. Like every good convention, Tales has an awards series, the Spirit Awards. Do I need to say that they are the Oscars of the cocktail world? Okay then, I will. They are the Oscars of the cocktail world.
And Murray Stenson of Zig Zag has been nominated for both Bartender of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
His competition for the first: Eric Alperin from youngin’ bar The Varnish in LA, and two New Yorkers: Kenta Goto of The Pegu Club and Sam Ross, Milk & Honey.
For Lifetime Achievement, he’s up against Brian Rea, Gary Regan, and Tony Abou-Ganim. The funny thing is that of these four guys, Murray is the only one who is just a working bartender. He may be a great freaking bartender, but that’s what he is. Not an expert speaker or the author who pops up on Amazon.com when you plug in “cocktail.” You won’t find his face on a line of bitters. I can’t think of a better lifetime achievement candidate than one who shows up to work everyday and just does his job awesomely, can you?
I’ll be reporting from Tales this year, and will let you know (probably via Twitter) as soon as the award is announced on July 24. Meantime, head down to Zig Zag and offer Mur the Blur your mazel tovs.
Side note: Not for the first time, Zig Zag made Esquire’s best bars list this year. “It’s one of the torches that sparked the cocktail revolution, and it doesn’t act like it,” wrote Esquire. You could say the same of Murray.