Drinks List of the Year 2017: Which bars will be winners?

Imbibe Editorial

Imbibe Editorial

11 October 2017

With mere days to go until we announce the winners of Drinks List of the Year 2017, we thought it was time to hear from our stellar panel of judges to see what they thought of the finalists and the general standard of entries this year.

Obviously we’re not going to tell you who the winners are yet, but you might be able to pick up some clues from these comments…

‘It’s elegant, stylish and balanced. Concise, and never over the top. And even though it has a retro feel it’s not at all dated, rather it’s progressive.’ Peter Dorelli

‘If it was music, this list would be classical. It’s pretty, structured, and aesthetically lovely, but there are layers of content, too. Despite this, there’s no bullshit at all. It’s educational but not boring, and playful without being silly.’ Monica Berg

‘It was a whimsical, engaging and adventurous, which is why it got so far.’ Jared Brown

‘This shows you what a modern spirits list should look like.’ Michael Butt

‘It’s pushing forward the relevance to their market and that’s really good. What appeals to me is that this list would get people into the category rather than just keeping them there – and I think that’s really important.’ Joel Harrison

‘The menu is very in the style of the venues. It doesn’t feel like there’s a disconnect between the bar, the menu and the floor, which sometimes happens.’ Monica Berg

‘It’s quite ballsy, we haven’t seen anything else like this today.’ Michelle Brachet

‘It’s brilliant. One of the rare times when you do more than you really need to. With descriptors, lists and narrative, it fulfills the “I’m 10 minutes early”, the “I don’t know what to drink” and the “I want a conversation” situations perfectly.’ Neil Ridley

‘It’s absolutely beautiful. It really is a menu that represents the time and the place. It just makes absolute sense for this place to have this menu, and it’s nicely done. It’s a very intelligent menu.’ Monica Berg

‘I only have one criticism of this menu – they missed using different types of sugar, especially loaf sugar, but nobody’s perfect! If that’s the only problem, they’re doing very well.’ Jared Brown

‘The menu blew me away – the layout, the feeling of the menu, the simplicity of it, it’s not trying to educate you, it’s not pretentious. It’s simple, but with each cocktail you want to read more.’ Alessandro Palazzi

‘I’ve loved this since the start of the judging. It does everything I want a menu to do. It’s well written, well presented and has a high level of production. It’s innovative in presentation, but the drinks themselves are very simple – never more than five ingredients. I’d drink all of these.’ Michael Butt

‘There was a really strong cross-section of drinks, it had a little bit of everything and was really balanced with something from every family. That’s so rare to find.’ Anistatia Miller

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