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Best Cocktail of The Year Awards - New York Cocktail Expo

Nicholas Ruiz of Patent Pending, Winner - Best Cocktail of the Year 2020 & TIKI "TO-GO" Down Tropical Cocktail Competition.

As we leave 2020 in the rearview mirror, we take with us the creativity and ingenuity that went into the cocktails it brought us. Home to the Best Cocktail of the Year Awards and the acclaimed "TiKi Throw Down," the New York Cocktail Expo announced its honorees for Best Cocktails of 2020. In a time where to-go drinks and delivery cocktails became the norm, competing bars and bartenders teamed with spirit brands to submit cocktail kits to the Industry Judges panel. Below are the winners, cocktails, spirits & bartenders who won the panelists' favor.

"Immortelle" - Patent Pending

1st Place - Best Cocktail of the Year 2020

1st Place - TIKI "TO-GO" Down 2020

2nd Place - Online People's Choice - Best Cocktail

"Immortelle" itself is a tropical sour using Ten to One Carribean White Rum, aloe liqueur, lacto-fermented lime, Yuzu-Kosho and fermented hibiscus tea. The nose is floral, fruity and bright with ground hibiscus tea powder and pineapple hitting up front. The palate drinks full bodied, grassy and refreshing with a savory note from the Yuzu-Kosho that comes through at the end. This cocktail is perfect for to-go/delivery due to the shelf life of the ingredients. However, more importantly this cocktail is a perfect way to enjoy Ten to One White Rum in a crafted cocktail from the comfort of your home.

Creator of the "Immortelle" Cocktail - Nicholas Ruiz

Nicholas Ruiz is a born and raised Bronx native whose passion for service is rooted in his passion for people. After years playing with a band on stage to working at a dental clinic, one driving focus in Ruiz's career has always been giving the best performance possible. To experience the full scope of this attention to detail, you can visit Nick at Patent Pending where he is the General Manager.

"Favor For a Friend With Benefits" - The Bonnie

2nd Place - Best Cocktail 2020

What a Boulevardier always wished it could be, "Favor for a Friend" with Benefits is the perfect bitter, boozy sipper. The spice in the verbena bring out pepper notes from rye, whilst the Dolin and Cappelletti balance each other and add a lovely viscosity. Redwood Empire Emerald Giant Rye, Apertivo Cappelletti, Dolin Blanc, House Made Verbena Bitters, House Made Celery Bitters.

Creator of "Favor For A Friend With Benefits" Cocktail - Harris Tooley

Bar Manager Harris Tooley has always been passionate about fresh ingredients: he grew up roaming the Texas backcountry, where he learned to forage for ingredients like wild mint, dandelion greens, mushrooms and garlic. Now he can be found crafting creative new cocktails for The Bonnie's seasonal drinks menu (when he's not camping or fishing all over New York State).

"Drink Me" - American Whiskey

3rd Place Best Cocktail 2020

1st Place - Online People's Choice - Best Cocktail

This Alice In Wonderland-inspired sip tastes as magical as it looks! Smokey and sweet with a secret to behold: just pour the ingredients over Empress 1908 Gin and watch the cocktail transform! Empress 1908 Gin, Mezcal, Pomegranate Juice, Lime Juice, Agave & Edible Glitter.

"Sling & A Miss" - American Whiskey

2nd Place TIKI "TO-GO" Down

2020 has been a year for the history books! It's time to celebrate with a riff on the classic Tiki cocktail, "Singapore Sling." This tropical cocktail was created by Tracey Eden, Bar Manager at American Whiskey. Empress 1908 Gin, Cointreau, Pineapple Liqueur, Maraschino Liqueur, Lemon Juice, Lavender Bitters, Fever-tree Elderflower Tonic.

Creator of the "Drink Me" & "Sling & A Miss" cocktail - Tracey Eden

"Mima's Highball Cocktail" - TIKI Chick

3rd Place TIKI "TO-GO" Down

Mima's Highball Cocktail was inspired by the popular classic, The Saturn cocktail, which is one of the few tiki cocktails with a gin base. We chose Dorothy Parker Gin as our base because of its contemporary style and prominent botanicals of juniper, elderberry, citrus, and cinnamon - all flavors found in the other cocktail ingredients such as Velvet Falernum and Chinola Passion.

This delicious blend of botanicals, baking spice, and tart citrus is only further amplified with the addition of almond orgeat, fresh lime, and tonic, long known to be a good friend of gin as well as a welcome bubbly note to an otherwise "gulpable" cocktail.

Creator of the "Mima's Highball Cocktail" - Michael Walters

Michael Walters has been a bartender with Pickle Hospitality for almost three years and was an integral part in the program at Tiki Chick. Despite being a bourbon lover at heart, Walters jumped at the opportunity to work with the Tiki Chick team as the head bartender and delve deeper into the world of rums, cachaca and other cane spirits. He quickly proved himself an expert in putting together thoughtful rum blends as seen in our house Mai Tai as well as integrating less common spirits such as aquavit into unique blends of other tropical flavors.

"Crazy Banana" - Stitch Bar & Lounge

1st Place - Online People's Choice - TiKi "TO-GO" Down

Ron Colón Salvadoreño presents its new and unique Crazy Banana cocktail. JJ’s creation is “the new” in Tiki culture bringing us a classy, upgraded tiki cocktail for those who aren’t looking for an over-the-top fruity concoction. The smooth flavor of the rich aged 111 proof rum and faint layers of chocolate and other herbed bitters accompany the fresh banana oils to excellence. JJ’s creation is balanced perfectly on the palate for a smooth and tasty experience to transport you to the tropics. Take a sip and be welcomed into the Ron Colón family.

Creator of the "Crazy Banana" Cocktail - JJ Sansaverino

JJ Sansaverino has spent 35 years in the food & beverage industry dedicating himself to the highest level of service, consistency, and quality. For the past 15 years he has been a driving force behind the bar of Stitch Bar and Lounge in NYC. JJ’s commitment to the highest standard of cocktails and constant creativity has left their customers with a fantastic and memorable experience. The diverse makeup of New York City fuels the recipes that JJ creates.

"In All The Right Places" - Fuchsia TiKi Bar

2nd Place - Online People's Choice Award - TIKI "TO-GO" Down

Pairing up with Appleton Estate to showcase their amazing spirits on either end of the spectrum, the Wray & Nephew Overproof delivers a pungent, fruity kick while the 12 Year Rare Cask serves as a strong backbone which doesn't get lost with the other flavors. The inspiration in this drink stems from Brad Smith, the legendary GM at Latitude 29 in New Orleans. This cocktail is a nod to Brad and his abilities to make the most unlikely ingredients work together in harmony and gradually hit all the senses.

Creator of the "In All The Right Places" Cocktail - Anton Kinloch

Anton Kinloch can be described as "just a humble bartender." Having worked for nearly 20 years in hospitality the key to success is simply to surround yourself with people who enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise. When we opened Fuchsia, we wanted to share our love for sugarcane spirits and to create an experience that our community would seek out as a shelter from the outside elements. When we thought of a "tropical bar" we wanted more than just cocktails, we wanted to build a community within our four walls that spans across state lines. We've done that and more in the short time since we opened.

"Cargo Drop" - Paradise Lounge

3rd Place - Online People's Choice Award - TIKI "TO-GO" Down

Imagine being cast away on a tropical island only to find lost cargo containing a cocktail so good it makes you never want to ever leave your newfound paradise. Plantation Rum Blend, L'Orgeat, Island Spice Infused Orange Curacao, Fresh Lime Juice (and a few other little secrets...) Tropical Mental Attitude. #itfelloffaplane

Returning Team: Austin Hartman, Jonathan Kobritz, Andrew Porteus, Ian Kearny, Tom Roughton.

Bartenders and spirit brands can register to participate in 2021 cocktail competitions at

For more follow @nycocktailexpo on Instagram

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