This ain’t your daddy’s spirits competition: 2021 L.A. Spirits Awards – Best in Show Awards


The second largest metropolis in the United States has an ever-increasing influence on the tastes and trends of consumers everywhere. And 2021 L.A. Spirits Awards medals carry commensurate sway with consumers and the spirits trade. The 2021 competition attracted a 65% increase in entries over its inaugural 2020 event, adding 10 prestigious judges to its growing and diverse team of spirits evaluators.

L.A. Spirits Awards was conceived in 2019 by Nicolette Teo and Joel Blum, who after working together in the competition business for many years realized the need for a new competition paradigm—one that would go beyond the mere awarding of medals. L.A. Spirits Awards is one of the few competitions managed by competition experts, not just spirits experts.

“We had the knowledge and expertise to imagine the ideal judging event. But to turn it into a reality, we had to start our own.” said L.A. Spirits Awards founders.

L.A. Spirits Awards is judging spirits quality from the perspective of a new generation of experts, by a fresh and diverse team that better reflected the look of the overall spirits industry.

“We envisioned a more agile and efficiently run event that would ensure all entries were given their due attention and receive a fair and proper evaluation. We wanted to give entrants a better competition experience, and to offer promotional programs that served winners long after the judging ended” added Nicolette Teo and Joel Blum.

L.A. Spirits Awards’ final judging round determines the year’s Best in Show award winners. At this stage, principal- and secondary-round finalist nominees in each category are re-tasted by the entire roster of L.A. Spirits Award judges and Best in Show honors are awarded based on majority vote.

Here are 2021 Best in Show Awards:

  • BEST VODKA: Hangar 1 Straight Vodka. Origin: California, USA ; ABV 40%. Price: $41;
  • BEST AQUAVIT: Bareksten Botanical Aquavit; Origin: Bergen, Norway; ABV 43% Price: $50;
  • BEST GIN: Tanqueray No. TEN Gin; Origin: Scotland 47.3% Price: $34;
  • BEST RUM: Cutwater Spirits Three Sheets Cask Strength Rum; Origin: San Diego, USA; Price: 63.5%;
  • BEST TEQUILA & BEST AÑEJO TEQUILA: Cutwater Spirits Añejo Tequila; Origin: Jalisco, Mexico 40%;
  • BEST CRISTALINO TEQUILA: Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado Cristalino Tequila; Origin: La Rojeña, Mexico 40%; Price: $21;
  • BEST MEZCAL: 400 Conejos Joven Mezcal; Origin: Oaxaca, Mexico 40%; Price: $31;
  • BEST BOURBON: Corbin Cash Sour Mash Bourbon; Origin: California, USA 53%; Price: $95;
  • BEST TENNESSEE WHISKEY: Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey; Origin: Tennessee, USA 50%; Price: $59;
  • BEST NORTH AMERICAN SINGLE MALT WHISKEY: Stranahan’s Sherry Cask Single Malt Whiskey; Origin: Colorado, USA 47%; Price: $89;
  • BEST WHISKEY & BEST RYE WHISKEY: Stellum Spirits Rye Whiskey; Origin: Kentucky, USA 58.1%; Price: $54;
  • BEST BLENDED MALT SCOTCH: Copper Dog Speyside Blended Malt Scotch Whisky; Origin: Speyside, Scotland 40%; Price: $26;
  • BEST SCOTCH & BEST SINGLE MALT SCOTCH Lagavulin 2020 Special Release 12 Year Old Single Malt; Origin: Scotch Islay, Scotland 56.4%; Price: $129;
  • BEST LIQUEUR: Sugarlands Distilling Co. Banana Pudding Appalachian Sippin’ Cream Liqueur; Origin: Tennessee, USA 20%; Price: $25;
  • BEST READY-TO-DRINK COCKTAIL: Cutwater Spirits Orange Vodka Smash; Origin: San Diego, USA;

    7%;BEST NON-ALCOHOLIC SPIRIT: Spiritless Kentucky 74; Origin: Kentucky , USA .5%; Price: $36.