The ex-Tippling Club head bartender wins International Bartender of the Year before he bids farewell to Singapore. By Holly Graham.

Joe Schofield has won International Bartender of the Year at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. Last month, Schofield revealed exclusively to DRiNK Magazine that he is heading back to the UK to open a bar with his brother Daniel. Daniel previously managed Coupette in London, which also scooped Best New International Cocktail Bar.

When Tales of the Cocktail announced its Top 10 nominees, Singapore, Bangkok, Seoul, Shanghai and Hong Kong represented Asia’s bar community and after the nominees were whittled down to the Top 4s, Singapore was the only Asian representative still in the running. Last year Tippling Club bagged Best International Restaurant Bar and this year, Tippling Club is the only bar in Asia to have scooped an award. The Schofields it seems are closely associated with Spirited Awards success: the American Bar at London’s Savoy – where Joe worked from 2014 to 2016 – won World’s Best Bar this year.

This year, the awards also featured the Spirited Awards Regional Top 10 Lists 2018. Notable Asian bars in the Asia and Pacific region included Singapore’s 28 Hong Street, Atlas, Native, Operation Dagger and Smoke & Mirrors, as well as Tokyo’s Bar Orchard Ginza and Shanghai’s Speak Low – all on the Best Cocktail Bar shortlist. KOR Taipei and Hong Kong’s Quinary were the only Asian bars to make the Best High Volume Cocktail Bar. Hong Kong scored two spots on the Best Restaurant Bar list with the decorated Italian restaurant 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana and Japanese restaurant Zuma, with Sober Company representing Shanghai and Cut by Wolfgang giving Singapore a look-in.

Asia dominated Australia and New Zealand on the Best Hotel Bar list, taking eight spots including Singapore’s Manhattan Bar – currently number one on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, and The Ritz Carlton Bar & Lounge Macau – who’s head bartender Maxim Schulte is exiting to join the American Bar at The Savoy as head bartender, following Erik Lorincz’s departure. Asia once again dominated Australasia on the Best New Cocktail Bar list with eight bars, including Asia’s 50 Best highest new entry The Old Man in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur’s rum den Jungle Bird and Hong Kong’s Employees Only – which recently announced it would be expanding to open a branch in Sydney. Singapore’s Manhattan Bar and Tippling Club, Shanghai’s Sober Company and Speak Low and Hong Kong’s Quinary all made the Best Bar Team shortlist.

For the full list of Spirited Awards 2018 winners, click here.

Full the full list of Spirited Awards Regional Top 10 Lists 2018, click here.