The Best of the Boozy James Beard Semifinalists

The James Beard Foundation announced its list of 2014 semifinalists today, and a scroll through the list proves what a shining moment this is for drinking in America.  Several of our favorite spots throughout New York City, including Estela with its exceptional cocktail and wine lists, are up for Best New Restaurant, while The Bar at the NoMad, The Dead Rabbit, and Maison Premiere are all in the running for Outstanding Bar Program. No doubt Jordan Salcito’s singular approach to wine (perhaps best represented by Thunderpeach, the new-school wine cooler she made in collaboration with Dave Arnold) has a lot to do with Momofuku Ssäm Bar’s inclusion in the Outstanding Wine Program. On the classic end of the spectrum is Rouge Tomate, a spot that seems to consistently get more love from inside the industry than outside, and Bar Boulud. Among all the strong candidates in the Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional, we can’t help but root for David Wondrich, the spirits historian and educator who has been deep in this stuff for years. [The James Beard Foundation]