Cheers to the honorees of the West’s premier competition celebrating the best whiskies, bourbons, gins, rums, and liqueurs.

Surfrider Malibu Cocktails
Thomas J. Story

It’s a wonderful wide, wide world of spirits in the West, and each year we host the Sunset International Spirits Competition to steer you to bottles worth seeking out. Late last year we assembled an esteemed panel of judges and tasted our way through hundreds of bottles that collectively represent what’s being distilled throughout the West and beyond and have just published an issue celebrating the honorees. Whether it’s whiskey, bourbon, rum, liqueur. or gin, one and all they embody what spirits lovers want most incredible flavor the highest production standards  and above all deliciousness. Cheers to the winners of the 2023 Sunset International Spirits Competition!

BrandNameAwardExtra HonorsWebsite
Pendray’s Distillery
Pendray's Distillery XO Brandy—Buy It!
Best of the Best/Best of ClassBest
Brucato AmaroChaparralDouble Gold/Best of ClassBest
Cierto TequilaPrivate Collection, Extra A–ejoDouble Gold/Best of ClassBest
Cutwater SpiritsCutwater Mezcal ReposadoDouble Gold/Best of ClassBest
Cutwater SpiritsCutwater Spicy Bloody MaryGold/Best of ClassBest Ready to
Hinterhaus DistillingSouth Grove GinDouble Gold/Best of ClassBest
Jewell Distillery Citron VodkaJewell Citron VodkaDouble Gold/Best of ClassBest Vodka Flavored/
Royal MashRoyal Mash Vintage 2020Double Gold/Best of ClassBest
Savage & CookeSavage & Cooke Bourbon Whiskey Double Gold/Best of ClassBest
High NoonHigh Noon GrapefruitDouble Gold/Best of ClassBest Hard
Venus SpiritsEl Ladron Yolo - CA Roasted AgaveDouble Gold/Best of ClassBest Other Agave
Uncle Nearest Premium WhiskeyUncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch WhiskeyDouble Gold/Best of
Beehive DistillingBarrel ReserveDouble Gold/Best of
Cierto TequilaPrivate Collection, AnejoDouble Gold/Best of
Cutwater SpiritsCutwater Strawberry MargaritaDouble Gold/Best of
Cutwater SpiritsCutwater Tropical Tiki Rum Mai TaiDouble Gold/Best of
Cutwater SpiritsCutwater White RussianDouble Gold/Best of
503 DistillingSilent Rock Vanilla Whiskey CreamDouble Gold/Best of
Angel's EnvyAngel's Envy 2023 Cask Strength Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Sauternes and Toasted Oak BarrelsDouble Gold/Best of
Rancho La GloriaEspresso MartiniDouble Gold/Best of
Spirit Works DistilleryBarrel Reserve Sloe GinDouble Gold/Best of
St. George Spirits NOLA Coffee LiqueurNOLA Coffee LiqueurDouble Gold/Best of
TerrapinTerrapin SpruceDouble Gold/Best of
BoldtBottled in Bond Rye WhiskeyGold/Best of
Crater Lake SpiritsBlack Butte Whiskey Cask StrengthGold/Best of
Las Californias Las Californias CitricoGold/Best of
Cutwater SpiritsCutwater Whiskey LemonadeGold/Best of
Sienna Spirits Distillery Arizona ReaperGold/Best of
Fast Penny SpiritsAmaricano ShakeratoGold/Best of

And let’s celebrate our other honorees

The Competition Judges:

  • Dan Berger, award-winning wine columnist
  • Debra Del Fiorentino, sommelier, CSW, and CWP
  • Ziggy Eschliman, radio and TV host, blogger, the Contessa of Cocktails.
  • Tara Heffernon, sommelier and restaurant owner
  • Jason Jorgensen, co-founder and head distiller Alley 6
  • Jennifer Kelly, sommelier, consultant, and spirit expert
  • Lara Sanfilippo, sommelier and restaurant owner
  • Chris Sawyer, sommelier to the stars, radio and TV personality
  • Jason Schneider, general manager, Bottle Barn, chief spirit buyer
  • Vicki Tomesello, sommelier and consultant
  • Larry Van Aalst, sommelier, radio host, The Sonoma Report, CRN radio

Read the 2024 Spirits Issue

Get one year of Sunset—and all kinds of bonuses—for just $24.95. Subscribe now!