Eight regional mixologists compete for ‘Best of the Best’ julep recipe

By the Bourbon flight

There’s no better way to celebrate the start of the Kentucky Derby Festival than by raising a glass of the season’s signature cocktail, made with Kentucky Bourbon. Over the years, bartenders have continually added unique twists to the classic Mint Julep, featuring crushed ice, bourbon, simple syrup, and fresh mint, but which julep recipe reigns supreme? Four Roses and the Kentucky Derby Festival have teamed up again this year to find out.

For the first time ever, Four Roses has invited only previous winners of the Rose Julep Cocktail Contest to compete to see which creative julep recipe from the past really stands out. The competition will take place at the Mellwood Arts Center on Wednesday, March 16 from 5-7:30 p.m. as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival’s “Festival Unveiled” event.

The following mixologists have been selected to participate in this year’s competition:

  • Bill Whitlow, Rich’s Proper Food & Drink, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Colleen McCarthy, Martini Italian Bistro, Louisville, Ky.
  • Giacomo Ciminello, Woodburn Brewery, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Isaac Fox, The Hunt, Louisville, Ky.
  • Jason Stark, Martini Italian Bistro, Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Mark Corley, The Silver Dollar, Louisville, Ky.
  • Natalie White, Belle’s Cocktail House, Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Oliver Winn, Belle’s Cocktail House, Lexington, Kentucky.

Award-winning mixologists have hand-crafted their own julep recipes, using either Four Roses Bourbon, Four Roses Small Batch or Four Roses Single Barrel, along with a range of unique ingredients including habanero bitters, lemongrass and pear syrup, Andean mints, orange blossom water and more.

The public is invited to judge the entries during the event. Bourbon lovers will be able to taste Rose Julep’s eight recipes and vote for the “People’s favourite”. The winning mixologists will receive cash prizes and Four Roses gifts and will serve the winning cocktail in their respective bars and restaurants throughout the Derby season. Tickets to Festival Unveiled and the Rose Julep Cocktail Contest are $45 in advance and can be purchased in line.

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