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 put unique twists on the classic Mint Julep—made with crushed ice, bourbon, simple syrup and fresh mint—but which julep recipe reigns supreme? Four Roses and the Kentucky Derby Festival have partnered together again this year to find out.
For the first time ever, Four Roses invited only previous winners of the Rose Julep Cocktail Competition to go head-to-head in an effort to determine which creative julep recipe of the past truly stands out above all. The competition will take place at Mellwood Arts Center on Wednesday, March 16, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at 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 Brewing, Cincinnati, Ohio
- Isaac Fox, La Chasse, Louisville, Ky.
- Jason Stark, Martini Italian Bistro, Louisville, Ky.
- Mark Corley, The Silver Dollar, Louisville, Ky.
- Natalie White, Belle’s Cocktail House, Lexington, Ky.
- Oliver Winn, Belle’s Cocktail House, Lexington, Ky.
The award-winning mixologists have handcrafted julep recipes all their own, using either Four Roses Bourbon, Four Roses Small Batch, or Four Roses Single Barrel, along with an array of unique ingredients, including habanero bitters, lemongrass and pear syrup, Andes mints, orange blossom water and more.
The public is invited to judge the entries at the event. Bourbon lovers can sample all eight Rose Julep recipes and cast their votes for the “People’s Choice” award. The winning mixologists will be awarded cash prizes and Four Roses swag and will serve the winning cocktail at their respective bars and restaurants throughout Derby season. Tickets to Festival Unveiled and the Rose Julep Cocktail Competition cost $45 in advance and can be purchased online.
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