When you think of the Kentucky Derby Festival, you may also think of a mint julep – crushed ice, mellow Bourbon, simple syrup and fresh mint, all muddled together in a silver cup. Over the years, Louisville bartenders have continually put unique twists on this classic drink. But which julep recipe reigns supreme? Four Roses and the Kentucky Derby Festival have partnered together to find out.
Eight Louisville-area bartenders will compete at the 15th annual Four Roses Rose Julep Cocktail Competition at Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center on Thursday, March 1, as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival’s “Festival Unveiled” event.
The finalists who qualified for this year’s competition include:
Mark Corley, The Silver Dollar
Dane Durand, Proof on Main
Amy Fisher, Meta
Drew Hutchison, Portage House
Colleen McCarthy-Clarke, Martini Italian Bistro
Karla Plott, Down One Bourbon Bar
Keri Smith, Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar
Jason Stark, Martini Italian Bistro
These eight finalists have been selected from a group of applicants to compete for the top honors of Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice. The creative mixologists have handcrafted mint julep recipes all their own, using Four Roses and an array of unique ingredients. A panel of beverage industry experts will taste and score the juleps based on aroma, creativity, taste and presentation.
The public is also invited to help judge the entries. Bourbon lovers can sample all eight Rose Julep recipes and cast their votes for the “People’s Choice” category. Tickets to Festival Unveiled and Rose Julep cost $30 in advance. This event will begin at 5 p.m.
All applicants have also been invited to compete for the Social Media Vote throughout the weeks leading up to the event. Guests of the competing bars and restaurants will have the chance to order the Rose Julep cocktail at each location, and can vote for their favorite entry by posting a photo of the cocktail on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #RoseJulep2018 and tagging Four Roses. The winner of the Social Media Vote will be announced on March 1.