Six Kentucky bartenders competed at the 16th annual Rose Julep Cocktail Competition, in hopes of receiving top honors and bragging rights, for handcrafting the best twist on the classic mint julep—which traditionally includes crushed ice, mellow Bourbon, simple syrup and fresh mint, all muddled together in a silver cup.

The competition was held at the Kentucky Derby Festival’s “Festival Unveiled” event on March 14 at Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center in Louisville, Ky. To name the winner in the “Judges’ Choice” category, industry experts tasted and scored the juleps based on aroma, creativity, taste and presentation. The public was also invited to sample the six cocktails throughout the night and cast their votes for the “People’s Choice” category winner.

Rich’s Proper Food and Drink’s Bill Whitlow took home the Judges’ Choice award with his “Storm Clouds over the Downs” julep and Parlay Social’s Oliver Winn claimed the People’s Choice title for his cocktail, “Shenanigan’s Delight.” We’re sharing these award-winning cocktail recipes with you so you can handcraft your very own. Post your juleps on social media and tag us so we can check them out!

 

Storm Clouds over the Downs

Bill Whitlow, Rich’s Proper Food and Drink

  • 2 oz Four Roses Single Barrel
  • 1/2 oz China-China liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Torres Spanish Brandy
  • 2 Dashes Chocolate bitters
  • 3 Drops Orange blossom water
  • 2 Spoons Smoked maple syrup
  • 1/2 oz Bananas foster syrup
  • 7 Large Mint leaves

Stir and strain into mason jar then smoke with apple wood smoke. Pour over crushed ice in julep glass. Garnish with mint leaf and powdered sugar/allspice blend

"Storm Clouds over the Downs" Rose Julep cocktail Bill Whitlow, Rich’s Proper Food and Drink

 

Shenanigan’s Delight

Oliver Winn, Parlay Social

  • 2 oz Four Roses Small Batch
  • 1/2 oz Domaine De Caton
  • 7-10 Mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 oz Homemade strawberry / banana simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz Lime juice

Combine all ingredients and shake. Strain into a julep and garnish with a strawberry rose and mint leaves.

"Shenanigan's Delight" Rose Julep Cocktail Oliver Winn, Parlay Social