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 Bourbon and the Kentucky Derby Festival have partnered together to find out.
Eight Louisville-area bartenders will compete at the 14th annual Four Roses Bourbon Rose Julep Contest at Tim Faulkner Gallery on Thursday, March 2. The mint julep contest will take place at the Derby Festival’s “Festival Unveiled” event, beginning at 5 p.m.
The finalists who qualified for this year’s competition include:
- Alex Paulin, Ciao Bistro & Bar
- Cillian Brown, Proof on Main
- Colleen Clarke, Martini Italian Bistro
- Damien Cooke, Red Hog Artisan Meat
- David Spellman, Commonwealth Tap
- Keri Smith, Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar
- Mark Corley, The Silver Dollar
- Mike Kerbel & Chase Myers, HopCat
These eight finalists have been selected from a group of more than 20 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 Bourbon 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 and $40 at the door. This event will begin at 5 p.m.