News Phoebe Calver

Annual Rose Julep Cocktail Competition winners announced

Four Roses, in conjunction with Kentucky Derby Festival, announced the winner of the 17th annual Rose Julep Cocktail Competition at the Mellwood Arts Center as part of the ‘Festival Unveiled’ event on March 5.

A combination of a panel of expert judges and the public chose the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice winning juleps, deciding on the winner from a selection of six bartenders from across the region.

Giacomo Ciminello, Judges’ Choice 2020 winner

The Judges’ Choice award went to Giacomo Ciminello from Night Drop in Cincinnati, for “The Side Eye,” a cocktail that combines Four Roses Small Batch with Branca Mentha, Angostura Bitters Orgeat Syrup, cacao and mint.

Bartender Jason Stark, from Louisville’s Martini Italian Bistro, took home the People’s Choice award for his creation, “The Perfect Pear,” a mint julep created using Four Roses Small Batch, pear, lemon juice, Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters, Ale 8 and mint.

Jason Stark, People’s Choice 2020 winner

The top six finalists who qualified this year included:

  • Travis Shireman, Taj, Louisville
  • Jason Stark, Martini Italian Bistro, Louisville
  • Katie Sherman, Goodfella’s Wise Guy Lounge, Lexington
  • Oliver Winn, Elixir, Lexington
  • Giacomo Ciminello, Night Drop, Cincinnati
  • Bill Whitlow, Rich’s Proper Food & Drink, Covington

Hundreds of people arrived at the event to sample the competitors’ cocktail creations, enabling them to vote for the People’s Choice winner.

The official competition judges included Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival CEO; Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal; Sarah Shadburne, Business First of Louisville; Scott Recker, LEO Weekly; Joe Daily, United States Bartenders Guild; Colleen McCarthy-Clarke, mixologist and 2019 contest winner; Sara Havens, The Bar Belle; and Monica Wolf, Bourbon Women Association.


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