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Two Louisville mixologists come out on top in state-wide 'Rose Julep' competition

Mixologists who work at two iconic Louisville restaurants took home the top awards at a Kentucky-wide cocktail competition.
Credit: Four Roses Bourbon
Mixologist Colleen McCarthy-Clarke (Left) and Mixologist Em Sego (Right).

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two Louisville-natives brought home the gold after a state-wide cocktail competition, featuring Kentucky's most talented mixologists.

Eight bartenders competed in the 20th annual "Rose Julep Competition" at the Mellwood Arts Center on Thursday, March 16.

A panel of expert judges selected the winner of the "Judges' Choice award" and the people attending the event chose who won the "People's Choice award".

Mixologist Em Sego of Louisville’s North of Bourbon took home the Judges’ Choice award for “The Scarlett Rose". 

This unique, winning cocktail mingles rose petal infused Four Roses Small Batch with yellow Chartreuse, lemon oil infused Steen’s pure cane syrup, Bittermens Burlesque Bitters and mint. 

Mixologist Colleen McCarthy-Clarke of Martini Italian Bistro in Louisville claimed the People’s Choice title for “The Oriental Express.” 

This creative mint julep composed of Four Roses Small Batch, umeshu green plum wine, yuzu marmalade, grapefruit bitters, ginger, allspice, cloves, fresh cracked pepper, grapefruit bitters and mint won the people's hearts.

SC Baker, TJ Ghant, Bill Whitlow, Katie Sherman, Romondo Tatum and Hannah Reid made up the rest of the top eight finalists who qualified for this year's competition. 

The judges scored the juleps based on aroma, creativity, taste and presentation, according to a Four Roses Bourbon press release.

Official competition judges included Kentucky Derby Festival CEO Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival Board Chair Ken Salvaggi, mixologist Jayma Neese, writer Sara Havens, Katie Molck with LOUToday, Erica Rucker with LEO Weekly, and Kathryn Gregory and Kirby Adams with Courier-Journal.

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