CONTEST: Enter to Win an All Expenses Paid Trip to the Kentucky Derby

While the origin of The Manhattan Cocktail remains a mystery, there’s no argument that it is one of the most well know cocktails. One of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury’s classic, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, The Manhattan is a staple at bars around the world.

The Manhattan is a cocktail that includes three main ingredients: whiskey (rye, bourbon, Canadian whisky, Tennessee Whiskey, or blended whiskey), sweet vermouth, and bitters. The cocktail is commonly stirred & strained into a cocktail glass and garnished with a cherry with no stem. While the basics of the cocktails remain the same, many forward-thinking mixologists have developed their own variations on the classic drink.

Do you you have a version of the classic cocktail that you think can beat all of the rest? and Woodford Reserve have put together an awesome contest to allow you to put your mixology mastery to the test. This is your chance to battle against the best mixologists around and show off your expertise to the masses.



Entries will be evaluated based upon:




Overview: in conjunction with the USBG will be hosting a nationwide search for bartenders who are passionate about Bourbon, the Manhattan cocktail, Woodford Reserve and what it means to create a truly meaningful cocktail experience. Over the course of this search there will be multiple phases that test the ability of the country’s best bartenders, beginning with competitions across 39 cities, continuing to a semi-final educational event in Kentucky and concluding at the finale event in Manhattan.

Challenge: Create two recipes

An original Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Cocktail that showcases the flavor profile of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and that you would proudly serve to guests in your own bar
Provide your ‘ideal’ recipe for the classic Manhattan cocktail using Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon, including the way you would serve it to guests.
Submit your recipes at

Participating Regions:

Alberta, Canada; Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Boston, MA; Charleston, SC; Chicago, IL; Connecticut; Washington DC; Delaware; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Indianapolis, IN; Jacksonville, FL; Kentucky; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; Maryland; Miami/South Beach, FL; Milwaukee, WI; Kansas City, MO; New York City, NY; Nashville, TN; New Jersey; Ohio; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Puerto Rico; Rhode Island; Richmond, VA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Savannah, GA; Seattle, WA; Tampa, FL; Toronto, Canada; Upstate NY, NY; Vancouver, Canada

Prizes: and the USBG will send one winner from each of the qualifying rounds (39 markets approximately) to the Woodford Reserve Distillery for an immersive educational experience. The Semi-finalists prize (ARV: $3,000) will include:
– Round trip coach airfare

– Lodging accommodation (standard room, double occupancy) for (3) nights

– Hosted tour of the Woodford Reserve Distillery

Arrive evening Sunday March 26, Depart morning Wednesday March 29. and the USBG will send 6 finalists to NYC to compete in the final event, for a chance to be crowned the winner of the Manhattan Experience. The Finalists prize (ARV: $3,000.00) will include:
– Round trip coach airfare

– Lodging for 2 nights (standard room, double occupancy)

Arrive evening Sunday April 23; Finale on Monday April 24, Depart morning Tuesday April 25.


One bartender will be chosen as the overall winner of the Manhattan Experience (ARV: $5,000.00). and the USBG will provide this winner with the following:
– Feature article on announcing the winner

-Trip to the Kentucky Derby® for 2 people (winner + guest)

-Travel (coach airfare) and accommodations for 2 nights (standard room, double occupancy) in Louisville, KY

Taxes are the sole responsibility of prize winners. No substitution/transfer of prize permitted. Prize winners are responsible for all necessary travel documents, including but not limited to passports. Alcohol is not part of any prize.


January 1, 2017 12:00:01 a.m. – February 12, 2017 11:59:59 p.m.: Open for online recipe submissions
January 1, 2017 – February 16, 2017: Regional judging period
February 26, 2017– March 6, 2017: Local qualifying rounds are held in participating markets
March 26, 2017 – March 29, 2017: Distillery Trip for regional winners; 6 Finalists are announced
April 2017: Finale event in New York City Monday April 24th , 2017

General Rules:

  • This program is open to all working bartenders and USBG members that are not employed by liquor companies or distributors as full time employees.
  • Competitors must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Competitors must be legal United States or Ontario, Canada Residents, residing in one of the participating regions. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary.


By entering this program, you are giving, USBG, Woodford Reserve, and its affiliates explicit rights to use your photo, an image of your drink, drink recipe name, and your drink recipe for publicity purposes, including but not limited to: press, social media, digital activation and promotional activation.

Selection Process:

Phase 1 – Online entries:

For the purposes of determining the Regional finalists, entries will be assigned to the closest applicable market, as determined by the Sponsor. All complete entries submitted to within the entry timeframe will be judged against the below criteria based on the perceived qualities of the written recipes and essay entry. Entrants will be notified via email if they have been selected to move onto the regional competition.

Judges will not take into consideration current employer, time spent bartending or any other personal information in the selection of Regional finalists.

Judging Criteria (Online Entries)

Initial scores will be based on the judges’ interpretation of the written description submitted. In some cases, judges may recreate the cocktails to settle closely ranked submissions.

Original Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Cocktail: (50 pts.)

  • Taste and Balance (15pts.)
  • Creativity and Originality (15pts.)
  • Intelligent use of Woodford Reserve (10pts.)
  • Presentation and Appearance (5pts.)
  • Creativity, relevance and appeal of recipe name (5pts.)

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon Manhattan Recipe: (50 pts.)

  • Taste and Balance (20pts.)
  • Presentation and Appearance (15pts.)
  • Thoughtful and intelligent use of ingredients (15pts.)

Phase 2 – Regional Events:

For the purposes of selecting Semi-Finalists, regional events will be judged by local panels, as determined by the Sponsor with the assistance of and the USBG. The regional competition rules and judging criteria will be created by and the USBG, and will be shared with all regional participants prior to the regional competitions.

Phase 3 – Semi Final

A Semi-Final event will be held in Louisville, KY, where all 39 winners of the regional events will compete for a chance to move on to the Finals in New York City.

A panel of industry experts selected by and the USBG will judge this event. Rules and judging criteria are same as above.

Phase 4 – Final

A total of Six Finalists will be selected from the semi final round and will compete at the New York finale event in Manhattan. For the purposes of selecting the winner of the Manhattan Experience, a panel of well-respected industry experts selected by and the USBG will judge the competition. Rules and judging criteria will be created by and the USBG and will be shared with all Finalists a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the Final competition. These will be a variation of the criteria outlined above. Weighting may vary.

Guidelines and Requirements:

  • Recipes must be original. An original recipe is the product of one’s own mind and is not a copy or imitation.
  • Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon must be listed as the primary ingredient in your Manhattan recipe.
  • Woodford Reserve Double Oaked must be listed as the primary ingredient in your original cocktail recipe.
  • All recipes must conform to any legal regulations.
  • All recipes must be states in parts and not ounces. Drops and dashes are allowed. Recipes must not exceed 7 ingredients including drops, dashes (This does not include garnish, sprays or citrus zests)
  • Limit one entry per person/email address.



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