Mayor Fischer announces finalists from the semi-final round of “The Louisville” Cocktail Competition

August 29, 2022

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced the five finalists from the semi-final round of “The Louisville” Cocktail Competition.

“The Louisville” Cocktail Competition – presented by the Kroger Company – is a search for the perfect cocktail infused with Kentucky Bourbon to represent the city of Louisville, for a soon-to-be famous cocktail served at bars around the globe.

“Over the last decade, we’ve worked to fully embrace our city’s rich heritage with bourbon, including over 10 new bourbon experiences for visitors and residents to enjoy. The Louisville cocktail is the next step in the evolution of bourbonism,” said the Mayor. “This cocktail is expected to be synonymous with our city and our beloved, diverse and delightful bourbon – wherever bourbon is served.”

Monk’s Road®Pinhook®Knob Creek®Wild Turkey® and Woodford Reserve® are the five bourbon brand finalists that will move onto the final round of “The Louisville” Cocktail Competition. One of these bourbons will become the inaugural bourbon of "The Louisville" cocktail.

The finalists from the semi-final round were chosen based on a combination of both professional judging – accounting for 75%, and fan voting – accounting for 25%. Professional spirits and cocktail judges assessed the 16 semifinalists based upon originality, presentation, and the story behind the cocktail.

Judges for the semi-final round included: Bridget Albert, known as “The Market Fresh Mixologist”, an award-winning author, drinks educator, media personality and the creator of the Air Force One cocktail for President Barack Obama’s inauguration; renowned mixologist Francesco Lafranconi, who has received various honors including Mixologist of the Year, Bartender Hall of Fame, Spirit Professional of the Year and Golden Spirit Award; and Fred Minnick, longtime spirits critic and founder of the American Spirits Council of Tasters.

“When putting together a judging panel, you need professionals who can dissect a cocktail and determine if the spirits were used in the best absolute way. This round's judges – Bridget Albert, Francesco Lafranconi and I – have decades of experience assessing cocktails and spirits in competition. But this is the first time a fan vote has been added to professionals,” said Minnick, Director of Judging – “The Louisville” Cocktail Competition. “And much like in American Idol, the fans greatly impacted the outcome. We have five cocktail competitors who most certainly deserve the stage at Bourbon & Beyond. However, only one will be crowned “The Louisville,” and I am looking forward to seeing the mixologists compete in person. Who will win? I can't wait to find out!”

Five bartenders/mixologists will compete in the final round on the Team Kentucky Bourbon Stage at Bourbon & Beyond, Highland Festival Grounds, Kentucky Exposition Center on Friday, September 16 at 3 p.m.:

Knob Creek - Baker Gonzales, Expo
Monk’s Road - Heaven Blakely, The Whirling Tiger
Pinhook - Isaac Fox, La Chasse
Wild Turkey - Brianna Hlava
Woodford Reserve - Gary Bajdek Jr., Bourbon Street Cafe.

The winning bartender/mixologist will receive a $15,000 cash prize, with the four runners-up receiving $500 and a swag bag.

Judges for the final round include Mayor Fischer; Minnick, longtime spirits critic and founder of the American Spirits Council of Tasters; Samara Davis, CEO and founder of the Black Bourbon Society; Chris Santos, Chef Judge from “Chopped,” and Peggy Noe Stevens, Master Taster, founder of Bourbon Women and Bourbon Hall of Famer.

To witness the birth of "The Louisville" cocktail and be a part of history in the making, purchase your tickets now at For more information, visit

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