Who won the Castle & Key Cocktail Competition

The 2nd annual Castle & Key Cocktail Competition has commenced and it was a battle competition. Where were the participants from? Who won?

Castle & Key: hands pouring a drink in little clear cups

Photo by Megan McCardwell/Proof

Bartenders from all over Kentucky and Tennessee made their way to Castle & Key for their Cocktail Competition. They were asked to make a modern twist on classic cocktails using Castle & Key Restoration Release Gin. There were 10 finalists that were allowed to showcase their creation to a large crowd and a few judges.

The night began with a happy hour where guests got to pick from two drink options that featured Castle & Key vodka and gin. Hors d’oeuvres were passed around while they filed into the garden area, waiting for the competition to start.

As it got closer to showtime, guests began to make their way back to an older building with lots of charm and character. It was in that building where people got to taste these delicious creations while listening to a live band, Floyd and the Walkmen. Each guests were given a passport where they would get to stamp at every “bar” they tasted a creation.

At each station, there was a flyer that indicated who the bartender was, where they were from/what bar they worked for, and the name of their drink.

Castle & Key: a trophey sitting on a bourbon barrel with greenery behind it

Photo by Megan McCardwell/Proof

The contestants were:

  • Bar 1 – The Golden Lady
    • Andrew Weathers from The Southern
    • Nashville, TN
  • Bar 2 – Bluegrass Buzz
    • Scott Hornbuckle from Bob’s Steak and Chop
    • Louisville, KY
  • Bar 3 – Belafonte
    • Kris Candamil from London Calling
    • Chattanooga, TN
  • Bar 4 – Purple Key
    • Christopher Evans from Bourbon on Rye
    • Lexington, KY
  • Bar 5 – Sand Castle
    • Vinny Maniscalco from 5th & Taylor
    • Nashville, TN
  • Bar 6 – Green Curry Fizz
    • Jake Sulek from West Main Crafting Co.
    • Lexington, KY
  • Bar 7 – We’re All Mad Here
    • Garth Poe from East Bistro
    • Chattanooga, TN
  • Bar 8 – No Big Dill
    • Erin Delaney from Red Hog
    • Louisville, KY
  • Bar 9 – The Key to Life
    Castle & Key: a man in a purple top with an apron smiling off camera and a woman next to him smiling at the camera

    Winner Christopher Evans with “Purple Key” – Photo by Megan McCardwell/Proo

    • Josh Smith from Whiskey Thief
    • Chattanooga, TN
  • Bar 10 – Recuerdo
    • Juan Calderon from Proof on Main
    • Louisville, KY

Three judges walked around taking sips of creations and then conferring with one another on that particular drink. In the end, there could only be one winner. Congratulations to Christopher Evans from Bourbon on Rye in Lexington with your creative twist on a classic cocktail, “Purple Key”.



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