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Calling all Bartenders, Mixologists and Spirits folks!

We are excited to announce our first Bourbon Social Barrel Cup Cocktail competition! If you’re a mixologist, bartender, or spirits industry professional and think you have the best Bourbon cocktail recipe in all the land, then we want YOU to compete for the Bourbon Social Barrel Cup title, plus cash and other prizes!

Click here for the rules, guidelines, and the application

*Big thank you to the National Bartenders Association for sponsoring this competition*


We are looking for the best of the best to show us best Bourbon cocktail during the 2014 Bourbon Social events. All applicants will go through an initial selection process in Frankfort Kentucky on June 4th. (Applicants will not be there in person) Our selection panel will choose the finalists, each of which will be attending and mixing during the 2014 Bourbon Social. We are judging based on taste, presentation, and creativity – and all participants will create their signature cocktail for 5 judges.


1st place – $1,500 cash – the Bourbon Social Barrel Cup title and plaque, and other prizes

2nd place – $500 cash, and other prizes

3rd place – Bourbon Lovers Package and other prizes



(from left to right)

Dale DeGroffMaster Mixologist and ‘King Cocktail’ 

Mark Stoddard42 Below Cocktail World Cup Winner and Mixology Mastermind

Jim MeehanFood & Wine Cocktail writer and James Beard Award Winner

Richard BettsMaster Sommelier and Spirits Producer

(second row)

Chef Hugh AchesonJames Beard Award Winner and Master of Southern Food


With this amazing line up of judges, and what we know will be an amazing line up of participants, this will be a competition you won’t want to miss! You can also check out these judges during the seminar series on Saturday at Fasig-Tipton. We look forward to seeing all the creative cocktails from folks across the country! And we look forward to seeing you all there to watch them compete live!

– The Bourbon Social Cocktail Club



What IS The Bourbon Social?

You’ve seen an ad, you’ve heard someone mention it, you’ve been hit up on facebook to ‘like’ their page… but what is The Bourbon Social?

In its first year, The Bourbon Social is a three-day celebration, comprised of six events. Spread out across Central Kentucky, we aim to please those deeply rooted in the Bourbon Culture and those just dipping their toes. You can join us for the whole weekend, or create a package of events that most interest you. The tagline is ‘A Celebration of Bourbon and all things Kentucky’, and it’s exactly that.

First and foremost, we want to celebrate the craft and culture of the Bourbon Industry, and the people who make it. Learning from them during the seminars from grains to mixing cocktails, taking private tours to understand how it’s made, and tastings to find a new brand you love – it’s all part of your experience at The Bourbon Social. We can’t wait to release the brands that will be participating, and share with you the very specific list of event details – this paired with Keeneland, Kentucky Football, and Fall in the South – it’s a weekend you just can’t afford to miss!

Kentucky isn’t just about Bourbon – and local folks know this very well. This is a celebration of Kentucky, so we can’t forget the people, producers, and purveyors when celebrating all Kentucky has to offer. We are giving you an inside look (and taste) into super creative and locally driven restaurants, chefs, breweries, vineyards, and so much more! Join us for small plates and hors d’oeuvres, inspired by our Kentucky roots and prepared by our outstanding local Chefs. We are over the moon excited about the line up we have for this years event, and can’t wait to share it with you!! These folks are whipping up some extra special, Kick Ass, Kentucky Proud cuisine – just for you!


What can you expect at the 2014 Bourbon Social?

You should expect to indulge in the following; Bourbon Tastings, Mixologist Contests, Small Plates and Hors d’oeuvres from Local Chefs, Bourbon Seminar Series, Bourbon Bars, Signature Cocktails, Private Distillery Tours, Live Music, Cigar Bars, Small Plates paired with Bourbon by Celebrity Guest Chefs, and so much more! Of course there are other things throughout the day you can partake in, check out our tab at the bottom of the website on ‘things to do’ where you will find all kinds of Bourbon and Kentucky favorites. Still not finding what you are looking for? Give us a call and we can point you in the right direction!



What is the Future of The Bourbon Social?

Well, for that we need your help! What do you want? What do you want to see? We want to know! Our plan is to grow this event over the next two years into a month long celebration, with a huge variety of events, leading up to this end-all-be-all-three-day-bash that is, The Bourbon Social. We have so much ‘on the drawing board’ for year two – but we would love to hear from you. Drop us a line, and let us know what floats your boat!!

We look forward to seeing you this Fall – and again, remember to check back often as we release new details here first!


   The Bourbon Social Drinking Club

From The Beginning

I have been working on The Bourbon Social for quite some time now. People are still learning about it and just hearing about it yes – but it has been in the works for quite some time. It was originally several different concepts, that would be spread out over a year. After several trips out West; for research, adult beverages, and a business meeting or two – I (with help from my family) decided this would become a thing, and it would be pulled together into one event. The next step – what the hell do we call it? And what is the format for the event? I am very blessed to have an amazing family, who also happen to be well connected and deeply rooted in the events, hospitality, and culinary scene in Colorado. We formed an All-Star team of professionals who would serve as an advisory group to my crazy ideas. These people are smart. These people are insanely creative and smart, and they helped me form this awesome, kick-ass, Kentucky inspired, Bourbon infused, one-night soiree – The Bourbon Social. It was going to be awesome.

I came back to Lexington to begin the planning process, and after a little planning and formation, and thinking it was coming together nicely, I took another trip to Colorado. My fabulous advisors had their interest peaked by the updates on development in KY, but you could tell something was missing. So after a long discussion, a lot of brainstorming, and several choice words, we took TBS and flipped it on its head. This baby Bourbon event (HA! originally 1,200 people in one night!) became a three-day, six event celebration and jumped to 2,500+ people. So off I went, back to Kentucky, right back to work on this now massive Bourbon expo. And here we are, Seven and a half months away from the first annual, and we couldn’t be more excited! Our hope in planning this weekend is to entice the Bourbon enthusiast, and the newcomer alike, and to fit within anyone’s budget. This is a ‘Celebration of Kentucky’, so we really wanted to focus on not only Kentucky based Bourbons, but Kentucky people, places, and purveyors. We are giving you a firsthand look (and taste) into the things that make Kentucky great, and the people who make those things. And who doesn’t love supporting these local folks, right?!

Am I bat-shit crazy? The answer is yes. But I like to think I’m crazy with passion. Our plans for this event are to grow it over the next two years into a month long celebration, with one or two smaller events each week, leading up to this end-all-be-all-three-day-blow-out-bash, that is, The Bourbon Social.

We hope you’ll join us on this journey, and help us think BIG! Buckle up… it’s going to be a fun ride!



Kaelyn is the Founder of LexEffect :: Creative Event Management. LexEffect is a full service event management company based in Lexington, KY. They coordinate private events for their clients; large-scale productions for the general public; and events for Non-Profit organizations free of charge.