2023 Not Your Pink Drink Cocktail Contest

Announcing the Bourbon Women 2023 Not Your Pink Drink Cocktail Competition

Think you have the chops to enter a stellar bourbon cocktail made for the palates of discerning Bourbon Women? Enter the Bourbon Women Not Your Pink Drink Cocktail Contest! We want to see your cocktail creations that celebrate bourbon in all its fun and complexity in a delicious and creative cocktail. We are looking for fabulous cocktails that embody the adventurous spirit of Bourbon Women and celebrate bourbon. But we also want to ensure our members can recreate these great drinks at home. Therefore, entries will be judged on taste, convenience, relevance, appearance, and creativity. Your drink must NOT be PINK! 

Enter your winning bourbon cocktail recipe and read the full details here! Submissions are open from July 25th, 2023 to Sunday Aug 13th, 2023, 12 midnight PST. Our judges select 10 finalists by  August 18th – 5 professionals and 5 amateurs to compete in person in Louisville on September 28th in front of a room full of Bourbon Women and the contest judges. And we let the audience choose a crowd favorite as well! Each attendee will get the chance to taste all the cocktail participant’s cocktails as well!

Our competition includes both Amateur and Professional categories, and we encourage everyone with a tasty bourbon cocktail to share the creations with us.  Winners get bragging rights and a cash prize ($250 for Professional and $100 for Amateur).


What bourbons can I use?

  • Because Beam Suntory is our sponsor there are many to choose from: Jim Beam Black, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark, Maker’s 46 and Maker’s Cask Strength! Choose one that fits the flavor profile of the cocktail creation you’re making!

What is the submission period?

  • You can submit your cocktails from July 25th, 2023 to August 13th, 2023 at 12 midnight PDT. Entries that are late, misdirected, illegible or not received due to technical malfunction will not be eligible.

Which category do I enter, Amateur or Professional?

  • If you’ve ever been paid as a bartender or have professional experience as a cocktail creator/mixologist/bar professional please enter in the Professional category.  If you’re a hobbiest and haven’t been paid to create cocktails, please select Amateur.

How will the cocktails be judged?

  • Entries will be judged on taste, balance, creativity, presentation, and ease of recreation. Above all, that they showcase and elevate the bourbon in the cocktail. While we encourage creativity to make the bourbon shine in the cocktails, we do like for the cocktails to be approachable in terms of re-creation of the cocktail in a home environment. Exotic, hard to find, and out of season ingredients or garnishes are not encouraged. Allergens must be clearly identified and any egg products must be pasteurized.
  • A group of judges selected by Bourbon Women and the Beam Suntory team will judge the cocktails in person at the September 28th event. Each cocktail will be scored on the above criteria. The totals will be used to select a winning cocktail in the Amateur and Professional categories.
  • Be sure to review all the rules before submitting. They are spelled out in detail here.
  • Judges will score the cocktail on the following criteria:
    Taste/Aroma: 20%
    Balance: 20%
    Showcases the Bourbon: 20%
    Originality/Creativity: 20%
    Presentation/Story: 10%
    Simplicity/Ease of recreation: 10%

Is my travel/lodging to the finals reimbursed?

  • All finalists are responsible for their own travel to the event and for lodging required.  Bourbon Women and Beam Suntory will not reimburse finalists for travel/lodging expenses.

When will I know if I’m a finalist?

  • All finalists will be notified on or by August 18th 2023, Finalists MUST be able to attend the competition in person in Louisville, KY on September 28th, 2023

What happens at the finals?

  • You’ll be creating your cocktail for the Bourbon Women attendees and the judges at the event.  For the judges, you’ll create full cocktails in the glassware you provide. Before guests arrive, you’ll prepare your cocktail for the judges.  You’ll walk judges through your inspiration for the cocktail, your method, the creative elements you used, and any themes or concepts you used that are important to the creation or assessment of the cocktail.  We want to know how you’re highlighting the bourbon, how you’re pairing the flavor elements with the whiskey, how you’re creating a themed and cohesive flavor experience, and what you want your cocktail sippers to experience as they sip the cocktail. You won’t be required to demonstrate the cocktail to all attendees at once, just work with the judges as they come to your table as a group to receive their cocktails for tasting.
  • During the rest of the evening, you’ll be serving sample sizes of your garnish cocktail to attendees in plastic branded cups provided by the sponsor.  Attendees will want to know flavors, process, your inspiration, etc. They’ll be voting on their favorite cocktail as well.

Who provides the alcohol? Who covers the cost of the ingredients for the contest?

  • Similar to many other cocktail contests, the sponsor covers the cost of the bourbon and liqueurs/spirits products used in the contest for the in-person event, but not for the initial submissions. Additional ingredients like mixers, juices, syrups, garnishes, bitters, and the like should be provided by the contestant at the in-person event. Before you arrive, the event planning team will confirm how much of your selected spirit/liqueurs you will need and will have that, ice, and cups for attendees available for you.

I’m not a professional photographer, do I have to send a picture?

  • Yes, a picture is required. First, it helps us know the color of the cocktail. As stated above, the finished cocktail cannot be pink. Second, it helps the judges selecting the finalists know how the garnish, glassware, and beverage all fit together.
  • For a great picture, make sure the cocktail is shot against an uncluttered background, that it is well-lit and that the final image is a good representation of the color and glassware and garnish method for the drink.

Can my drink be dark pink? Can it have a wine float?

  • While you can have a wine float on the drink, we do not want drinks that are pink-colored. This contest is meant to push back at the stereotype that women want girly, pink cocktails. Our members have made it clear from the beginning. They want complex, bourbon-forward, creative cocktails that surprise and inspire them.

What are the prizes?

  • The Amateur category winner receives $100. The Professional category winner receives $250. Both get bragging rights.

What happens with my recipe?

  • Winning recipes and finalist recipes will be published on the Bourbon Women website – so we encourage you to create cocktails you love that you want to share with the world. Bourbon Women reserves the right to edit and to publish all materials received whether or not an entrant receives a prize.

What if my cocktail uses homemade infusions or syrups?

  • That’s fine! But, it’s important that the cocktail be approachable in terms of ingredients that are readily available in person or via mail. If you’re creating an infusion or syrup from scratch it’s important to give full details and recipes to recreate those steps at home. Our members love to recreate cocktails they enjoy – giving them all the tools they need to do so just makes it easier for them to relate to and recreate the drink.

Will ice be provided at the in-person finals?

  • Hotel or restaurant quality ice will be provided at the venue. If you wish to serve cocktails to the judges over specialty ice you will need to coordinate that on your own.  In some cases, contestants have brought specialty ice for the judges but served the cocktails for the attendees over the provided ice.  However, specialty ice or clear ice is not required for the cocktails submitted for the contest.



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