Manhattan Experience: Cocktail Competition Awards Detroit Winner!

By: Amber Ogden | February 24, 2016
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On Monday, Feb. 22,’s Manhattan Experience Sponsored by Woodford Reserve held a regional competition at Detroit’s Marble Bar, pitting local bartenders against each other to find the best Manhattan in the city of Detroit.

Of the six local bartenders who competed, Rick Paulger of Roast was declared the winner.

Paulger’s winning cocktail, The Benchmark, was concocted with Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, applewood cold smoked maple syrup, Campari, bittercube orange bitters and orange peel garnish.

Manhattan Experience

(Photo courtesy of Nick Carter)

“Rick’s cocktail was an absolute standout at the competition. His creative use of the applewood cold smoked maple syrup really highlighted the aroma and flavor notes of the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked in the perfect way,” Shane Bang, judge of the Manhattan Experience and USBG President, said.

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“He also showed a huge amount of personality and charm while serving his cocktail, which really stood out to the judges. We are excited to have such a great cocktail and personality representing us on a national level.”

As the next step in the competition, Paulger will join all other regional winners for an educational trip to the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Louisville on Sunday, March 13 and Monday, March 14. From there, and the USBG will select six finalists to compete in April’s final event in New York City for the chance to be named winner of the Manhattan Experience Sponsored by Woodford Reserve.

For the full story on Detroit’s regional Manhattan Experience Sponsored by Woodford Reserve competition, click here.