• Johnny Avens of Roof pouring the winning cocktail

I’m a bourbon drinker, so I was more than happy to be asked to serve as a judge at a manhattan mix-off last night. Sponsored by Woodford Reserve and Esquire, the event was held in Quay‘s back room overlooking the river, drawing a crowd of about 200 for the free food and booze. Joining me as judges were the Trib‘s Lauren Viera and Roscoe’s Tavern barkeep Shawn Hazen, the winner of last year’s contest. We were told that more than 160 recipes had been submitted and vetted. Of the five finalists, two were familiar faces from our Cocktail Challenge: Kris von Dopek of Duchamp and Tim Williams, who’s recently started his own business, Pour Souls.