Kentucky Derby cocktails for your party
This year’s Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday of May, which is May 5th. This also happens to by Cinco de Mayo weekend. It’s also the annual Run for the Roses, so it’s really a perfect mix of reasons to celebrate warm weather with a Derby day party.
There are numerous Kentucky Derby events in the Twin Cities, but if you’re like us – you like to celebrate it with friends with a fun spring get together. Of course, there is only one quintessential Derby cocktail and that is the mint julep. And if you’ve managed to find yourself at the Kentucky Derby, then it will likely be made with the official sponsor of the Derby, Woodford Reserve. But there are other favorites…
The Maker’s “Classic” Mint Julep
It’s here. We have it. Maker’s Mark “Mint Julep”. You might just find yourself to be “classic”. Classic in your mint julep, classic in your attire and classic in your cars. If that’s the case, then you likely prefer your bourbon to be classic to. Well then… revel in a Maker’s Mark Classic Mint Julep and their classic recipe.
“This cocktail is as much a part of Southern culture as hospitality. With pronounced sugar and mint notes, the Mint Julep goes exceedingly well with long summer days, horses, pretty hats and good company.”
The bottles are in stock at South Lyndale Liquors. But hurry…
The Maker’s Mark Mint Julep Recipe
- 2 parts Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
- 1/2 part simple syrup
- Fresh mint leaves
In a Mint Julep cup, gently muddle 5-6 mint leaves with the simple syrup and bourbon. Add ice almost to the top of the glass, then pour more bourbon over the ice (if desired) and stir vigorously until the mixture is chilled and the glass frosted.
Garnish with a mint sprig. If you don’t have Mint Julep cups, try a Moscow Mule mug or large rocks glass. Like any form of cooking or cocktailing, if you’re entertaining and making these by the gross then set up a mixing station with ingredients prepared and laid out.
But what if we just said “Julep”. What would you craft? Tattersall Distillery has given us some tasty ideas…
The Blueberry Julep
Tattersall Distilling, a local award-winning distillery, is known for their craft cocktail creations. So it comes as no surprise that during one of the most fashion-forward sports events of the year, they’ve given us Tattersall alternative. They’ve also doubled down and offered up a Blueberry Margarita to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo with fancy cocktail style.
Blueberry Julep Recipe
- 2 ½ oz. Bourbon
- ½ oz. Tattersall Blueberry Liqueur
- ½ oz. Simple Syrup
- 8 Mint Leaves
In a lowball or Julep Cup, muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup. Add crushed ice, then add Bourbon and Blueberry Liqueur.
Stir, then fill with crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig.
Blueberry Margarita Recipe
- 2 oz. Tequila
- ¾ oz. Tattersall Blueberry Liqueur
- ¾ oz. Lime Juice
- ¾ oz. Simple Syrup or Agave Nectar
Shake over ice, serve in a cocktail glass (salt rim optional) and garnish with a basil leaf.
The Derby’s Special Julep
If you find yourself wanting to go with a bit of Kentucky flair, then consider the Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby recipe. This one was developed for the 2017 Derby. You can use the Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby edition bourbon seen in our end-cap photo above. It’s in stock!
This variation on the Mint Julep, created for Woodford Reserve’s 2017 Kentucky Derby $1,000 Mint Julep Cup, nods to the inspiration that Churchill Downs founder Meriwether Lewis Clark found in English horse races like the Epsom Derby by incorporating Pimm’s liqueur, elderflower cordial, and Earl Grey tea syrup. ~ Whiskeyadvocate.com
Woodford Reserve Julep Recipe
- 1½ oz Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
- ¼ oz Pimm’s Liqueur
- ½ oz Elderflower Cordial
- ¼ oz Woodford Reserve Mint Julep Simple Syrup
- 1 dash Earl Grey bitters
- Handful of mint
- Garnish: Baby’s breath, mint, and dehydrated edible blue cornflowers
Rub mint around the julep cup, expressing the essential oils. Add remaining ingredients and top with crushed ice. Churn ingredients with a bar spoon distributing the flavor. Top with additional crushed ice. Garnish with a bundle of baby’s breath and mint. Sprinkle with dehydrated edible blue cornflowers.
Bourbon – The Final Word
Maybe all this fancy muddling and stirring isn’t’ for you. In fact, maybe you’re more classic than the classic profile above. Maybe, just maybe… a good bourbon or whiskey makes any event special rather than the other way around. If all things good start and end with bourbon, and you live for the classics, then we have a recommendation for you. Classic Maker’s Mark. On the shelf and piled high at South Lyndale Liquors.