Celebrate Kentucky Derby Heritage With The Perfect Mint Julep Recipe

The Kentucky Derby was postponed until Sept. 5, but you can still enjoy this classic bourbon cocktail at home.

Woodford Reserve

Normally on Saturday, May 2 we’d be dressed up in our finest seersucker attire, fancy hat tilted just so, lounging on the couch with the channel tuned to Churchill Downs to watch the Kentucky Derby—undeniably the greatest horse race on the planet this side of Ben Hur

Sadly, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this weekend’s Kentucky Derby will be postponed for only the second time in its rich 146-year history—the only other instance being in 1945, when World War II forced the race to move to June. But fret not, we have an at-home celebration that’s almost as good as actually being there.

Join bourbon maestros Woodford Reserve’s “Kentucky Derby at Home” celebration honoring the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports. The day-long virtual experience on the original date for the annual race, via @KentuckyDerby social channels. To get in the proper headspace, mix up Woodford Reserve’s exclusive Mint Julep (recipe below) and make sure to tune in  at 2 p.m. ET Saturday to catch Master Distiller Chris Morris chatting bourbon, horses and cocktails.

If you prefer to stay sober for some ungodly reason, expectant mom-to-be Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall will share her favorite mocktail recipes inspired by Derby cocktail classics. Then at 3 p.m. ET Morris and McCall will join Derby fans from all over the world for a Global Live Toast to the Derby to celebrate the September 5, 2020 postponed Run for the Roses.

If you need a little racing in your life, visit the official Kentucky Derby website to choose your favorite horse to win Churchill Downs’ first-ever virtual horse race — The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown. Join Churchill Downs in making a charitable donation to COVID-19 emergency relief efforts as the track has pledged to match up to $1 million of donations up to $2 million. From 3 to 6 p.m. ET, NBC will even be re-airing the legendary 2015 Kentucky Derby that began American Pharaoh’s magical Triple Crown run. 

Below is a recipe for Woodford Reserve’s classic Mint Julep. And if those flavors aren’t your thing, consider stirring up Woodford Reserve’s official cocktail for the Kentucky Derby, the Woodford Spire. 

Woodford Reserve Mint Julep Recipe

Woodford Reserve
  • 2 oz Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • 3 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • Crushed Ice

Express the essential oils in the mint and rub them inside the glass, then add simple syrup, bourbon, and crushed ice.
 Stir and garnish with more ice, fresh mint, and powdered sugar.

Woodford Spire Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • 2 oz Lemonade
  • 1 oz Cranberry Juice

Add ingredients to mixing glass and stir. Pour over ice and garnish with a lemon twist.