Kentucky Derby Mint Julep & Cocktail Recipes: See All The Tasty Drinks – Hollywood Life

40 Delicious Mint Julep & Cocktail Recipes To Make Your Kentucky Derby Party A Winner

It wouldn’t be ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports’ without a mint julep. Yet, we have all kinds of cocktails – from tequila to vodka – so that your Kentucky Derby party takes the top prize!

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The Mint Julep has been a part of American horseracing culture since the 1820s but didn’t become the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby until 1939, after the end of Prohibition. With the end of Prohibition, the Kentucky bourbon has flowed, which has resulted in more than 120,000 mint juleps being served over the two days of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs. If you can’t make it down to Louisville in time for the 145th edition of the “Run for the Roses,” just use one of the many delicious recipes below. Remember: drink responsibly.

Want to celebrate the Kentucky Derby like a rockstar? Woodford Reserve, the Presenting Sponsor of the 145th Kentucky Derby & Official Bourbon of the Derby, is celebrating this year’s “Run for the Roses” with the Woodford Reserve 2019 $1,000 Mint Julep. The drink has earned such a price tag: it contains a locally made Kentucky Sweetener, the “simple syrup” of the julep recipe, which was laid to rest in a small oak barrel for 145 days within the famed Twin Spires of Churchill Downs.

It was the first time anything has been allowed to rest inside the spires, and Master Distiller Chris Morris and Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall are the two of the only people outside of the Churchill Downs staff who have been ever allowed to walk up the spires. In addition to this rare sweetener, the drink contains fresh mint grown on the grounds of Churchill Downs. Each $1,000 Silver Mint Julep cup will be presented in a wooden box lined with jockey silks featuring the iconic Woodford reserve bottle.

Of course, Kentucky Derby fans don’t need to drop a grand to enjoy a cocktail during the May 4 event. Just check out the following recipes from Woodford, Slow & Low, Templeton, Twelve Irish, Glenfiddich, Tullamore D.E.W., Hendrick’s, Basil Hayden’s, Cointreau, Knob Creek, V.S.O.P Privilège Cognac, Ketel One, Ruffino Prosecco, SVEDKA, Blue Moon, Guinness, Angry Orchard and more. There’s even a “skinny mint julep” for those who are looking to cut back on calories and sugars. Plus, if you need further inspiration, consider pursuing David Burtka‘s new book, Life Is A Party: Deliciously Doable Recipes to Make Every Day a Celebration. 

Woodford Spire

This cocktail is also served at Churchill Downs for anyone who doesn’t want a Mint Julep. Also great as a “batched cocktail” to serve to friends at any Derby Watching Parties

1.5 parts Woodford Reserve
2 parts Lemonade
1 part cranberry juice
Crushed Ice
Lemon peel for a lemon twist to garnish

Method: In a glass mix Woodford Reserve, lemonade and Cranberry juice with a bar spoon. Add the liquid mixture into a copper cup, add crushed ice to the top of the glass & serve with a lemon twist.

The Perfect Mint Julep

2 parts Woodford Reserve
1 part Water
1 tsp. Sugar
Crushed Ice
4 sprigs Fresh Mint

Method: Express the essential oils in the mint and rub them inside the glass or copper cup. To the same glass, add sugar, water, bourbon, and crushed ice. Stir. Garnish with more crushed ice and fresh mint.

Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye Whiskey 1884 Julep

3 parts Slow & Low Rock and Rye Whiskey
0.5 parts Simple Syrup‚ preferably Demerara
10 sprigs mint (Reserve 1 sprig for garnish)

Method: Muddle whiskey and mint in a mixing glass. Add ice‚ stir. Fill a tin julep mug with crushed ice. Double strain contents of mixing glass over crushed ice. Garnish with an expressed mint bouquet.

Templeton Mint Julep

7.5 ml Simple syrup
8 Mint leaves
60 ml Templeton Rye
Dash of bitters

Garnish: Mint Leaf

Method: In a Julep cup or rocks glass, lightly muddle the mint and syrup. Add Templeton and pack tightly with crushed ice. Stir until the cup is frosted on the outside. Top with more crushed ice to form an ice dome and garnish with a few drops of bitters, if desired, and a mint sprig.

Proper Julep

2 oz Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey
1 barspoon .25 oz raw sugar
8-10 Mint Leaves
Crushed Ice

Method: Lightly muddle ¾ of the mint leaves and sugar into the cup. Add Proper No. Twelve Whiskey and crushed ice. Garnish with mint

The Finlandia Oaks Lily®
The Official Drink of the Kentucky Oaks

1 ¼ oz. Finlandia Classic Vodka
1 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
¼ oz. Triple Sec
3 oz. Cranberry Juice

Method: Combine ingredients over crushed ice in an Official Oaks Lily souvenir glass. Garnish with a fresh blackberry and lemon peel.

The Finnish Line

1 ¼ ounces Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka
4 ounces  Sparkling Grapefruit Water
Grapefruit Slice

Methods: Combine ingredients over crushed ice. Garnish with a grapefruit slice

Pepper’s Pride

2 ounces Hillrock Solera Bourbon
1 ounces amontillado sherry
1/2 ounce Benedictine
1/2 ounce Ancho Reyes chili liquor

Method: Rim rocks glass with crushed dried Ancho chilis (agave will hold best as well as adding a sweetness to the balance the capsaicin).  Combine ingredients in a shaker and give a short stir, fill the rocks glass with ice and pour the contents over the shaker over the top and garnish with an orange peel

D’USSE Mint Julep 

2½ parts D’USSÉ ® VSOP Cognac
½ part simple syrup
2– 4 sprigs of mint
Crushed ice

Method: Place simple syrup in a julep glass with 5 or 6 mint leaves and muddle. Fill the glass halfway with ice, add 1½ parts D’USSÉ ® VSOP Cognac and stir. Add more ice and remaining D’USSÉ ®.  Stir again until the glass is fully frosted. Top with ice.

GARNISH: Fresh mint

Woodford Reserve Classic Mint Julep
Created by David Danielson, Executive Chef of Churchill Downs – Home of the Kentucky Derby.

2 ounces Woodford Reserve ®
½ ounces Simple Syrup
3 Fresh Mint Leaves
Crushed Ice

Method: Express the essential oils in the mint and rub them inside the glass. To the same glass, add simple syrup, bourbon, and crushed ice. Stir. Garnish with more ice and fresh mint.

Skinny Mint Julep
A new drink for this year and great for anyone looking to cut back on sugar. Created by David Danielson, Executive Chef of Churchill Downs – Home of the Kentucky Derby.

2 ounces Woodford Reserve ®
1 ounce Skinny mint syrup
1 mint sprig
Crushed Ice

Method: Fill a julep glass with crushed ice. Add skinny mint syrup. Top with Woodford Reserve bourbon. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

Skinny Simple Syrup

1 ½ cup Water
¼ cup stevia
1 cup mint leaves

Method: In a small saucepot, combine water and stevia. Bring to a boil and cook until stevia in completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Add mint leaves. Steep for one hour at room temperature. Strain mint and transfer syrup to storage container until needed. Best kept in the refrigerator.

Kentucky Mule
Created by David Danielson, Executive Chef of Churchill Downs – Home of the Kentucky Derby.

1 ½ ounces bourbon
3 ounces ginger beer
Squeeze of 1 lime wedge
Lime wedge for garnish

Method: Combine the bourbon, ginger beer, and a squeeze of liem in a rocks glass filled with ice. Stir the mixture. Garnish with a lime. Serve.

Bourbon Peach Cooler
Created by David Danielson, Executive Chef of Churchill Downs – Home of the Kentucky Derby.

1 ½ ounces bourbon
¼ ounce peach schnapps
2 ounces peach nectar
1 ounce of unsweetened iced tea
1 dash of peach bitters (optional)
Peach slice for garnish

Method: In a shaker filled with ice, combine the bourbon, schnapps, peach nectar, iced tea, and bitters. Shake the mixture vigorously and strain it into a tall glass with ice. Garnish with the peach slice and serve.

Glenfiddich Malt Julep
Created by Allan Roth, Glenfiddich Ambassador

2 parts Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Bourbon Barrel Reserve
Bruised mint Leaves
¼ part simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Method: Build with crushed ice and garnish with mint sprigs in a traditional julep cup.

Tully Smash
Created by Tim Herlihy, National Ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W.

2 parts Tullamore D.E.W. Original
½ part fresh lemon juice
¾ part rich demerara syrup
8 mint leaves
2 lemon wedges
3 brandied cherries

Method: Add Tullamore D.E.W., Lemon Juice, and syrup to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over a glass filled with fresh pebble ice. Garnish with lemon wedges, mint leaves, and cherries.

Hendrick’s Mint Tulip
Created by Mattias Horseman, Hendrick’s Gin Ambassador

1 ½ parts Hendrick’s Gin
½ part Ancho Verde
½ part kiwi pineapple syrup
¼ part honey
½ part fresh lime juice
1 dash Bitterman’s Tiki Bitters

Method: Add ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a teacup filled with ice. Garnish with mint leaves.

Fistful Smash
Created by Charlotte Voisey, William Grant & Sons Director of Brand Advocacy

2 parts Fistful of Bourbon
½ part grapefruit oleo
½ part fresh lemon juice
10 loose mint leaves

Method: Combine ingredients and shake well. Strain over crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and grapefruit twist.

“Bayou Bet” (Mint Daiquiri)

1 1/2 ounces Bayou White rum (which is a favorite of the newly reformed Jonas Brothers.
1/2 ounce mint syrup
1/2 oz lime juice
½ oz grapefruit juice
5 mint leaves

Method: Garnish Grapefruit peel and mint serve up

Stoli Cucumber Mule

2 parts Stoli Cucumber
4 parts Stoli Ginger Beer
½ part Fresh Lime Juice
Cucumber + Mint for garnish

Method: Combine the Stoli Cucumber, Stoli Ginger Beer and Lime Juice over ice in a copper mug. Garnish with cucumber slices and mint.

elit Lotus Martini

3 parts elit
¼ part dry vermouth
3 dashes of grapefruit bitters
Grapefruit zest for garnish

Method: Stir in a mixing glass and fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with grapefruit zest.

Spring Dream Mojito

2 ounces Barefoot Prosecco
1 ounce Shellback Rum
¾ ounce Lemon Juice
½ ounce Simple Syrup
8 Mint Leaves + 1 for garnish

Method: Place mint leaves, rum, juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to break up the mint leaves and chill ingredients. Strain into a glass over ice. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with a remaining mint leaf

The Raspberry Thyme Margarita

1 ounce Cointreau
1.5 ounce Blanco Tequila
.75 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
3 raspberries
2 thyme sprigs

Method: Combine Cointreau, Blanco Tequila, Fresh Lemon Juice, Raspberries, and Thyme into a cocktail shaker. Shake all ingredients and strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with Raspberries and Thyme Sprig.

The Garden Basil Margarita

1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce Blanco Tequila
1 ounce Sparkling Apple Cider
1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
3 basil leaves

Method: Add Cointreau, Blanco Tequila, Fresh Lime Juice, and Basil into a cocktail shaker. Shake all ingredients and strain over a large rock. Finish with Sparkling Apple Cider. Garnish with Basil.

Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon Thyme Julep
Recipe by Frank Liotti (New York, NY)

2 parts Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon
1 bar spoon Simple Syrup
1 dash Angostura® Bitters
6 Fresh Thyme Sprigs (one for garnish)

Method: Muddle fresh thyme in a rocks glass. Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until cold. Fine strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a toasted thyme sprig.

Knob Creek® Mint Julep

1½ parts Knob Creek® Bourbon
2 bunches mint
1 part simple syrup
1 splash soda

Method: Mix sprigs of mint with simple syrup and a splash of soda. Fill a highball glass with fine crushed ice and pour in the bourbon. Lift out and decorate with two mint leaves. Add powdered sugar over mint to add an optional frosted appearance.

Georgia Mint Julep
Sophisticated Update to an Old Kentucky Favorite

2 ounce  Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Cognac
25 ounce Apricot Brandy
.25 ounce Heavy simple syrup (2:1)
8 tender mint sprigs (slim stems)
Garnish: Mint sprig sprinkled powdered sugar
Glass: Julep Cup

Method: Place 8 mint sprigs in the bottom of the julep cup, add the liquids, now fill half full with crushed ice, stir to combine and chill, top with more crushed ice to just above the rim of the glass. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and a small dusting of powdered sugar on top.

French Julep
Created by Juan Arboleda and available at Shoo Shoo in NYC

2 ounce Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Cognac
1 ounce ginger/green tea syrup*
¾ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of mint
Garnish: Mint sprig, Peychaud’s bitters
Glassware: Chilled Rocks Glass

Method: Add all ingredients to a small tin. Add ice – shake – strain. Garnish with 3-4 dashes of bitters and mint sprig.

*Ginger/ Green Tea Syrup

4 cup chopped ginger root
4 green tea bags
3 cups water
3 cups sugar

Method: Add water and sugar into a medium-sized pot on med-high heat. Once sugar is dissolved, add ginger (stir occasionally). As the simple base begins to turn color and ginger become soft, remove from heat add green tea bags and cover. When the mixture cools, strain through a tea strainer. Yield: (approx.) 1qt

Lady Kombucha Cooler

1½ ounces Ketel One Botanical Cucumber & Mint
1 lemon wedge, squeezed and juiced
3 ounces Health-Ade Pink Lady Apple Kombucha

1 thin slice apple
1 lemon twist

Method: Add the Ketel One Botanical and the lemon juice to a chilled glass with ice. Top with the kombucha and garnish with the apple slice and lemon twist.

Cucumber-Mint Cooler

There is perhaps nothing more fresh tasting than a cucumber-mint cocktail. We love the addition of spicy ginger and tart lime, which keep you coming back for more.

1 small cucumber, cut into thin rounds
1 (2-inch) knob ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
4 sprigs mint
2 lime wedges
2 ounces Ketel One Botanical Cucumber & Mint vodka
6 ounces of sparkling water

Method: In a large glass, add the cucumber, ginger, 2 mint sprigs, lime, and vodka and muddle together until all the essential oils are released. Then strain into a new glass filled with ice. Finish with sparkling water and garnish with the remaining sprigs of mint and additional lime wedges or cucumber slices, if desired.

Ruffino Citrus Reviver

2 parts Ruffino Prosecco
3 clementine wedges + more for garnish
6-7 mint leaves + more for garnish
1 part white rum
¾ parts lemon juice
¾ parts simple syrup

Method: Muddle the clementine wedges with the mint. Add in the remaining ingredients except for the Ruffino Prosecco. Shake and fine strain (double strain) into a highball glass with ice. Top with prosecco and garnish with fresh mint sprigs and clementine wedges.

Clicquot Rich Mint Julep (Clicquot Rich + Mint + Lime)

5-6 large ice cubes
1-2 slices of lime
4-5 mint leaves
Veuve Clicquot Rich Champagne

Method: Place 5 ice cubes in a large wine glass, add lime slices, top with Veuve Clicquot Rich, and finish with mint leaves

SVEDKA Raspberry Julep

2 parts Svedka Raspberry
1/2 part Simple Syrup
Splash Club Soda
9 Mint Leaves

Method: Build in a rocks glass. Muddle mint lightly and add SVEDKA Raspberry and simple syrup. Fill with finely crushed ice. Garnish with a mint leaf and/or raspberries.

Casa Noble Buried Treasure

2 oz Casa Noble Crystal Tequila
0.75 oz orange-chamomile simple syrup (see recipe below)
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.25 oz spiced rum
2 dashes bitters
Orange zest
Tarragon sprig

Method: Combine all ingredients, except orange zest and tarragon, into mixing glass and stir. Strain into glass over ice. Squeeze orange zest; rub around the rim and drop into glass. Garnish with tarragon.

Orange-Chamomile Simple Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 chamomile tea bags
1 orange tea bag

Method: Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves and water begins to boil. Remove from heat; add tea bags. Let steep for 1 hour, then cool.

Sweet Kentucky Moon

4 ounce Sweet Iced tea
1 ounce Lemon Juice
1.5 ounce Bourbon
6 ounce Blue Moon
Lemon Garnish

Method: Combine and enjoy

Blue Moon Mist

1 ounce Aperol
1 ounce Lemon Juice
10 ounce Blue Moon
Orange Garnish

Method: Combine and enjoy

Black Velvet

1 part Guinness Extra Stout
1 part Champagne

Method: Fill half of a flute with Champagne, and top with Guinness Extra Stout.

Guinness Bloody Mary

1.5 ounce Ketel One® Vodka
3 ounce tomato juice
2 pinches celery salt
2 pinches pepper
Seafood seasoning
2 dashes hot sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 squeeze lemon
2 ounces Guinness® Draught

Method: Add all ingredients except beer into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake gently and strain into an ice-filled glass. Top off the drink with Guinness® Draught beer. Garnish with a celery stalk and lime wedge.

Rosé Cider Julep

4-5 ounce Angry Orchard Rosé Cider
0.5 ounce Bourbon
0.5 ounce Creme de Cassis
0.5 ounce Simple Syrup
6-8 Mint Leaves

Method: Muddle mint in the bottom of a Julep Tin. Add the rest of the ingredients and then fill the Julep Tin with crushed ice. Garnish with a lavish mint bouquet.

Kiwi Cooler

This refreshing cocktail is infused with HI-CHEW, the immensely fruity, intensely chewy candy, for a delicious, fruit-forward taste, perfect for day-long Derby festivities.

1 ounce HI-CHEW Kiwi infused lemon & lime juice**
2 ounce orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cucumber wheels (from about 1⁄4 cucumber)
1⁄4 cup mint leaves
1.5 oz Pimm’s liqueur (optional)

Method: In a cocktail shaker, gently muddle the sugar, cucumber, and mint, just until the sugar dissolves. Measure in the juice and Pimm’s (if using), and shake with ice. Strain over crushed ice in a rocks glass, garnish with fresh mint and a cucumber wheel. **INFUSIONS: For juices, the infusion ratio is one piece of candy per ounce of liquid. Cut the candy into pieces and soak until dissolved.


There should be something here for everyone. Once again – remember to drink responsibly.