Kentucky Derby Cocktails

mint julepThe Kentucky Derby is known for two things – mint juleps and big hats. There’s also a horse race, but that’s secondary to the cocktails and hats. Regardless, millions of people will be watching, so that’s cause for some celebratory drinks.

The race itself only lasts two minutes, so like most drinking events, it’s best to start early and stay late. These Kentucky Derby cocktails should do the trick.

Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is the most famous Kentucky Derby cocktail and the preferred drink on race day.

2 1/2 ounces bourbon
8-10 mint leaves
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Crushed ice

Lightly muddle mint and simple syrup in silver julep cup. Add bourbon and then fill glass with crushed ice. Stir and then top with more crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

The Derby

A worthy drink in name alone, but it also tastes good.

1 ounce bourbon
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce orange curacao
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Kentucky Colonel

Pretty much the same drink as the Kentucky B&B, the Kentucky Colonel pairs bourbon with the herbal sweetness of Benedictine.

2 ounces bourbon
3/4 oz Benedictine
Lemon peel

Stir bourbon and Benedictine with ice, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

The Seelbach

This pre-prohibition cocktail originated at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, KY.

1 ounce bourbon
1/2 ounce Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura Bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Pour bourbon, Cointreau and bitters into a champagne flute, and stir. Top with champagne, stir once more and garnish with an orange twist.

Written by Kevin Gray

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