Cocktail Corner: Kentucky Derby Day Drinks

Posted on May 3 by SEASONS Magazine

Early Times makes the official Mint Julep of the 2013 Kentucky Derby. (courtesy photo)

Early Times makes the official Mint Julep of the 2013 Kentucky Derby. (courtesy photo)

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

It’s Kentucky Derby time this weekend, and although all I know about the leaderboard is that Orb is favored to win, I know enough about Kentucky Derby Day traditions to know whichever horse your money’s on, y’all should be cheering ’em on with a Mint Julep.

This ice-cold cocktail is generally made with fresh mint leaves, sugar, a little bit of water and a whole lot of Bourbon. It’s kind of hard to go wrong with that combination, but here are a few fun recipes I found to share with you.

The “official” drink of the Derby (and how can you not love a sporting event with its own official drink?) is the  Early Times Mint Julep, which features Early Times Kentucky Bourbon served in a commemorative silver cup. You can also purchase the pre-made versions of this cocktail in a limited-edition Early Times Mint Julep artist bottle. This year’s bottle (pictured) features the work of Celeste Susany, one of the nation’s premier equine painters.

Esquire has a recipe for Brandy Julep, made with Cognac and Rum. has a Rum Julep recipe that uses simple syrup, which is also recommended by many mixologists as a timesaver if you’re serving a crowd.

Emeril Lagasse makes a Mint Julep Martini with Belvedere Vodka, which sounds pretty fabulous, not to mention refreshing, as does this Frozen Mint Julep, from the official Kentucky Derby party planning page.


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When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”


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