Okay, so maybe you won’t be wearing an extravagant hat as you watch the Kentucky Derby on Saturday (May 4). Maybe you won’t have big money on a horse you just met on a television screen or a spot to stand and scream your lungs out on the front stretch.

Rather, you may be sitting on your couch in your grimy sweats.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t drink the exact same drink that the ritzy socialites will be drinking at Churchill Downs. Yes, you can get fancy and whip up your very own Woodford Reserve Classic Mint Julep to sip during the big race. Borrowed from our friends at the Kentucky Derby, this recipe features the classic mint julep ingredients of water, fresh mint, sugar and crushed ice.

And don’t forget the bourbon! For the love of big hats, don’t skimp on the bourbon.

“Woodford is a very smooth bourbon,” Churchill Downs’ executive chef David Danielson said in a recent interview. “It has a great flavor profile and delicious caramel notes.”

Indeed, it doesn't get fancier than this drink. And here's a history lesson for you to ponder.

“Historically, juleps were a sign of prosperity,” Danielson noted. “Ice was a commodity, and so when you wanted to entertain or show people you were in society, you showed people you had ice. If you had crushed ice piled high in a glass, you were really doing well.”

So what are you waiting for? Don’t get left at the gate!

Woodford Reserve Classic Mint Julep Recipe:


2 oz. Woodford Reserve®
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
3 Fresh Mint Leaves
Crushed Ice


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.

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