The 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.

recibido julep


While Derby Day is typically associated with bourbon, don’t be afraid to mix things up, like you see here with a liberal take on the original that employs rum, scotch and watermelon.

1.75 oz Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva
1.5 oz Watermelon Juice
.3 oz Laphroaig Triple Wood
.3 oz mint syrup

Build in a julep cup with crushed ice. Garnish with a watermelon rind, and serve.



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

2.5 oz bourbon
8-10 mint leaves
1/2 oz 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.



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

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

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.



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.



Once thought to be a pre-Prohibition cocktail that was rediscovered in the ’90s, this drink was actually created in 1995 by bartender Adam Seger at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, KY.

1 oz bourbon
1/2 oz 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.

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