And down the stretch they come! These are the final words millions of people around the world will be clutching their hats to as their prized-picked horses sprint their way to the finish line for the biggest horse race of the year – the Kentucky Derby.
The greatest two minutes in sports, will take place May 4th for the 145th annual Kentucky Derby and oh are we excited. Not just because we get to attend watch parties with more flowers, feathers and bows you can imagine while judging ridiculously fabulous hats bopping around on TV, but because we get to enjoy our favorite Southern libations. Whether your drinking a Mint Julep or indulging in something a little different, we can bet it is made with a smooth Kentucky bourbon.
For those who choose to host, it’s important to put out your best and give your guests some of that sweet, southern hospitality. We’ve concocted a list of cocktails using five various bourbons perfect for your derby party.
At the starting gate we have the official sponsor of the Kentucky Derby paired with the South’s most prized recipe - the Woodford Reserve Mint Julep. This is a necessity at any race-watching party and is sure to be a crowd pleaser for those who enjoy a fine bourbon paired with refreshing, semi-sweet flavors.
Woodford Reserve Mint Julep
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 gently and garnish with more ice and fresh mint.
Quarter Horse Kentucky
Named after the breed built for speed, Quarter Horse is the perfect slow sipper to fill your glasses on Derby Day. It’s smooth and rich oak flavors leave hints of sweet caramel and aromas roasted nuts.
- 1 ounce Quarter Horse Kentucky Bourbon
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
- Lime wedge or mint leaf
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon, lime, sweet vermouth, and Grand Marnier and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge or mint leaf.
Maker’s Mark is a staple in many home bars, often mixed with ginger ale, but tis the season to time to step it up a notch. Serve this sipper in a flute filled with sparkling apple cider.
- 1 ounce Maker’s Mark Bourbon
- Sparkling apple cider
- Maraschino cherry
Add Maker’s Mark to a Champagne flute. Top with chilled sparkling apple cider and garnish with a cherry.
Bulleit Mules have become a booming trend over the past few years and its growing popularity spawned many variations using an array of flavors and spirits. Well, here is another one. Pair your white gloves and floppy hats with a mule made with the Derby’s spirit – a bourbon mule.
Add all liquid ingredients into a copper cup. Stir gently and garnish with a lime wedge.
Horse Soldier is crafted by the real heroes depicted in the movie 12 Strong who bravely rod to war on horses against the Taliban, making this bourbon the perfect pick for a Kentucky-based race. We’ve decided to keep this cocktail simple – straight up. Impress your guests by surprising them with a bourbon trick: Take a straw and add two drops of water to their bourbon neat. It actually changes the flavor profiles and enhances its natural aromas.
Horse Solider Bourbon
- 2 ounces Horse Solider Bourbon
Best served neat or on the rocks. Don’t forget the trick up top to treat your guests.