Behold, The $1,000 Mint Julep

Every year, nearly 120,000 mint juleps are consumed during the two-day Kentucky Derby event, enough to collectively fill every oversized hat in Churchill Downs. Woodford Reserve has served as a presenting sponsor for the last 13 years, offering up a pricey mint julep program with proceeds going to a designated charity. This year’s benefits The Jennifer Lawrence Fund, supporting a variety of organizations delivering arts access and education.

The price tag is thanks to the silver vehicle in which the cocktail is served. (You can raise the stakes by purchasing the gold-plated $2,500 “Commonwealth” cup as well). Reflecting this year’s theme—“Best of Kentucky”—the bedazzled silver bluegrass cup is produced by local jeweler, From the Vault, and features many iconic Derby symbols. (Think the twin spires of Churchill Downs, thoroughbred and jockey imagery and running lines symbolizing limestone-filtered water, a key ingredient in making the very best bourbon, also rich in calcium and magnesium, strengthening horses’ bones.)

Watching the race from the comfort of your couch? Here’s how to make the mint julep at home—and it won’t cost you a fortune.

Woodford Reserve® 2018 Kentucky Derby® Mint Julep


2 mint leaves, preferably Kentucky Colonel
2 ounces Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
1 teaspoon Woodford County, Kentucky sorghum simple syrup


Rub the mint around a julep cup, expressing the essential oils. Add the remaining ingredients and top with crushed ice made from limestone-filtered water sourced from the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Stir and top with additional crushed ice and a garnish of 3 red roses, a sprig of mint and a single rose petal (symbolizing the Garland of Roses that’s draped around the winning horse).

Image courtesy of Woodford Reserve.

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