How to Make the Perfect Mint Julep and Why It's the Kentucky Derby's Official Drink

It's Kentucky Derby time, which means there will be loads of mint juleps consumed. Mint julep is the Kentucky Derby's official drink, and an easy beverage to make at home. For those who are looking to make mint juleps to celebrate 2021's biggest horse race here's what you need to do according to the official race site.

The Old Forester Mint Julep Recipe

  • 3 oz. Old Forester Mint Julep or any other fine bourbon
  • 0.75 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 3 mint sprigs, far garnish

Place the mint leaves in the bottom of the glass and then add the simple syrup. After that, gently press the mint leaves into the syrup. As mentioned by, "lightly pressing the mint allows for the oils to be expressed without adding bitterness." You would then add the bourbon and lightly stir. Add crushed ice and stir gently with a spoon, and add more crushed ice to fill the cup and stir again. The final step is to garnish the drink with a mint sprig crown.

How Did Mint Julep Become Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby?

It was declared the official drink in 1938, but as The Manual mentioned, there is no real explanation as to why this happened. Each year, Churchill Downs, the location of the Kentucky Derby serves as much as 120,00 juleps over the two days of races and use 1,000 pounds of mint and 60,000 pounds of ice while reaching that goal. It is normally made with Old Forrester, which is is the official bourbon Kentucky Derby mint julep since 2015.

How Much is A Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby?


If you want a mint julep at the Kentucky Derby, it won't be cheap and race-goers pay as much as $1,000 for the drink made with Woodford Reserve and served in a gold-plated glass. The standard price for a mint julep with a collector's cup is $15.

“Everyone is craving to sip a Mint Julep the first Saturday in May and to get back to normal!" David Danielson, executive chef of Churchill Downs said in a recent interview with Daily Beast. "I think we’ll hit about 50,000 Juleps served this year.” This year's Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday and will be the 147th running of the race. The horse that is favored to win is Essential Quality who is undefeated in five starts, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Blue Grass Stakes. Last year's Kentucky Derby was pushed back to September 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.