What to know about the Kentucky Derby drink


Every Louisville citizen has an opinion about the Mint Julep, the long-standing official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby.

Some say it’s for tourists, others say it’s the perfect drink for Kentucky Derby Day.

Some Kentucky Derby Grinch say they never drink mint juleps, while other experienced Derby attendees say they only drink them fresh.

Whatever your thoughts, mint juleps are a Kentucky Derby staple. And I thought I’d share a little bit of information about a typical cocktail, whether you want to try it or give it a cold shoulder.

What is a mint julep?

Cigars and mint juleps on the day of the 147th Annual Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. May 1, 2021

The most basic mint julep is a cocktail made with bourbon, mint, and simple syrup.

Served at Churchill Downs for nearly a century, it actually originated as a breakfast drink.

Bourbon historian Michael Beach states that mint julep was invented in the 18th century by Kentucky farmers for planting, harvesting, and tending livestock.



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