giphyCalling all Derby dames and dolls in need of Kentucky classic for your race day party – look no further than a twist on tradition with these mint julep based cocktails. The mint julep has been part of the Kentucky racing tradition since the 19th century, when jockey clubs gave out sterling silver julep cups as trophies. The drink, which is a mixture of Kentucky bourbon, sugar, water and mint, became the official Derby cocktail in 1939. If you are not joyous for julep then try out these other race inspired drinks fit for any Derby festivity.

Henry Clay Mint Julep

  • 2 ounces Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • Soda water
  • 8 to 10 mint leaves
  • Crushed ice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Lemon twist

Place mint leaves, sugar and a small measure of bourbon in a glass. Muddle with spoon. Half fill the glass with ice and gently agitate the mixture. Fill with remaining ice, add the rest of bourbon and top off with soda water. Garnish with fresh sprig of mint and a twist of lemon. Gently dust with sugar.

Brown Derby Cocktail

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 ounce honey
  • Grapefruit twist

Shake first three ingredients together, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with grapefruit twist.

The Derby Apple Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounce apple cider
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters

Shake first four ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an apple slice and fresh thyme.

Poppa’s Pride Cocktail

About the recipe: This digestive cocktail comes from Jay Zimmerman, owner of Sekend Sun in Astoria, Queens, who claims the bitters and ginger will help your belly deal with all those extra cocktails you might imbibe while watching the Kentucky Derby.

  • 2 ounces Kentucky bourbon
  • 4 ounces ginger beer
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 2 lemon wedges
  • Soda water
  • Angostura bitters

Add bourbon, ginger beer, lemon and mint to shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Serve in highball glass and float 3-5 dash angostura bitters on top. Garnish with mint sprig.

The Wild West Cocktail

About the recipe: Craig Schoettler, property mixologist at the Lobby Bar in the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, adds citrus and cranberry juice ice cubes to make this festive drink.

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ¾ ounces simple syrup
  • ¼ ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice
  • Cranberry juice

Pour cranberry juice into ice cube tray and freeze overnight. Shake first four ingredients and pour over three to four cranberry ice cubes.

Recipes and Gif