Our Favorite Kentucky Derby Cocktails

Editor
These boozy drinks are Triple Crown-worthy
kentucky derby mint julep
bhofack2 / istockphoto

Every year on the first Saturday in May, people go all out for “the most exciting two minutes in sports” — the Kentucky Derby. We’re talking dapper outfits and floppy oversized hats, fat cigars, roses and high-stakes gambling. Of course, alcohol is a large part of these celebrations, and while you won’t be shamed for drinking beer, this day is all about craft cocktails. From the classic mint julep and beyond, there’s no horsing around with these liquid libations.

Mint Julep

Mint Julep
Bhofack2 / Dreamstime.com

A Kentucky Derby celebration is nothing without the mint julep. This iconic cocktail pulls out all the stops: fresh mint, sugar and delicious Kentucky bourbon. Yeehaw!

Click here to see the Mint Julep recipe.

Blackberry Mint Julep

Blackberry Mint Julep
Courtesy of Bay Kitchen Bar

If you don’t like to stray far from classics but crave a slight change, go for a blackberry mint julep. This recipe features bourbon, fresh lime, raspberry liqueur and fresh fruits.

Click here to see the Blackberry Mint Julep recipe.

The Finlandia Oaks Lily

The Finlandia Oaks Lily
Courtesy of Finlandia

It’s not bourbon, but it is the official vodka drink of the Kentucky Derby this year. A step up from your traditional vodka cran, the pretty Finlandia Oaks Lily also uses triple sec, sweet and sour mix, and a blackberry lemon garnish.

Click here to see the Finlandia Oaks Lily recipe.

Cidre Cimosa

Cidre Cimosa
Courtesy of Stella Artois Cidre

If you’re getting the party started early (perhaps a Derby brunch?), drinking a mimosa might make you feel better about boozing in the morning. Anyway — the Cidre Cimosa is a fun twist on the traditional mimosa. Instead of using prosecco or Champagne for bubbles, it gets a hard cider so you taste apple and orange.

Click here to see the Cidre Cimosa recipe.

‘New’ Fashioned

‘New’ Fashioned
Courtesy of Blade and Bow

If you’re feeling like the old fashioned is yesterday’s news, try the “New” Fashioned. This moderately sweet recipe features bourbon, citrus and elderflower (garnished with an orange slice and cherry, of course).

Click here to see the “New” Fashioned recipe.

Bourbon Ginger Cider

Bourbon Ginger Cider
invizbk / istockphoto.com

This boozy beverage is perfect for fall, but it’s equally tasteful during high-stakes horse races. Build the Bourbon Ginger Cider with apple cider, bourbon, ginger liqueur and fresh ginger, then garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Click here to see the Bourbon Ginger Cider recipe.

Pomegranate Whiskey Sour

Pomegranate Whiskey Sour
iuliia_n / istockphoto.com

This pretty pink drink looks refreshing — and it is. The fruity take on a whiskey sour is built with bourbon, citrus and pomegranate.

Click here to see the Pomegranate Whiskey Sour recipe.

Honey Bourbon Hot Toddy

Honey Bourbon Hot Toddy
bhofack2 / istockphoto.com

If you desire something warm and soothing, look no further than the Honey Bourbon Hot Toddy. This cozy drink features honey, citrus, whiskey and hot tea.

Click here to see the Honey Bourbon Hot Toddy recipe.

Woodford Spire

Woodford Spire
Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

This bourbon cocktail is made with refreshing lemonade and cranberry juice. It’s also super easy to batch for Kentucky Derby watch parties.

Click here to see the Woodford Spire recipe.

Bourbon Peach Cooler

Bourbon Peach Cooler
Courtesy of Woodford Reserve/Churchill Downs

Iced tea and peaches are about as Southern as it gets. This country drink blends those flavors with bourbon, peach schnapps, peach nectar, unsweetened iced tea and an optional dash of bitters. This recipe comes from David Danielson, executive chef of  Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.

Click here to see the Bourbon Peach Cooler recipe.

Bourbon Colada

Bourbon Colada
Jim Beam

Wishing you were beachside watching horses run the track? This take on a tropical piña colada will put some hair on your chest. All you need is bourbon, pineapple juice, coconut cream or liqueur and heavy whipping cream.

Click here to see the Bourbon Colada recipe.

Cherry Bourbon Smash

Cherry Bourbon Smash
Courtesy of Drizly

This soda-based beverage is kind of like an adult Shirley Temple (a Dirty Shirley), but with whiskey and different bubbles. The Cherry Bourbon Smash uses real muddled cherries instead of grenadine, plus a little lemon, bourbon (obviously) and Dr Pepper.

Click here to see the Cherry Bourbon Smash recipe.

Finnish Mule

Finnish Mule
Roxiller / istockphoto.com

You likely already know how delicious a Moscow Mule is, and this take is extra zesty. Instead of using unflavored vodka, the Finnish Mule calls for grapefruit and a garnish of cucumber, lime and ginger stalks.

Click here to see the Finnish Mule recipe.

Crown of Roses

Crown of Roses
Courtesy of The Fontaine

This drink is inspired by the garland of roses presented to the winner of the Kentucky Derby. It’s made with Crown Royal (or any other whiskey of your choosing), amaretto, pineapple juice, cranberry juice and bitters.

Click here to see the Crown of Roses recipe.

Blackberry- and Peach-Infused Bourbon

Blackberry- and Peach-Infused Bourbon
Courtesy of Drizly

This one takes a bit of forward planning, but the juice is worth the squeeze. After soaking sliced peaches and blackberries in a jar of whiskey, you’ll have delightfully fruity bourbon and some seriously spiked peaches and blackberries. Sounds like one of many summer cocktails you need to make this year.

Click here to see the Blackberry- and Peach-Infused Bourbon recipe.

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