Our Favorite Kentucky Derby Cocktails
May 3, 2019
These boozy drinks are Triple Crown-worthy
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.
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.
The Finlandia Oaks Lily
Courtesy of Finlandia
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.
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.
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.
Honey Bourbon Hot Toddy
bhofack2 / istockphoto.com
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.
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.
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.
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