Kentucky Derby Cocktails Beyond The Mint Julep

The mint julep has been the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby for about a century, but what if you don't like mint or bourbon? There's no shame in saying "neigh" to the libation on race day. In fact, these drink recipes are just as worthy of getting the party started at home while you cheer on your favorite horse in a floppy hat from the couch.

Jungle Cat

The Jungle Cat uses Tom Cat Gin, which tastes similar to whiskey because of the way it's aged. This cocktail is a play on another drink called the Jungle Bird from The Aviary Bar in Malaysia, a country with some of the world's coolest waterfalls.

For the Jungle Cat recipe, click here.

Bee’s Knees

When someone says something is the "bee's knees," that's slang for "really good." This Prohibition-era recipe uses gin, lemon and honey, and is just that.

For the Bee's Knees recipe, click here.

Mint to Bee

This drink — cutely dubbed "Mint to Bee" — is a twist on a classic cocktail: the mojito. Instead of sugar or simple syrup, it gets honey syrup.

For the Mint to Bee recipe, click here.

Peach Sangria

Sangrias hit differently during warm-weather months, but if you close your eyes with one in hand, it feels like summer all the time. This creative rendition uses infused maple syrup.

For the Peach Sangria recipe, click here.

Matt’s Margarita

You may or may not be able to make it to the best American parks for fall colors this year, but you can still experience the flavors of the season in this version of a margarita featuring maple syrup.

For the Matt's Margarita recipe, click here.

Diane Crump Blackberry Mint Julep

One famous woman in history you may not know about is Diane Crump, the first-ever female to ride in the Kentucky Derby. This recipe was inspired by her and combines bourbon with blackberry preserves and mint.

For the Diane Crump Blackberry Mint Julep recipe, click here.


Woodford Spire

This recipe for a Woodford Spire comes straight from Churchill Downs, which hosts the Kentucky Derby every year. It's made with bourbon, lemonade and cranberry juice — a simple mashup of refreshing flavors perfect for hot days.

For the Woodford Spire recipe, click here.

Southern Sweet Tea Jam

This cocktail rounds out a fan-favorite Southern refresher, sweet tea, with strawberry preserves, simple syrup and lemon juice.

For the Southern Sweet Tea Jam recipe, click here.

Giddy-up Grapefruit Sour

There are 101 ways to cook an egg, but did you know you could drink one too? This sour features tequila, grapefruit, lime, jalapeno simple syrup and egg white.

For the Giddy-up Grapefruit Sour recipe, click here.

Day at the Races

Talk about unexpected ingredients. This cocktail starts simply with vodka and lemonade, and finishes with the bold flavors of jalapeno and cilantro.

For the Day at the Races recipe, click here.

Spicy Ginger Mare-garita

This horse-themed mare-garita uses tequila, lime and ginger simple syrup, with jalapenos to garnish and tajin on the rim. When the races are over, use it to go with these popular Mexican recipes you can make at home.

For the Spicy Ginger Mare-garita recipe, click here.

Seagram’s Sweet Tea Arnold Palmer

You don't need to know anything about golf to enjoy an Arnold Palmer. This popular drink comes together in this recipe with sweet tea vodka, lemonade and mint and lemon to garnish.

For the Seagram's Sweet Tea Arnold Palmer recipe, click here.

Bourbon Peach Cooler

Peaches and tea are iconic to the South, and this recipe brings them together with a shot of bourbon.

For the Bourbon Peach Cooler recipe, click here.

Finlandia Oaks Lily

To make this fruity cocktail, gather the goodies from your bar cart and toss together vodka, sweet and sour mix, triple sec and cranberry juice.

For the Finlandia Oaks Lily recipe, click here.

Desert Gold Cocktail

The presentation of this desert gold cocktail is jaw-droppingly beautiful. It combines tequila with mango, cucumber-chile shrub, fresh lime, agave nectar and sage.

For the Desert Gold Cocktail recipe, click here.

Fresh Mango Raspberry Bellini

This easy recipe for a mango raspberry bellini uses basic ingredients like prosecco and fruit, but it also calls for mint tea — which is soothing for the stomach when the hangover hits.

For the Fresh Mango Raspberry Bellini recipe, click here.

Lucky Roots Cocktail

This cocktail uses items you likely already have in your pantry, plus a few other odds and ends to make lemongrass-infused gin, mango seed dill shrub and lemon-ginger foam.

For the Lucky Roots Cocktail recipe, click here.

High West Bourye Mint Julep

We know we said no mint juleps, but in case you decided you wanted one after all, here's an easy recipe that uses whiskey, simple syrup, mint leaves and crushed ice. Of course, you'll need some grub to soak up the adult beverages. Create the perfect race day spread by learning how to make your favorite stadium foods at home.

For the High West Bourye Mint Julep recipe, click here.

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