Can’t Have a Derby Without a Mint Julep!

Big pastel-colored hats. White pressed business suits – and the occasional hip-hop playa.

Where else can you get this kind of random action than at the Kentucky Derby?

And – what better way to celebrate this collision of pop culture than with a sweet mint julep?


The four-ingredient drink has been promoted by Churchill Downs since 1938 – and each year more than 120,000 mint juleps are served at the prestigious horse race over the course of two days. That breaks down to more than 10,000 bottles of ready mix, 1,000 pounds of fresh mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.

Traditionally this drink is served in a silver or pewter cup and held only by the bottom and top edges of the cup, allowing frost to form on the metal.

For more than 18 years now the Derby has served the Early Times Mint Julep Cocktail as its official drink.

The Early Times Mint Julep Recipe
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 cups water
• Sprigs of fresh mint
• Crushed ice
• Early Times Kentucky Whisky
• Silver Julep Cups

Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

The Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail is located at local retailers.

The 139th annual Kentucky Derby airs this Saturday on NBC.


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