An Excuse to Drink: Cocktails for the Kentucky Derby

photo by ReeseCLloyd via

Yes, horse racing fans, today is the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby. Now normally, this means throwing back the ubiquitous Mint Julep, and by all means if that is what you aim to do, more power to you! If you want knock one together at home you can use the “official” Kentucky Derby recipe, which Cheri Loughlin , “The Intoxicologist” covers here, or you can watch Jason Pyle from the Sour Mash Manifesto mix one up in front of your eyes in the video below:



Also, if you are a whiskey fan, be sure to go back to Jason’s main article and check out his site, it’s a great one!


So other than the Mint Julep, what other horse racing themed drinks could you serve? Well, we have a quite a few to put forth for your perusal: The many, seemingly unrelated, versions of The “Derby” cocktail:

The Derby Cocktail #1

recipe adapted from Patrick Gavin Duffy’s The Official Mixers Manual

  • 1 1/2 oz Dry Gin
  • 2 dashes Peach Bitters

Glass: Cocktail

Garnish: 2 sprigs fresh mint

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish.


The Derby Cocktail #2

recipe amalgamated from Trader Vic’s Bartender Guide 1947 and Patrick Gavin Duffy’s Official Mixer’s Manual. It is nearly identical to the “Oriental” Cocktail

  • 1 oz Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz White Curacao
  • 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Glass: Cocktail

Garnish: Mint leaf

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish.

Derby Cocktail #3

Recipe adapted from Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide, 1947

  • 1 oz Brandy
  • 2 dashes Curacao
  • 2 dashes Pineapple Syrup
  • 1 dashes Orange bitters

Glass: Cocktail

Garnish: None

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.



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