5 Cocktails for The Kentucky Derby

Drink Lists Kentucky Derby
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5 Cocktails for The Kentucky Derby

When you think of the Kentucky Derby, your mind probably goes immediately (or at least relatively soon) to Mint Juleps. One of my personal favorite drinks and consequently an easy way to annoy your bartender if you don’t live in Kentucky (and maybe if you do), the Mint Julep is the perfect combination of whiskey, sugar, mint, and ice, and is one of the best things to sip on outside during a hot summer day, especially if you happen to be watching some pretty fast-running horses.

While there’s bound to be a ton of Mint Juleps kicking around for the 2018 Derby, the race actually falls on Cinco de Mayo this year, which means you have a prime opportunity for creating a few interesting twists on the popular drink, especially if those twists happen to involve tequila. If you’re looking to put a new spin on your Derby festivities (or just your Saturday), here are a few cocktails worth giving a try.

Habanero Hell Fire

After being aged for about nine months, this well-balanced Reposado Tequila nicely stands up to the heat of the habanero in this spicy cocktail.

Habanero Hell Fire.jpg

2 parts Tres Agaves Reposado Tequila
2 parts Pear Puree
2 dashes Habanero Bitters
1 part Tres Agaves Agave Nectar
Seeds of 1 Jalapeno pepper, muddled

Directions: Rim glass with black pepper and salt. Then muddle seeds of Jalapeno pepper in pre-rimmed margarita glass. Pour remaining ingredients in glass, top off with ice and stir.

Sagamore Spirit Ryegarita


1 oz. Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. Lime Juice
½ oz. Agave Nectar
Crushed Ice
Sliced Jalapeno with or without seeds to taste
Lime for garnish

Directions: Combine all ingredients in shaker. Strain into rocks glass over crushed ice. Garnish with lime or sliced jalapeno, depending on heat tolerance.

Dewar’s Julep


2 oz. Dewar’s 12
.25 oz. sugar syrup (1:1 sugar:water)
8-10 fresh mint leaves
Mint sprig garnish

Directions: In a julep cup, gently muddle the mint and sugar syrup. Add the bourbon and add crushed ice. Stir until the outside of the julep cup is frosted. Top with more crushed and garnish with the he biggest and best looking mint Spring you can find. Don’t forget to slap it once if twice before placing in the drink to release the beautiful aromatics.

The Clubhouse Cooler

*the following is a batched recipe intended for punch-style serving


1 bottle Dixie Mint Vodka
4 cups of lemonade
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
3 large tea bags (or 12 individual) for iced tea (or purchase your choice of pre-made sweet tea)
Fresh mint sprigs
8 lemon slices

Directions: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add in tea bags. Let tea bags steep for 5 minutes then remove. Stir in one cup of sugar until dissolved. Pour tea, lemonade, and Dixie Mint Vodka into preferred punch serving bowl. Add additional 3 quarts of water and stir together. Muddle handful of mint leaves in a separate bowl and add to punch ingredients. Cover and chill until cool. Fill mason jars with ice and pour in tea. Garnish with mint sprig and lemon slice. Sit back and enjoy!

Derby Season


2 parts Jim Beam Black
.75 parts lemon juice
.75 parts simple syrup
.5 parts dry rosé

Directions: Stir Jim Beam Black, lemon juice and simple syrup in a mixing glass. Pour over ice and top with rosé. Garnish with a lemon peel.