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17 Must-Try Kentucky Derby Cocktails

The Kentucky Derby is a legendary horse race known for its rich history, high-spirited atmosphere, and, of course, the stylish tradition of sipping on classic cocktails. Whether you’re a seasoned Derby enthusiast or simply someone who appreciates a good drink, the allure of these cocktails is hard to resist. As the horses thunder down the track, there’s nothing quite like raising a glass and joining in the celebration with a perfectly crafted libation in hand.

For those drawn to the excitement of the Derby and the timeless elegance of Southern traditions, our curated selection of cocktail recipes is tailor-made for your enjoyment. With a nod to tradition and a touch of modern flair, these cocktails are sure to add a dash of charm and sophistication to your Derby day festivities, making them a must-try for anyone looking to infuse a bit of Southern spirit into their celebrations.

Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is an iconic cocktail that has become synonymous with the Kentucky Derby. This refreshing drink is made with bourbon, mint, sugar, and water, and is typically served in a silver cup over crushed ice. The combination of sweet and minty flavors, combined with the smoothness of the bourbon, make for a delightful and easy-to-drink cocktail. The Mint Julep is perfect on a hot summer day for sipping, and it’s a must-try if you’re attending the Kentucky Derby.


Kentucky Flyer

Source: Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

The Kentucky Flyer is a twist on the classic Old Fashioned, and it’s a delicious and easy-to-make cocktail. This drink is made with bourbon, lemon juice, honey, and ginger ale, and is garnished with a lemon twist. The honey and ginger ale add a sweetness that balances out the sharpness of the bourbon, and the lemon juice adds a refreshing tartness. The Kentucky Flyer is perfect for those who want to enjoy a cocktail that’s a little more complex than a Mint Julep, but still easy to drink.


Brown Sugar-Peach Mint Julep

source: burrataandbubbles.com

The Brown Sugar-Peach Mint Julep is a twist on the classic Mint Julep that incorporates brown sugar and peaches. This drink is made with bourbon, brown sugar, mint, and peach puree, and is garnished with a peach slice and mint sprig. The brown sugar adds a depth of flavor and sweetness, while the peach puree adds a refreshing fruitiness. The Brown Sugar-Peach Mint Julep is a perfect cocktail for those who want to try something new and different, while still enjoying the classic flavors of the Mint Julep.


Pineapple Mint Julep Sangria

source: afarmgirlsdabbles.com

The Pineapple Mint Julep Sangria is a refreshing twist on the classic Mint Julep cocktail. This drink is made with bourbon, pineapple juice, white wine, and fresh mint, and is garnished with slices of pineapple and sprigs of mint. The addition of pineapple juice and white wine adds a tropical twist to the traditional Mint Julep, while the mint provides a refreshing contrast. This cocktail is perfect for those who want to enjoy a sweet and fruity drink that still has the underlying warmth of bourbon.


Woodford Spire

source: garnishwithlemon.com

The Woodford Spire is a signature cocktail created by Woodford Reserve, a popular bourbon brand. This drink is made with bourbon, lemonade, cranberry juice, and garnished with a lemon twist. The combination of sweet and tart flavors makes this cocktail a perfect choice for those who prefer a fruity drink that’s not too overpowering. The Woodford Spire is also very easy to make, making it a great choice for those who want a delicious cocktail without any fuss.


Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail

source: inspiredbycharm.com

The Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail is the official cocktail of the Preakness Stakes, which is another famous horse race held in Maryland. This drink is made with vodka, St. Germain, pineapple juice, orange juice, and garnished with an orange slice and a cherry. The sweetness of the pineapple juice and the floral notes of St. Germain makes for a refreshing and complex cocktail. The Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail is perfect for those who want to enjoy a delicious drink while watching horse racing or any other sporting event.


Blueberry Mint Julep

source: thespeckledpalate.com

The Blueberry Mint Julep is another refreshing twist on the classic Mint Julep cocktail that incorporates fresh blueberries. This drink is made with bourbon, blueberries, mint leaves, sugar, and water, and is garnished with fresh blueberries and mint. The addition of fresh blueberries adds a fruity sweetness to the traditional Mint Julep, while the mint provides a refreshing contrast. This cocktail is perfect for those who want to enjoy a fruity and flavorful drink while still enjoying the classic flavors of the Mint Julep.


Kentucky Lemonade

source: thechunkychef.com

The Kentucky Lemonade is a delicious and refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for sipping on derby day. This drink is made with lemonade, bourbon, and lemon-lime soda, and is garnished with a lemon wedge. The sweetness of the lemonade and the carbonation of the lemon-lime soda make for a refreshing and easy-to-drink cocktail. The Kentucky Lemonade is perfect for those who want to enjoy a fruity and refreshing drink that’s not too overpowering.


The Derby

source: tipsybartender.com

The Derby is a classic cocktail that’s perfect for sipping on while watching the Kentucky Derby. This drink is made with gin, peach schnapps, orange juice, and cranberry juice, and is garnished with an orange twist. The combination of sweet and tart flavors makes for a delicious and complex cocktail. The Derby is perfect for those who want to enjoy a delicious drink that’s not too heavy on the alcohol, making it perfect for sipping on throughout the day.


Blackberry Mint Julep Margarita

source: jcpeats.com

The Blackberry Mint Julep Margarita is a creative mash-up of two classic cocktails, the Mint Julep and the Margarita. This drink is made with tequila, blackberries, mint leaves, sugar, lime juice, and crushed ice, and is garnished with fresh blackberries and mint. The combination of tequila and blackberries provides a sweet and tart contrast, while the mint and crushed ice make this cocktail refreshing and perfect for sipping on a hot day. The Blackberry Mint Julep Margarita is perfect for those who want to enjoy a creative and flavorful drink that combines the best of both worlds.


Green Derby

source: liquor.com

The Green Derby is a cocktail that’s perfect for those who want to enjoy a delicious and refreshing drink that’s not too heavy on the alcohol. This drink is made with gin, lime juice, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, and fresh mint, and is garnished with a sprig of mint. The sweetness of the honey syrup and the tartness of the grapefruit juice make for a delicious and complex cocktail. The Green Derby is perfect for sipping on while watching the Kentucky Derby or any other sporting event.


Spicy Mulled Cider

source: seriouseats.com

The Spicy Mulled Cider is a warm and cozy cocktail that’s perfect for sipping on during the fall and winter months. This drink is made with bourbon, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise, and is garnished with a cinnamon stick and a slice of apple. The combination of warm spices and bourbon provides a comforting and cozy drink that’s perfect for sipping on a cold day. The Spicy Mulled Cider is perfect for those who want to enjoy a delicious and warming drink while watching the Kentucky Derby or any other event.


Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail

oaks lily cocktail with ice cubes and blackberry

The Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail is a refreshing and floral drink that’s perfect for sipping on during the Kentucky Oaks race. This drink is made with cranberry juice, vodka, triple sec, and lemon juice, and is garnished with a blackberry and a sprig of mint. The combination of fruity and floral flavors makes for a delicious and easy-to-drink cocktail that’s perfect for enjoying while watching the race.


Bourbon Rickey

The Bourbon Rickey is a classic cocktail that’s perfect for those who want to enjoy the taste of bourbon without too much sweetness. This drink is made with bourbon, lime juice, and club soda, and is garnished with a lime wedge. The tangy lime juice and the carbonation of the club soda make for a refreshing and easy-to-drink cocktail. The Bourbon Rickey is perfect for those who want to enjoy the taste of bourbon without the sweetness of a traditional bourbon cocktail.


Brown Derby

The Brown Derby is a classic cocktail that’s perfect for those who want to enjoy the rich flavor of bourbon. This drink is made with bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey syrup, and is garnished with a grapefruit twist. The sweetness of the honey syrup and the tartness of the grapefruit juice make for a delicious and complex cocktail that’s perfect for sipping on a hot day. The Brown Derby is perfect for those who want to enjoy the taste of bourbon while still enjoying a refreshing and easy-to-drink cocktail.


Kentucky Mule

kentucky mule

The Kentucky Mule is a twist on the classic Moscow Mule cocktail that features bourbon instead of vodka. This drink is made with bourbon, ginger beer, and lime juice, and is garnished with a lime wedge. The spicy ginger beer and the tangy lime juice make for a refreshing and easy-to-drink cocktail that’s perfect for sipping on a hot day. The Kentucky Mule is perfect for those who want to enjoy the rich flavor of bourbon in a refreshing cocktail.


Bourbon Milk Punch

Homemade Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch with Cinnamon and Nutmeg

The Bourbon Milk Punch is a classic New Orleans cocktail that features the rich, creamy flavor of milk and the depth of bourbon. This drink is made with bourbon, milk, simple syrup, and vanilla extract, and is garnished with freshly grated nutmeg. The combination of creamy milk and the warmth of bourbon make for a delicious and easy-to-drink cocktail that’s perfect for sipping on a cold day. The Bourbon Milk Punch is perfect for those who want to enjoy the rich flavor of bourbon in a sweet and creamy cocktail.


A sophisticated and festive scene showcasing a classic Kentucky Derby Cocktail, typically a Mint Julep. The cocktail is elegantly served in a traditional silver julep cup, filled with crushed ice and a minty bourbon mixture, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint and a dusting of powdered sugar. The cup is placed on a polished wooden bar counter, with a backdrop of Kentucky Derby memorabilia, including horse racing trophies, a garland of red roses, and a silk scarf with equestrian motifs. The setting is enriched with the ambiance of a high-class derby event, with elements of luxury and tradition, such as a gleaming chandelier and a hint of a crowd dressed in derby attire in the background.

17 Kentucky Derby Cocktail Recipes

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Instructions

  1. Pick your favorite recipe
  2. Gather all the needed ingredients
  3. Prep a kentucky derby cocktail in less than 5 minutes

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17 Must-Try Kentucky Derby Cocktails
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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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