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Kentucky Derby Traditions
The Mint Julep

horse racing kentucky derby The mint julep is the traditional drink of Kentucky and the Kentucky Derby. It has been served for hundreds of years to help cool down the hot Kentucky summers and is now served by the thousands on Kentucky Derby day at Churchill Downs by vendors roaming the stands. There was even a book written about it: The Kentucky Mint Julep

Here is how to make your own:

Prepare mint syrup by boiling 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water together for 5 minutes. After it cools, pour it over 6-8 sprigs of mint (bruised slightly to release the taste) and refrigerate overnight in a covered container.

Make the individual juleps by filling a julep cup (silver is preferred) with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and 2 ounces of bourbon. Stir and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Any good bourbon will work, but the current "official" bourbon is Woodford Reserve, although the mass produced ones used Old Forrester in 2016.

horse racing kentucky derby Interesting Trivia - In 1967, a mint julep cost $1.50 at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby weekend. In 2009 the cost was up to $9.00, in 2012 it was up to $10.00, in 2016 it was $13, and in 2017 it is $14! For the past few years, they have also offered a special limited edition $1000 mint julep you can get which even includes gold dusted mint leaves and a sterling silver straw! This one is sold through Woodford Reserve and is limited to 105 using a special recipe, which changes slightly each year.

Derby Traditions:

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