Traditional recipes

Derby Julep Cobbler

Derby Julep Cobbler


  • 2 Ounces Evan Williams Single Barrel
  • 1 Ounce strawberry-mint simple syrup
  • 1/2 Ounce lemon juice
  • 2 cucumber slices
  • Soda water, to top


Muddle simple syrup, lemon juice, and cucumber. Add whiskey. Fill Julep cup with crushed ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with strawberry, cucumber, and mint.

How to Make a Mint Julep, The Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby

The minty sip has been a Derby Day tradition for more than 80 years.

Seasoned racing pros and folks just looking for a fun excuse for a soiree alike know that there are certain things any Derby Day requires. Fashionable hats, some racing-themed decor, and of course, a mint julep. The festive concoction of mint, sugar, bourbon, and crushed ice has long been a staple of the Derby (though it didn't earn the title of the event's official drink until 1938) and the traditional metal cups they're served in have become almost as iconic a symbol of the race day as the horses themselves. And while a classic mint julep may be a go-to for your summer bar, if you really want to sip like you're on Millionaires Row, there's only one recipe you need.

Made with Old Forester Mint Julep (a 60 proof bottling that holds the title of the Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby), here is the exact recipe you'll find in use at Churchill Downs this Derby Day. Best of all? It comes together in a snap&mdashbecause you won't want to miss a second of the most exciting two minutes in sports.


We’re sharing the official Mint Julep recipe of the Kentucky Derby. Did you know they serve more than 127,000 Mint Juleps on a typical Kentucky Derby day? That’s a lot of Juleps! To ensure the best outcome for our julep cocktails, we’re following the advice of David Danielson, executive chef at Churchill Downs. He’s also the man responsible for all of that julep making. In 2019, he sat down with the Huffington Post to divulge some of the keys to making the official Mint Julep recipe of the Kentucky Derby.

JULEP FUN FACTS: Churchill Downs uses 254,000 ounces of bourbon (more than 10,000 750 milliliter bottles), 300 crates of mint (about 4,000 pounds of locally sourced stuff from Louisville, Kentucky’s Dohn Gardens) and 60,000 pounds of ice to make their juleps (Source: Huffington Post).

A silver cup is the most popular way to serve this cocktail. We found these adorable julep cups on Amazon. They are perfect to serve this julep.

One of the biggest keys to a great tasting julep Danielson stated, was to treat the mint with some respect when you bring it home. Don’t just shove it in a refrigerator drawer, be a bit more thoughtful. He said you should “put an inch or so of cold water at the bottom of a cup and make sure the stems are sitting in the water.” When you’re ready to serve the cocktail, use an entire sprig of mint, which should have about six to seven leaves on it.

In addition, don’t skimp on the ice. Which sounds odd, but here’s the reason. “Historically, juleps were a sign of prosperity,” Danielson noted. “Ice was a commodity, and so when you wanted to entertain or show people you were in society, you showed people you had ice. If you had crushed ice piled high in a glass, you were really doing well.” I’m impressed!


Two ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
One ounce mint simple syrup (learn how to make and infuse simple syrup below)
Sprig of fresh mint
Crushed ice

Pour Woodford Reserve and simple syrup over crushed ice. Stir with spoon. Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.(Recipe courtesy: Huffington Post)


1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
Three to four sprigs of mint (you can also use spices, herbs and fruit to infuse flavor)

Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Steep mint sprigs in the mixture for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool, then pour into a glass jar and seal tightly with a lid. Simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about one month. (Recipe courtesy:

These official Kentucky Derby glasses are also adorable for serving this cocktail. This year’s glasses are already available.

Did you try this idea? Share it on Instagram with the hashtag #makeeverydayanevent and tag @makeeverydayanevent! Looking for another drink option as you watch the Derby? Check out this bourbon-based cocktail whose origin traces back to Kentucky, the Old Fashioned.

4 Cobbler Twists to Try Right Now

The Cobbler is a shaken cocktail that has been around since the 1820s or ’30s. The classic template for the drink is a mix of any spirit or wine with sugar, seasonal fruit, an herb and crushed ice. It’s refreshing yet simple and balanced. In its heyday, it was one of the most popular tipples of the time, but it lost its appeal during Prohibition as cocktails, especially those with a lower alcohol content, became less common. Now, contemporary cocktail bartenders have rekindled the flame of this historic cocktail, which has given way to a plethora of variations.

The key source of acid in this cocktail to balance the sugar comes from the wine or sherry generally used as the base, but many bartenders tend to also add citrus juice to their Cobblers, although this isn’t technically part of the traditional formula. The orange wedges of the early decades of the 1800s that were used to garnish the Cobbler were more bitter than the ones available today, so some bartenders believe more acidity is needed to appease the modern palate. But really, most of the drink’s acidity should come from the wine base, or a cocktail shrub, instead of citrus.

To make the best Cobbler possible, using quality crushed or nugget ice is essential, then the rest of the ingredients easily fall into place. These are a few Cobbler recipes to allow you better understand this historic category of cocktails and set you on your way to developing variations of your own.

While I do slightly prefer the flavor of a classic mint julep, for years I only made my mint juleps with mint simple syrup. This easy mint julep with mint simple syrup is still my number one choice when hosting a Kentucky Derby party.

Make the mint simple syrup and crush the ice in advance for easy to assemble mint juleps for your Kentucky Derby party. Since a mint julep is mainly ice and should be served ice cold, don&rsquot mix them up until ready to serve.

For other delicious cocktails check out my Classic Mint Julep (made with sugar instead of mint simple syrup), Jenessa&rsquos Cadillac Margarita, or browse all of my delicious drinks recipes.

If you like this recipe, please give it a FIVE STAR rating and share with your friends!

Mint Julep – a Non-Alcoholic Version Perfect for Derby Day

I have been a Kentucky girl my entire life and you know what? This girl has never been to the Kentucky Derby. I have driven past the tracks many times in my adult life, but I have never really been and watched the horse races.

Finding out all about racehorses on my trip to Georgetown, KY really fueled my curiosity about all things Kentucky Derby. One of the drinks of choice is a Mint Julep, which is normally served full of alcohol.

Since I am not a drinker and alcohol is not my thing, Kayla and I decided to whip up our own version that has the same taste minus the alcohol. The best part? It's one of the easiest drinks we have ever made.

How to Make a Non-Alcoholic Version of This Kentucky Derby Drink

The mint julep is a mixed alcoholic drink, or cocktail, consisting primarily of bourbon, sugar, water, crushed or shaved ice, and fresh mint. As a bourbon-based cocktail, it is associated with the American South and the cuisine of the Southern United States in general, and the Kentucky Derby in particular.

To make this recipe you really only need a few things &mdash

  • lemons
  • limes
  • fresh ginger
  • mint leaves
  • 1/12 cups sugar and 2 cups water
  • Sprite Zero

You are going to start by making the base of your Mint Julep. It starts with the juice of 3 fresh lemons, 2 fresh limes, 1 tablespoon of chopped mint leaves, 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger (or you can find a tube of ginger paste &mdash 1 tbsp&ndash at ALDI and it works too).

In a large bowl, combine the water, sugar, lemon juice, lime juice, ginger, and mint. Let stand for at least 45 minutes.

Once it sets for 45 minutes, set up your glasses and fill with ice. Normally these are served in tin cups, but I found these amazing beer style glasses on Amazon and I knew they would be perfect for our summer drinks this year.

Strain your liquid to remove any mint leaves.

To each glass, fill half full with Mint Julep mixture and then top with Sprite or Sprite Zero.

Then, top off with fresh mint and fresh lime wedges. Right before you drink it, squeeze the lime right into your glass and drink. It is seriously one of the most refreshing drinks that my daughter and I have made.

That's it! Now you are ready to party in style at the Kentucky Derby. Be sure and grab your best Fascinator and root on your favorite horse this year.

Berry Cobbler Mint Julep Recipe

Add mint leaves, blueberries and the juice of a 1/4 of a lemon into the bottom of a double rocks glass. Gently muddle just enough to break up the blueberries and release the oils of the mint. Add the blackberry syrup, vanilla cinnamon syrup and the bourbon directly into the glass. Fill halfway with crushed ice. With a bar spoon stir the contents in order to pull the muddled ingredients up away from the bottom of the glass. Fill the rest of the way with crushed ice mounding it as much as possible. Add 1-2 dashes of plum bitters on top of mounded ice. Garnish with a lemon twist and fresh sprig of mint.

Vanilla Cinnamon Simple Syrup

In a sauce pan add 16 oz. light brown sugar, 16 oz. distilled water, 1 whole vanilla bean split in half, 1 whole cinnamon stick and 1 whole allspice berry. Bring all ingredients to a boil making sure to stir constantly in order to help the sugar completely dissolve and not burn. Once a boil has been reached, reduce heat to a simmer. Let the liquid reduce by half (about 30 minutes) stirring occasionally. Let cool and strain into a resealable container or storm pourer ready for use.

Blackberry Simple Syrup

In a sauce pan add 16 oz. light brown sugar, 16 oz. distilled water, 8 oz. fresh blackberries and 1/4 tsp. of freshly grated nutmeg. Bring all ingredients to a boil making sure to stir constantly in order to help the sugar completely dissolve and not burn. Also use the spoon you are stirring with to help break up the berries and release their juice. Once a boil has been reached, reduce heat to a simmer. Let the liquid reduce by half (about 30 minutes) stirring occasionally. Let cool and strain (making sure to press the berries to get out all the liquid leaving nothing but the seeds and pulp in the strainer) into a resealable container or storm pourer ready for use.

Kentucky Derby party: Here's the food, dessert and mint julep recipes you need

What's not to love? Set out a menu of barbecue favorites, have a cold Mint Julep on hand and a nutty chocolate Derby Pie for dessert. Also, hats.

The beauty of throwing a Derby party is that the peak is fairly early, when the horses run at the stated post time of 6:50 p.m. at Churchill Downs.

Have guests arrive about an hour before (and maybe place some bets?), load a plate and then yell your head off for a horse with a wacky name like Cutting Humor or Maximum Security.

And two minutes later, it's over. You can still make a movie or a show after. Or stick around and whine about not being able to watch hockey anymore.

In Louisville, scores of celebrities will watch the race in ridiculous hats. But if you can't make it to the Derby in person, there's an official at-home menu and set of recipes this year — a first from Churchill Downs.

Since 2013, chef David Danielson has been the executive chef at Churchill Downs racetrack, which offers a menu stacked with multiple courses and, of course, plenty of bourbon.

This year, Danielson will put out 22,000 chicken breasts, 4,075 pounds of braised pork, 5,640 pounds of turkey, 7,600 pounds of potatoes, 8,200 pounds of pasta and 8,000 heads of locally grown lettuce.

The official at-home menu and a cheat sheet on the horses can be found at

Among the eight recipes from Churchill Downs is one for Slow Cooker Short Ribs With Henry Bain Sauce (a famous Kentucky condiment for meats first found at Louisville's Pendennis Club). The tender short ribs are served over cheese grits.

We also have a recipe for Derby Pie, though we are not calling it that because the Kentucky staple was created by the Melrose Inn, which trademarked its recipe and the name "Derby Pie" in 1950 and they have been known to sue over it. So we are calling it Derby City Chocolate Pecan Pie, a nutty chocolate pie that is reminiscent of a Snickerdoodle. Some recipes call for bourbon in the pie, but we like to make bourbon whipped cream instead.

And we have a foolproof Mint Julep recipe, sure to bring around any bourbon skeptic. But be careful, this strong drink is dangerously delicious.


Slow Cooker Short Ribs with Henry Bain Sauce

6 to 7 pounds boneless beef short ribs

1 large onion, quartered and sliced

In large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season ribs with salt and pepper.

Sear the ribs in hot oil, turning to brown all sides.

Transfer ribs to slow cooker.

Add the onion, carrot and celery to the same pan that you seared the short ribs in and cook, stirring frequently until onions are wilted and slightly brown.

Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker.

Using the same pan as the veggies, add the red wine/chicken broth and bring to a boil

Boil for about 9 minutes or until reduced by half.

Pour red wine liquid over the ribs into the slow cooker, add bay leaf and rosemary.

Cover and cook on LOW heat for 8 to 9 hours or until tender.

Cheese Grits

1 cup uncooked, old-fashioned grits

2 cups sharp cheddar, grated

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Combine milk, broth and water in a large saucepan bring to boil.

Add salt whisk in grits and reduce heat to low.

Cook, stirring frequently until creamy for 15 to 20 minutes.

Once finished, stir in cheese until melted garnish with chives.

Henry Baines Sauce

17-ounce jar Major Grey's Chutney

4 1/2 ounces storebought pickled walnuts (pptional)

1 (10-ounce) bottle steak sauce

1 (10-ounce) bottle Worcestershire sauce

1 (12-ounce) bottle tomato-based chili sauce

1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste

Mix the chutney, pickled walnuts, if using, ketchup, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce and hot pepper sauce in a large bowl. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use or for up to two weeks.

Serve at room temperature.

Fool-Proof Mint Julep For A Crowd

1/2 gallon minted syrup (recipe below)

1 (1.75-liter) bottle of good bourbon, such as Maker's Mark

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Combine syrup and bottle of bourbon and stir. To serve, divide among glasses filled with lots of crushed ice and garnish with fresh mint.

By the glass:Pour 2 ounces of bourbon and equal parts mint syrup into a glass filled with crushed ice, and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Source: Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tampa Bay Times

Minted Simple Syrup

Large handful of fresh mint leaves

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let cook for a couple minutes, then let cool, strain leaves and reserve syrup in the refrigerator or freeze until ready to use. Or, add all ingredients to a large glass bowl and bring to a boil in the microwave.

Source: Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tampa Bay Times


Derby City Chocolate Pecan Pie

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

1 tablespoon bourbon (optional, if you prefer, add bourbon to whipped cream)

1 cup pecan halves (can substitute black walnuts)

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place crust into 9-inch pie pan. Crimp or flute edge set aside.

Combine corn syrup, sugar, butter, eggs, bourbon and salt in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pie crust. Cover pie loosely with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove aluminum foil continue baking 10 to 15 minutes, or until filling is set. (If pie browns too quickly, re-cover with aluminum foil.)

Cool refrigerate at least 4 hours or until serving time.

Just before serving, beat whipping cream in small bowl at high speed, scraping bowl often, until stiff peaks form.

English Cucumber Garnish

English Cucumbers fans make this drink festive and fun. To make the garnish, a mandolin creates the thin lengthwise cucumber strips.

Make an accordion pleat with the cucumber slice and slip onto a long skinny skewer that is used for appetizers. This skewer is long enough to allow the cucumber to stand stately across the top of the Julep cup. Separate loops of cucumbers to make it even across the top of the cup for best results and pretty presentation. Now that is serving it up sassy!®

In true Derby style, Mint Juleps are served in a silver cup. Read more about the Kentucky Derby and traditions.

Mint Julep Cupcakes Recipe

Mint Juleps are a “must serve” at any Kentucky Derby party, right? Well, now there’s another fun way to serve this traditional Derby favorite: sweeten up the party with tasty Mint Julep Cupcakes – cleverly garnished with short straws and fresh mint leaves, of course!

We made these cupcakes for a local news segment today… and they were a hit! The recipe is adapted from Cooking & Booking and was first discovered via YumSugar. Even though the recipe calls for a full cup of alcohol, (1/2 c each Creme de Menthe and bourbon or whisky), the flavor of the cupcakes isn’t strong on the alcohol at all. Instead, it’s more of a sweet, buttery vibe with a subtle minty kick. Bake them in silver foil cupcake liners for that “silver julep cup” vibe. (Full recipe below. Enjoy!)


1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup bourbon (or whiskey)
1/2 cup Creme de Menthe

3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mint extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350º F, and grease or line 30 cupcake cups.

Combine salt, baking powder, and 1 3/4 cups of the flour. Beat butter, sugar, eggs, and extracts in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the milk and liquors to the batter, then the rest of the flour (1 cup). Mix as little as possible, just until the batter comes together. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool.

Combine the powdered sugar, salt, extracts and melted butter and beat until creamy. Gradually add milk until the texture is right for piping. When the cupcakes are completely cool, pipe or spread the icing on top. Garnish with cake sparkles or sprinkles, a straw (trimmed to size), and mint leaves.

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