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Derby drinks: Twists on the 'ole standbys

Louisville is already in full-swing preparation for the Kentucky Derby, to be held on May 1st of this year, and what better way to prepare than to sample some Derby cocktails? The mint julep has a long-running tradition of being served at the Derby and by party-goers all over the state. While a mint julep is traditionally made with bourbon, mint leaves, sugar, and water, sometimes its nice to enjoy a variation on a classic. 

First, start with crushed  ice.  The traditional recipe is:

  • 2 parts bourbon (2 oz)
  • 1 part simple syrup (1 oz.)
  • mint leaves, muddled

To vary this for a uniquely spring experience, add 1 oz Chambord (raspberry-flavored) and a few fresh or frozen raspberries. The tartness of the addition of raspberries mellows out the bourbon for those who may not often drink it.

Want a more fun, bubbly version? Add a splash of club soda, and a hint of lime. Refreshing as the fresh-cut grass!

For serious mint lovers, make your simple syrup using Metromint mint-flavored bottled water. This addition pushes the refreshment over-the-top!

For a very Kentuckian experience, add a few fresh blackberries, which is the state's official fruit. The sweet-tart juicy blackberries create a subtle yet distinctly fruity flavor, everyone is sure to enjoy.

Garnish all with a sprig of mint. For a more fun take on this, take a few mint sprigs and gently wet them. Coat prigs in sugar, than place in freezer until you are ready to use them. Delicious!

For more ideas and variations on this delicious classic, email Lauren at


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