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Raise a toast to the Kentucky Derby with Woodford Reserve bourbon

Woodford Reserve 2011 Commemorative Kentucky Derby bottle
Woodford Reserve 2011 Commemorative Kentucky Derby bottle
(Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve)

Kansas City doesn't have much of a reputation as a horse racing town, but the sport of kings still have its aficionados. Even the most casual racing fan is aware that May 7 is Derby Day. Yes, it's time for the 137th Kentucky Derby, the Race for the Roses at Churchill Downs. And even the most casual racing fan is aware that the Mint Julep is the order of the day.

It's definitely a day for bourbon. If you're lucky enough to be attending the races, you may spot one of the unique Tiffany & Co. sterling silver mint julep cups that were sold as part of a fundraiser to benefit The Heart of a Horse Foundation. Only 103 were available for purchase in April, at the bargain price of $1,000.

Of course, that cool grand gets the buyer more than just a spectacular collector's piece and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from helping a good cause. They also get what is probably the most unique Mint Julep in existence, with ingredients from around the world: ice made from rainwater collected on the island of Tasmania, Australia, rare chocolate mint grown in San Diego, California, bourbon smoked sugar from Louisville, Kentucky (raw Demerara sugar smoked with used Woodford Reserve barrels), and a small batch of the Master Distiller's personal selection of Woodford Reserve super-premium bourbon. This is not a Julep to be found anywhere else.

If your wallet wasn't up to the challenge of the Tiffany & Co. cup, there's still an option for collectors. Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, has also released the 2011 Kentucky Derby commemorative bottle. The artwork from award-winning artist Brett Amory features a pair of horses digging in as they approach the finish line. Suggested retail for the limited edition bottle is $42.99.

So grab the bourbon and the mint and get ready for today's race. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. on NBC (KSHB 41), with post time scheduled at 5:24. And don't forget a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, inspired by the famous Kentucky Derby Pie of Kern's Kitchen.

The Mint Julep isn't for you? There are other great bourbon cocktails:

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