$1,000 Mint Julep at Churchill Downs

The 1st Saturday in May means its Kentucky Derby time. Kentucky Derby time means the spring time smell of fresh mint is in the air at historic Churchill Downs. While the smell of fresh hay may be for the powerful thoroughbred horses, the mint is for the patrons to enjoy that iconic drink of the Kentucky Derby, the Mint Julep. This year’s version has a bit of a twist, in fact, its kinda nuts, Pecan nuts to be specific.

The $1,000 Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
Woodford Reserves 2016 $1,000 Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
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Woodford Reserve recently unveiled its $1,000 limited edition Mint Julep Cup for the 2016 Kentucky Derby®. A limited number of 90 cups are available featuring a classic plaid pattern designed by Hamilton Shirts along with a gold sipping straw. They  are also offering 15 Master’s Cups for $2,500 that come with a gold plated cup accented with diamonds and a silver sipping straw. Each cup comes with its own custom made oak box designed by Nashville, TN woodworker Christian Fecht. If that price sounds a little steep, don’t worry, the proceeds are for a good cause.

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Proceeds to Benefit the Disabled Jockeys Fund

Each year, Woodford selects a charitable organization to receive the net proceeds from the sales of these Mint Julep Cups sold at the Kentucky Derby®, with more than $425,000 raised for equine and humanitarian cause’s to-date. The proceeds from sales of this special edition will benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund which works to provide financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.

“The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund greatly appreciates being chosen once again by Woodford Reserve to receive the funds raised by their $1,000 Mint Julep Cup program,” said Nancy LaSala, the organization’s president. “We are grateful for their contribution and help in continuing to aid injured jockeys.”

Woodford Reserve® 2016 Kentucky Derby® Mint Julep Recipe

Julie Renee Williams - Theatrical Bartender 2
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This year’s special Mint Julep comes to us from New York mixologist Julie Renee Williams. The recipe pays tribute to the traditional southern dessert of pecan pie, featuring a trifecta of fresh, original ingredients and garnishes.


  • 2oz Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select
  • .75oz Toasted Pecan Orgeat Syrup (Instructions below)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Caramelized pecan crumbles for garnish
  • Edible copper flakes


  • Make Toasted Pecan Orgeat: Toast pecans then mix or muddle into small pieces. In a saucepan, add equal parts water and sugar and simmer on low heat until sugar dissolves. Add nuts to create a nut milk. Strain or use a nut milk bag to remove nut pieces.
  • Lightly muddle mint on your wrist or palm (see video below)
  • Rub fresh mint around julep cup. Discard mint.
  • Add crushed ice and swizzle in glass
  • Combine Bourbon and Toasted Pecan Orgeat Syrup
  • Top off with more crushed ice
  • Garnish with fresh mint bunch
  • Add caramelized pecan crumbles and edible copper flakes


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Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris

Watch this exclusive video to learn how to make your own $1,000 Kentucky Derby Mint Julep with Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris.

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