The road to horse racing’s Triple Crown starts on the first Saturday in May with the running of the Kentucky Derby. It’s a time for big hats, fast horses and of course the state’s signature brown spirit, Kentucky Bourbon. Now in its 12th year, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon has partnered with Churchill Downs to create the official Kentucky Derby Mint Julep.
“Woodford Reserve is honored to bring together two of Kentucky’s greatest traditions once again through our $1,000 Mint Julep Cup program,” said Mark Bacon, Woodford Reserve Global Brand Director. “We’re proud to honor the rich history of the Kentucky Derby with a premium celebration through our $1,000 Mint Julep Cup experience.”
Each year, Woodford Reserve selects a charitable organization to receive the net proceeds from the $1,000 Mint Julep Cup sales with more than $450,000 raised for equine and racing charities to-date. This year’s receiving charity is not-for-profit Kentucky Derby Museum, a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization supporting the mission to preserve the rich history, tradition, hospitality and pride of the world-renowned event that is the Kentucky Derby.
The Sport of Kings… and Queens
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The 2017 Cup pays tribute to the British-inspired Kentucky Derby offering a mint julep crafted by Woodford Reserve Global Ambassador, Tom Vernon. This year’s cup, recipe and experience is presented under the theme: The Sport of Kings… and Queen(s).
In 1872, Churchill Downs founder Meriwether Lewis Clark traveled to England to attend the Epsom Derby – a popular horse race attended by British royalty and high society. Upon returning to the states, he modeled the Kentucky Derby after the Epsom Derby elevating horse racing to a more sophisticated affair. Inspired by this history, this year’s julep features traditional British ingredients with a unique garnish of mint, baby’s breath and edible, dehydrated blue cornflowers representative of both sides of the Atlantic. The complete 2017 Mint Julep cocktail recipe is presented in the video by Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. Detailed instructions are also included below.
Cups Inspired by “The Horse in Motion”
The cups are handcrafted by Louisville-based jeweler From the Vault. Each cup is adorned with embellishments representative of this year’s theme. Three horses in stride adorn the cup, inspired by British photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s famous “The Horse in Motion” filmstrip which was the first proof that all four hooves leave the ground at a gallop.
“In addition to the horses, the cups also feature three additional sterling silver embellishments,” said Graham Newton, From the Vault Jeweler. “A crown representing the rich history of the British inspired Derby; a rose as an ode to the “Run for the Roses™” and a horseshoe providing each cup buyer with an extra stroke of luck. Together, these details create a trilogy of flight around the cup as horse and jockey pass a crown, rose, and horseshoe on the way.”
Limited Edition $1,000 Silver Cup and $2,500 Gold Cup
This history is brought to life through individually hand casted applications in rich sterling silver. There are 90 $1,000 cups featuring 18 karat yellow gold over the sterling silver horse and riders, the crown, rose and horseshoe. There are 15 $2,500 cups featuing gold-plated sterling silver with a 24 karat heavy reliquary quality gold plating, with high polished sterling silver detail.
The “Silk Purse”
Each Cup will be presented in a silk “purse” inspired by the “purse” of winnings given to the victors of a horse race.
“The Kentucky Derby Museum is honored by the support from Woodford Reserve and the $1,000 Mint Julep Cup program. At the heart of our mission, we are dedicated to celebrating the long-standing history and tradition of the Kentucky Derby, just as this year’s special cup design exemplifies,” said Patrick Armstrong, Kentucky Derby Museum President and CEO.
Beginning April 10, 2017 consumers can visit the Woodford Reserve Mint Julep website learn how to purchase their own limited edition silver or gold cup.