Woodford Reserve Distillery - 2019 Kentucky Derby Mint Julep with Honeycomb

Though Fort Knox may hold all the gold in Kentucky it’s the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs that hold a secret golden honey barrel. Not a bourbon honey barrel but a real White American Oak barrel filled with real honey. That golden honey barrel was placed inside one of the iconic Churchill Downs Twin spires on a chilly December morning exactly 145 days prior to the 145th running of the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports, the 2019 Kentucky Derby.

Now in its 14th year, Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky, unveiled the 2019 $1,000 Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Cup. A cup that will soon be filled a mix of bourbon, fresh mint, limestone rich ice and golden honey for this year’s original Mint Julep cocktail. Each $1,000 handcrafted silver Mint Julep cup will be presented in a wooden box lined with jockey silks featuring the iconic flask-shaped Woodford Reserve bottle.

Etched on the cup are the Twin Spires, while barrels are prominently displayed on the sides — reflective of the small oak barrel with this year’s special rested honey sweetener inside one spire. The cups also feature a bottle of Woodford Reserve, tying together the quintessential ingredients needed for the Kentucky Derby. The inspiration for the scrollwork on the cup comes from the classic architecture of the original grandstand at Churchill Downs.

“Woodford Reserve is honored to bring together two of Kentucky’s greatest traditions — Derby and bourbon — through our $1,000 Mint Julep Cup program,” Master Distiller Chris Morris said. “A premium celebration like The Kentucky Derby deserves an opulent cocktail. This year, we are deeply honored to celebrate the life and legacy of John Asher.”

Proceeds to Benefit the John Asher Memorial Scholarship Fund

This year the celebratory program pays tribute to the John Asher Memorial Scholarship Fund at Asher’s alma mater Western Kentucky University. Asher, longtime Vice President of Racing Communications and spokesman of Churchill Downs beloved by many within the equestrian community, died suddenly in August 2018 at age 62. Woodford Reserve is honoring his memory through this year’s $1,000 Mint Julep Program by donating funds to the bright young minds at the college. This year’s julep cup honors his life and dedication to the industry, while celebrating the spirit of the Kentucky Derby just as he would. Watch the video near the bottom of this story to learn more about this wonderful man.

How to Make the 2019 Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Cocktail

This year’s recipe was crafted by Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris and Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall, who climbed into the Twin Spires on a cold December day to place the honey sweetener for the final cocktail recipe to rest for 145 days.


  • 2 oz. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • 2 bar spoons of Inspired Honey Sweetener
  • 2 Mint Leaves
  • Garnish: Shaved honeycomb and a sprig of mint


  • Rub mint around the julep cup, expressing the essential oils and place the mint leaf in the bottom of the cup.
  • Drizzle 2 bar spoons of honey sweetener in the cup
  • Add 2 oz. of Bourbon
  • Mix the ingredients together
  • Pack ice into the cup, followed by placing the sipping straw.
  • Layer loose ice on top, with a splash of Bourbon to settle your drink.
  • Garnish with shaved honeycomb and a sprig of mint.

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There are 145 cups available this year — 125 silver cups and 20 silver cups plated in gold. The silver cups are $1,000 each and the gold-plated cups will be available at the price of $2,500 per cup. The cups are available now through April 30 or until they are all sold out at WoodfordReserveMintJulep.com.

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How to Make The Official 2015 Kentucky Derby Mint Julep

View all Kentucky Distilleries.

Remembering John Asher (1955 – 2018)

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