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Cocktails for Derby

With the Kentucky Derby almost upon us, it's time to break out our julep cups, crush some ice and mix up some awesome cocktails so we forget how silly those women look wearing their derby hats!

Basil Hayden's High Stakes Julep Recipe

Basil Hayden’s® High Stakes Julep

Created by Marie Zahn (Louisville, KY)


  • 2 parts Basil Hayden's ® Bourbon
  • 1 bar spoon Apricot Jelly or Preserves
  • 10 Mint Leaves


  1. Add 8 mint leaves to a glass and lightly press with the back of a bar spoon.
  2. Add Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, apricot jelly and crushed ice into the glass.
  3. Swizzle briefly and add more crushed ice until it is mounding over the top of the glass.
  4. Add a straw and garnish with additional sprigs of mint.

Knob Creek Mint Julep Recipe

Knob Creek® Mint Julep


  • 1½ parts Knob Creek® Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon
  • 2 bunches mint
  • 1 part simple syrup* (see below)
  • 1 splash soda 


  1. Mix sprigs of mint with simple syrup and splash of soda.
  2. Fill julep cup with fine crushed ice and pour in bourbon.
  3. Lift out and decorate with two mint leaves.
  4. Add powdered sugar over mint to add an optional frosted appearance.

*Simple Syrup Recipe

  1. Combine equal parts of sugar and water in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until sugar is fully dissolved.
  3. Allow to cool before using in cocktail.

windy city julep

Windy City Julep

Recipe by Renowned Chicago Bartender, Adam Seger


  • 1.33 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
  • 6 oz. chilled Chicago Green River Pre-Prohibition Soda
  • Generous bouquet of slapped fresh mint


Fill a julep cup with ice cubes to chill. Fill a clean towel with ice and smash the crap out of it to crush the ice. Discard the ice cubes from the cup and fill with the crushed ice. Fill cup 3/4 full with Chilled Chicago Green River Pre-Prohibition Soda. Top with Bulleit Bourbon and a generous bouquet of slapped mint. The carbonation will naturally rise since the bourbon is heavier and the drink will naturally mix. Cut your straw short so you smell the mint. (Optionally add a splash of maple syrup if you prefer your julep sweeter.)

queens julep

The Queen's Julep

Recipe by Punch Room Head Mixologist Bob Peters


  • 1.33 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz. simple syrup
  • 0.5 oz. Fernet Branca Menta
  • 8 fresh mint leaves, muddled

Muddle mint leaves in a shaker. Pour Bulleit Bourbon, simple syrup and Fernet Branca Menta into shaker with ice and shake. Double strain and pour over crushed ice in a julep cup. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.

modern julep

Modern Mint Julep

Recipe adapted by King Cocktail Dale DeGroff



  • 1.33 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
  • 0.75 oz. simple syrup or 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 fresh mint leaves and a sprig of mint (use tender, young sprigs which last longer and look better)


Prepare some very cold, very dry powdered ice by crushing chunks of ice inside a canvas ice bag. Bruise the mint leaves in the bottom of a julep cup with simple syrup or sugar. Add ice to the three quarter mark and add half of the bourbon. Stir to chill the julep cup. Top off with more powdered ice and the remaining bourbon. Continue to stir until the outside of the cup begins to freeze. Garnish with the mint sprig and set aside to rest while the julep cup freezes over on the outside. Pick up carefully to imbibe.