* All digital cards and invitiations have moved! Check out the new pingg.com >

2015 Kentucky Derby Mint Julep: Why This Cocktail Costs $1,000

Mint juleps are just as much a part of the Kentucky Derby as floppy hats and jockeys. As the official cocktail of the event, guests enjoy sipping on the strong bourbon-based drink while placing their bets and cheering on their favorite horses. But did you know some of these cocktails can cost you $1,000 or even $2,500? 

Seriously, people shell out four figures for a cocktail, but it's not just the drink they are paying for. When you pre-order your $1,000 mint julep cup for the Kentucky Derby — you have to be at Churchill Downs to pick it up — proceeds of your purchase benefit the Wounded Warrior Equestrian Program, a non-profit dedicated to providing rehabilitative services and riding therapy to veterans. The $1,000 also gets you a commemorative silver-plated Victory Cup; this year's edition was designed by Billy Reid and comes with a 24-karat gold straw. The gold-plated Winner's Circle cups cost $2,500, although those already sold out for this year's race. 

And don't think it's just for one cocktail; by purchasing the cups, you are invited to the $1,000 julep VIP bar where you can enjoy bottomless refills in your commemorative cup (although tickets to the actual races are sold separately). To make the drink a little more special, each year the $1,000 julep recipe is tweaked just a little to include premium ingredients, bold flavors and an overall fun twist on the classic mint julep. 

For the 2015 recipe, Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of the Kentcuky Derby, tapped New York City mixologist Pam Wiznitzer. Pam is the Creative Director of Seamtress NY, and the President of the New York chapter of the United States Bartenders' Guild. Needless to say, she's a wiz behind the bar and kind enough to show us how to mix up the delicious drink just in time for the Kentucky Derby. 



  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
  • 3/4 ounces coconut palm sugar syrup
  • 6-8 mint sprigs + 1 for garnish
  • 1-2 cups of crushed ice
  • 1 cup regular ice
  • Candied orange and lemon slices for garnish
  • Powdered sugar

Start by tearing the mint leaves in half, and placing them at the pottom of the cocktail shaker.

Then pour in sugar syrup and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked into the shaker. Meanwhile, fill your julep glass with crushed ice to the very top.

Add another handful (about a cup) of regular ice to the cocktail shaker. Then shake up the mint, sugar syrup, bourbon and ice in the shaker until the shaker gets cold to the touch.

Once shaken, strain over the crushed ice in the julep glass. Insert straw, and top with mint sprig, cnadied orange and lemon slices and powdered sugar. 

Makes: 1 cocktail

Find more party planning inspirations for Cocktail Recipes

Inspirations Delivered to Your Inbox

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter and have party tips and ideas sent straight to your inbox! You'll be the first to know about our best recipes, decoration ideas, invitation inspirations and more.