The 2015 Kentucky Derby is set for Saturday, May 2. More than 15 million people across the United States are expected to tune in to the famous horse race, and most will do so with a drink in hand.
Whether you’re attending a party with friends or watching the race alone online, make sure you have lots of ice-cold refreshments. Mint juleps are the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, but you have endless options. Here are a few recipes, both traditional and nontraditional, to try for Saturday.
The Old Forester Mint Julep has been the beverage of choice at the Kentucky Derby for almost 100 years, according to its website. Spectators drink about 120,000 mint juleps there every year.
- 4 cups bourbon
- 2 bunches of fresh mint
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
To make this Food Network recipe, wash the mint leaves and soak them in a small bowl of bourbon, then wring them out into the alcohol multiple times. Make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water on your stovetop, then cool. Put this and the rest of bourbon in a pitcher and add the mint-bourbon extract one tablespoon at a time until you’re satisfied. Let it sit in the fridge for a while, and serve over ice.
The Grey Goose Oaks Lily is the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks, which started in 1875. But the cocktail itself wasn’t created until 2006.
- 2 ounces vodka
- 2 ounces sweet and sour mix (lemonade works, too)
- 6 ounces cranberry juice
- triple sec
The Oaks Lily’s inventor, Tim Laird, told the Courier-Journal to combine all ingredients in a shaker along with ice. Shake, strain and add more ice, plus the blackberries as garnish, and you’re good to go.
The name of this drink alone makes it perfect for the Kentucky Derby. Plus, it’s ridiculously easy to make.
- 2 ounces brandy
- 5 ounces ginger ale
- 1 full lemon peel spiral
Drinks Mixer recommends you put the lemon peel in a tall glass with ice, and pour the other ingredients in afterward. Then stir and enjoy -- you’re done. This cocktail can also be made with bourbon or whiskey, according to Liquor.com, so try switching it up on your second drink.
This cocktail is named for a different horse race -- the second leg of the Triple Crown, which started two years before the Kentucky Derby.
- 1 1/2 ounces blended scotch whiskey
- ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
- ½ ounce benedictine
According to Bar None Drinks’ instructions, you can just stir all these ingredients together in a cup with ice and then strain. Serve in a chilled glass with a lemon twist as garnish.
Spiked Sweet Tea
What could be better than drinking iced tea with alcohol on a Saturday afternoon? Nothing. The answer is nothing.
- 7 cups water
- 6 orange pekoe tea bags
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ⅓ cups lemon juice
- 1 cup rum
This Martha Stewart recipe calls for the bartender to brew the tea in 4 cups of water and use it to make a simple syrup with the sugar on the stovetop. Add the rest of the water, stir and add the lemon juice and rum. Let it cool and serve with ice and mint.