Victor Espinoza aboard American Pharoah celebrates winning the 141st Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, May 2, 2015. Reuters/Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports

The 2017 Kentucky Derby begins Saturday, May 6 kickstarting the road to the Triple Crown as more than 15 million people across the United States tune into the famous horse race at the Churchill Downs Racetrack.

Whether you’re betting or not the year’s most famous horse race must be enjoyed with ice-cold refreshments. Mint juleps are the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. Here are a few recipes, both traditional and nontraditional, to try for Saturday.

Mint Julep

The Old Forester Mint Julep has been the traditional cocktail at the Kentucky Derby for almost a century. This year, the official website gave out the recipe for Woodford Reserve Classic Mint Julep.

Ingredients for Old Forester Mint Julep:

  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • Fresh mint
  • Crushed ice
  • Bourbon whisky

How to make: Boil the sugar and water together for five minutes and then cool it before placing in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Ideally, make one julep at a time by filling a cup with crushed ice. Add one tablespoon of the mint syrup and two ounces of the bourbon whiskey. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Oaks Lily

The Grey Goose Oaks Lily is the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks, the premier race for 3-year-old female horses held each year on the day before the Kentucky Derby.


  • 1 ¼ ounces of vodka
  • 1 ounce of sweet and sour mix (lemonade works, too)
  • ¼ ounce of triple sec
  • 3 ounces of cranberry juice
  • Ice
  • Blackberry and lemon wedge

How to make: Combine all the ingredients in a shaker along with ice. Shake and strain the mixture into a stemless wine glass over crushed ice. Add a straw and garnish with a blackberry and lemon wedge.

Spicy Bloody Mary


  • 46 ounces can tomato juice
  • 1 cup Vodka
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 4-6 drops Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds optional

How to make: Combine all the ingredients and chill covered in a large pitcher for 24 hours. While serving garnish with celery sticks, asparagus spears, green onion. Serve with ice.

Stella Artois Cidre Cimosa


  • 3 ounces orange juice
  • 3 ounces Stella Artois Cidre

How to make: Pre-chill a wine glass with ice cubes. Discard the ice before pouring in the Stella Artois Cidre over the orange juice.

Horse’s Neck


  • 2 ounces of brandy
  • 5 ounces of ginger ale
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • 1 lemon peel spiral

How to make: Place the lemon peel in a tall glass. Fill the glass with ice cubes and pour in the brandy, ginger ale and bitters. Stir well. You can also make the cocktail with bourbon or whisky.



  • 1 ½ ounces of blended scotch whiskey
  • ¾ ounces of sweet vermouth
  • ½ ounce of Benedictine
  • A dash or two of bitters

How to make: Stir all the ingredients together with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel twist.

Spiked Sweet Tea


  • 7 cups of water
  • 6 orange pekoe tea bags
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of rum
  • Ice
  • Fresh mint

How to make: Brew the tea bags in 4 cups of water and then boil the tea with sugar on a stovetop to make simple syrup. Pour in the rest of the water, stir and add the lemon juice and rum. Let the mixture cool completely. Serve in a tall glass with ice and sprigs of fresh mint.