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The Kentucky Derby’s quintessential drink, the Mint Julep, is practically required drinking while watching the horses race around the track. Sure, the refreshing combination of bourbon and mint is may be the real star of the Derby. After all, the race only lasts two minutes, but the cocktails flow all day. But there are lots of other Derby drinks to make, too. So be sure to try one of these cocktails, and let the races begin!
Sweet tea isn’t just for front-porch sipping anymore. Take it all the way to Churchill Downs by adding in mint and bourbon for a Julep-esque flavor. Grilled peaches and lemons infuse the cocktail with a smoky sweet flavor, and the whole drink can be made in a large batch so you can focus on sipping, not bartending.
Missed your morning cup of tea before the race? Get your fix while also getting your booze on with this vibrant Highball. Matcha’s bitter and grassy notes stand up well to bourbon, especially when mixed with spearmint leaves and lemon into a velvety drink you won’t be able to put down.
This citrusy cocktail is light enough to start off your Derby Day. Shake moonshine, grapefruit juice, grapefruit bitters and simple syrup, then strain into a highball filled with ice and serve topped with a pomelo slice.
May means much of the country has entered (or is about to enter) summer weather. Cool down from the Kentucky heat with this fun frozen version of the ultimate Derby cocktail. Mint syrup takes the place of fresh mint (to keep the texture smooth), and it’s blended with ice and bourbon for a cool and deceivingly simple sipper.
Bourbon and peach schnapps give a boozy punch to plain iced tea in this down and dirty cocktail. If you like your drinks on the sweeter side, use sweet tea or add in an extra dash of schnapps to the cocktail.
What do you get when you take a traditional Julep and add in peaches and basil in place of lime and mint? This lightly sweet, totally Instagrammable cocktail. Fresh peaches are easy to turn into a homemade purée, and a simple basil syrup adds just enough herbal brightness to pair with bourbon.
Round out your day of drinking this super indulgent boozy dessert. This milkshake takes all the flavors of Derby Pie, a traditional dessert made with chocolate and walnuts, and throws them into the blender, subbing pecans for the walnuts and adding in a hefty dose of bourbon (naturally).
Bourbon is practically required for Kentucky Derby celebrations, but if you can't stomach the brown spirit, try this Cosmopolitan riff instead. Vodka, triple sec, sweet-and-sour mix and cranberry juice give the cocktail a vibrant pink hue and fruity flavor, and fresh blackberries and lemon serve as the perfect springtime garnish.
This cocktail is almost prettier than your finest Derby hat. Thyme and lime are muddled together, then mixed with bourbon, grapefruit juice and bitters for a smash that’s super refreshing while still remaining seasonal and festive.
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