Woodford Reserve Unveils $1000 Mint Julep

It’s definitely Derby season. I’ve been invited to judge a Mint Julep competition next week, I’m scheduling an outing for The Great Steamboat Race, and all I see on Instagram these days is Derby hats. This morning I stopped by The Kentucky Derby Museum for the unveiling of the $1000 Mint Julep and accompanying cup, and all I can say is WOW.

Twelve years ago Woodford Reserve began offering a $1000 mint julep at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, donating proceeds to charity. This year’s charity is the Kentucky Derby Museum, the mission of which is to educate the public about the history and tradition of Kentucky’s other signature industry.

The inspiration for the cup comes from two places- first, the royal influence in horse racing, and second, the first motion picture, which was of a horse running. There is a corresponding commercial that is absolutely fabulous:

According to the press release from Woodford Reserve, “In 1872, Churchill Downs founder Meriwether Lewis Clark traveled to England to attend the Epsom Derby – a popular horse race attended by British royalty and high society. Upon returning to the states, he modeled the Kentucky Derby after the Epsom Derby elevating horse racing to a more sophisticated affair. Inspired by this history, this one-of a kind julep features traditional British ingredients with a unique garnish of mint, baby’s breath and edible, dehydrated blue cornflowers representative of both sides of the Atlantic.”

There will be 90 silver Noble cups available for sale, as well as 15 gold-plated Royal cups. They will be on sale thru May 6, and any unsold cups will then be sold at The Kentucky Derby. You can purchase them here.

If you want to make the $1000 Mint Julep at home, sans the cup, here’s the recipe:

Woodford Reserve® 2017 Kentucky Derby® Mint Julep

1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon

1/4 oz Pimm’s Liqueur®

1/2 oz Elderflower Cordial

1/4 oz Woodford Reserve®Mint Julep Simple Syrup

1 dash Earl Grey bitters

Handful of mint

 Rub mint around the julep cup, expressing the essential oils. Add remaining ingredients and top with crushed ice. Churn ingredients with a bar spoon distributing the flavor. Top with additional crushed ice. Garnish with a bundle of baby’s breath and mint. Sprinkle with dehydrated edible blue cornflowers.

Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl, video courtesy of Woodford Reserve

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