5 Dynamic Derby Drinks to Serve At Your Bar

When you think of the Kentucky Derby, what first comes to mind? For many, it's the Mint Julep, a staple on race day for nearly a century. All you need for the quintessential Southern cocktail is bourbon, fresh mint, and simple syrup. Easy enough! It's filling the remainder of your bar's Derby-inspired menu that may serve as a challenge. That's why, as we race towards Sat., May 4th, we've put together an eclectic mix of tasty concoctions for every type of alcohol lover: whiskey, vodka, rum, champagne, and even tequila as a nod to Cinco de Mayo, falling on the same weekend. If your venue is hosting a watch party event or simply wants to keep on theme, take note of these five delicious drinks that will have you coming out as the winner.

Woodford Reserve Classic Mint Julep


  • 2 oz. Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 3 fresh mint leaves
  • Crushed ice


Express the essential oils in the mint and rub them inside the glass. To the same glass, add simple syrup, bourbon and crushed ice. Stir. Garnish with more ice and fresh mint. Sip slowly. This level of quality is meant to be savored. The good news is, you'll get to enjoy it longer.

Recipe courtesy of Kentucky Derby.


Ken-Tiki Derby Julep


  • 2 oz G.H. Mumm Champagne 1.5 oz Jameson Black Barrel .25 oz pineapple syrup .5 oz lime juice 4-5 mint leaves


In a highball glass, combine mint, pineapple syrup, and lime juice. Gently muddle the ingredients, and add in the whiskey. Top with crushed ice and light stir to combine to ingredients. Top with G.H. Mumm and add in more crushed ice. Dash 2-3 of angostura bitters on top, and garnish with pineapple leaves and mint.

Recipe courtesy of @Apartment_Bartender.


The Steeplechase


  • 2 oz flor de caña rum
  • 2 oz vanilla lemonade*
  • 1 oz smoked honey**
  • 4 large leaves of basil


In a large glass, combine rum, lemonade, honey syrup, and basil. Top with ice and quickly muddle to combine. Pour into highball and serve with a lemon.

*Vanilla lemonade — Cut 6 lemons in half and put in medium bowl. Add .5 cup sugar and 1 vanilla pod + seeds. Top with hot water and allow to soak. When water has cooled but is still warm to the touch, squeeze out lemons and discard peels. Stir and chill.

Smoked honey syrup — Combine 1 cup honey and 1 cup water in a large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic and smoke using smoking gun. Allow to infuse for 20 minutes. Chill and reserve.

Recipe courtesy of Better Half.


Habanero Hell Fire


  • 2 parts Tres Agaves Reposado Tequila
  • 2 parts Pear Puree
  • 2 dashes Habanero Bitters
  • 1 part Tres Agaves Agave Nectar
  • Seeds of 1 Jalapeño pepper, muddled


Rim glass with black pepper and salt. Then muddle seeds of Jalapeño pepper in pre-rimmed margarita glass. Pour remaining ingredients in glass, top off with ice and stir.

Recipe courtesy of Paste Magazine.

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The Finnish Line


  • 1.25 oz. Finlandia Classic Vodka, the official vodka of the Kentucky Derby
  • 1 oz. Sweet & Sour mix
  • 0.25 oz. Triple Sec
  • 3 oz. Cranberry juice
  • Fresh blackberry to garnish
  • Lemon peel to garnish


Combine ingredients over crushed ice in glass. Garnish with a fresh blackberry and lemon peel.

Recipe courtesy of Nightclub & Bar.


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