The $1000 Mint Julep: A Drink Fit For A King Or Queen

Woodford Reserve 1,000 Mint Julep honors Black jockeys who won

The History of the Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is a classic cocktail that dates back to the 18th century. Originally made with brandy, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that bourbon became the preferred spirit. The cocktail gained popularity in the South, particularly in Kentucky, where it became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1938.

What Makes the $1000 Mint Julep So Special?

Each year, the Kentucky Derby offers a $1000 Mint Julep at their annual event. So what makes this cocktail so special? For starters, it’s served in a sterling silver cup that you get to keep as a souvenir. The cup is also engraved with the Kentucky Derby logo and the year in which it was served.

But it’s not just the cup that makes the $1000 Mint Julep special. The cocktail is made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, which is a high-end bourbon that is aged for at least six years. The cocktail is also made with a special mint-infused syrup and is garnished with fresh mint leaves and a sprig of lavender.

The Charity Aspect of the $1000 Mint Julep

While $1000 may seem like a steep price to pay for a cocktail, it’s important to note that the proceeds from the sales of the $1000 Mint Julep go to a good cause. Each year, the Kentucky Derby partners with a different charity to donate the proceeds. In 2023, the proceeds will go to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, which helps retired racehorses find homes and new careers.

How to Make Your Own Mint Julep

If you’re not able to make it to the Kentucky Derby to try the $1000 Mint Julep, you can still enjoy a delicious mint julep at home. Here’s a simple recipe:


  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. mint-infused simple syrup
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Crushed ice


  1. Add a few mint leaves to the bottom of a julep cup or rocks glass
  2. Add the mint-infused simple syrup and muddle the mint leaves
  3. Add the bourbon and stir to combine
  4. Fill the glass with crushed ice
  5. Garnish with fresh mint leaves

Tips for Making the Perfect Mint Julep

Here are a few tips to help you make the perfect mint julep:

  • Use fresh ingredients – Fresh mint leaves and high-quality bourbon are key to making a delicious mint julep.
  • Muddle the mint – Muddling the mint leaves with the simple syrup helps to release the oils and flavor.
  • Use crushed ice – Crushed ice helps to keep the drink cold and dilutes the bourbon just enough.
  • Don’t overdo it with the syrup – Too much syrup can make the drink too sweet. Start with a small amount and adjust to your taste.


The $1000 Mint Julep may not be accessible to everyone, but it’s a fun tradition that combines a delicious cocktail with a good cause. If you’re not able to attend the Kentucky Derby, try making a mint julep at home and enjoy a taste of the South.