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Make the Famous Mint Julep Served at the Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby's iconic Mint Juleps recipe revealed by Churchill Downs chef. Over 127,000 served at the race. Get ready to sip!

The Kentucky Derby is more than just a horse race; it's a day filled with horses, hats, and the beloved Mint Julep cocktail. Executive chef David Danielson of Churchill Downs has shared the recipe for this iconic drink, which is served to the 400,000 attendees on race day.

Despite the race itself lasting only two minutes, the Derby is an all-day affair, with an estimated 127,000 mint juleps being consumed throughout the day. Churchill Downs goes through a staggering amount of ingredients to keep up with the demand, including 254,000 ounces of bourbon, 300 crates of mint, and 60,000 pounds of ice.

While the official recipe for a mint julep includes bourbon, water, fresh mint, sugar, and crushed ice, chef Danielson has his own twist on the classic cocktail. Using Woodford Reserve bourbon for its smoothness and flavor profile, he also adds a mint simple syrup made from equal parts sugar and water steeped with mint.

To make the process more efficient, Danielson recommends pre-mixing a batch of bourbon and syrup to keep in the fridge until ready to serve. When it's time to enjoy your mint julep, simply pour the boozy mixture over ice, garnish with a generous sprig of mint, and you're ready to go.

Historically, mint juleps were a symbol of prosperity, with the presence of ice in the drink signifying wealth and status. By serving up this classic cocktail, you're not only enjoying a delicious beverage but also carrying on a tradition that dates back to the early days of the Derby.

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