You probably know that mint juleps are served at the Kentucky Derby, but if you want a real one, made from scratch on site, it will cost you at least $1,000.
And they sell out every year, usually before Derby Day, which is May 5. There are only 90 of them, available online at woodfordreservemintjulep.com. Or you could buy one of the 15 that costs $2,500.
What makes these so special? Every year, Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris makes them just for the buyer in a one of a kind silver (or gold, if you get the $2,500 version) julep cups.
And each year the $1,000 mint juleps benefit a Kentucky-related charity. This, the 13th version, will benefit the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund, established by the Louisville native in 2016 to support organizations delivering arts education and opportunities for children in Greater Louisville.
“The Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund is proud to partner with Woodford Reserve, whose own story represents the very best of Kentucky,” said Meredith Lawrence, director of the fund. “We are passionate about leveraging the transformative power of the arts in Kentucky and beyond.”
Over the last 12 years, the cups have raised more than $450,000 for equine and racing-related charities.
The cups and this year’s recipe were unveiled on Wednesday at Churchill Downs, where this year the Derby will be sponsored by Woodford Reserve, Brown-Forman’s premium bourbon.
Assistant master distiller Elizabeth McCall and Morris presented the recipe under the theme “Best of Kentucky.” It’s made with 2 ounces of Woodford Reserve, a teaspoon of simple syrup made from Woodford County-grown sorghum, 2 leaves of Kentucky Colonel mint and crushed ice. The drinks are garnished with spray roses, a sprig of mint and “a single rose petal from the Garland of Roses which is draped on the winning Derby horse.”
The cups are made by Louisville-based jeweler From the Vault and for the first time will feature the Twin Spires on the cups, as a nod to Woodford’s inaugural year as title sponsor, as well as a Thoroughbred horse, a jockey, a bottle of Woodford Reserve and a rose.
This year, Woodford Reserve also debuted a new drink that will be on available on Derby day and will still be on the menu at Churchill Downs: the Woodford Spire, made with bourbon, lemonade, cranberry juice and a lemon twist garnish.