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The Official $1,000 Mint Julep Recipe for the Kentucky Derby

It's that time of year again; dust off your floppy hats, secure your bow ties, and reach for that bottle of Woodford Reserve, because we have the official $1,000 Mint Julep recipe to help celebrate the Run for the Roses! 

If $1,000 seems like a lot of money to spend on a mint julep, hear us out: The price tag is what you pay at the actual Kentucky Derby on May 7, and comes complete with a commemorative mint julep cup. Proceeds from the julep sales also benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, which provides financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered severe injuries while racing.

If all of this isn't enough to convince you to purchase your own, the custom recipe was developed by New York City mixologist Julie Renee Williams (Gallow Green, Sleep No More), and combines iconic down-home flavors to create a upscale twist on this classic Southern beverage. Instead of regular simple syrup, Julie made a toasted pecan orgeat, which is made by toasting pecans to create a homemade nut milk, and mixing with equal parts sugar and water. (See the full instructions below). The orgeat pays homage to pecan pie, a Southern dessert staple, and brings out the rich flavors of the Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select. The julep is then topped with pecan crumbles, and edible copper flakes. 


Photo by: Jessie Gibson

At the Derby, the $1,000 juleps are served in custom cups designed by Houston-based men's shirt designer Hamilton shirts, and was actually made at From the Vault, a Louisville-based jeweler. The collectable julep cups and straws also entitle you to free julep refills throughout the Derby festivities (yes, please!) and will make an impressive addition to your barware.  

If you can't make it to the Kentucky Derby this year, we've outlined the official recipe for you below, complete with how to make your own orgeat and the proper way to serve it (in a julep tin, of course). I was able to make my own and drink it at a Woodford Reserve happy hour in New York City on April 19, and I must say: this is a julep recipe I will for sure keep in my cocktail aresnal. Whether you're planning a Kentucky Derby watch party, or just looking for a fancy summer bourbon-based cocktail, this $1,000 julep is it. Just don't tell your friends how easy it was to actually make. 



  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select
  • 3/4 ounce Toasted Pecan Orgeat Syrup*
  • Fresh mint (2-3 sprigs)
  • Caramelized pecan crumbles, for garnish
  • Edible copper flakes

Start by rubbing a handful of fresh mint around the inside of the julep cup. Julie tells me this helps release the fresh mint oils and flavor, without the risk of breaking up the actual leaves (aka, no risk of downing mint fragments while sipping!).

Add a handful of crushed ice to the julep cup, then pour in the bourbon and pecan orgeat. Stir all the ingredients with a swizzle spoon, and top with more crushed ice until the julep cup is full. 

Sprinkle carmelized pecans and edible copper flakes on top, and garnish with a fresh mint sprig. Wager your race bets, and enjoy your julep! 

Makes: 1 julep

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