Horse racing is a sport that goes hand in hand with consuming alcoholic beverages. Some drinks have even become associated with horse racing’s biggest events. At the Belmont Stakes the official drink is the Belmont Jewel. At the Preakness Stakes the official drink is the Black-eyed Susan. The most famous horse racing drink of them all is the Mint Julep. It is served every year at the Kentucky Derby.
You don’t have to make a trip to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs to enjoy your very own Mint Julep. Here’s a look at this iconic drink and a recipe that you can use at home. Enjoy the drink while you bet horses and the Kentucky Derby at your favorite online racebook.
The History of the Mint Julep
The actual history of the Mint Julep is unknown. Most drink historians agree that it originated in the southern United States, probably around the late 1700s. It was mentioned in literature around 1770, and there was even a fictional character named Mr Julip who was an alcoholic.
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In 1774 the drink was referenced as a medical tonic. This was common for many alcoholic drinks of the time. There was a common perception that a swig or two of alcohol would repair many ailments. The mint in the Mint Julep probably aided in the drink being viewed as a tonic of sorts.
It is believed that Henry Clay, a senator from Kentucky, brought the drink to Washington where it soon became a staple of the bars which served the nation’s politicians. Clay may have also ultimately had something to do with the drink becoming a part of the Kentucky Derby tradition.
How the Mint Julep Became Identified with the Kentucky Derby
If you are lucky enough to visit the Kentucky Derby in person, you will encounter the legendary Mint Julep. The drink has been a part of the Kentucky Derby experience for almost as long as the race itself. It is served in many forms, with some drinks in the past costing $10,000!
In 1938 Churchill Downs made the Mint Julep the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It has grown in popularity with each year. Today, about 120,000 Mint Julep drinks are served during the Derby, and most of them are offered in special collectible glasses that are different each year.
For many years the official Kentucky Derby Mint Julep was made with Early Times bourbon due to a partnership between the brands. Today, it is also common to see the drink made from high end bourbon such as Maker’s Mark.
How to Make the Perfect Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
Few of us may have the opportunity to attend the Kentucky Derby live. We can still enjoy the taste of a Mint Julep in our own home with this simple recipe.
Mint Julep Ingredients:
- Approximately 2 oz. Bourbon (use your favorite, but stick with Early Times for the classic cocktail
- 4 mint leaves
- 1 tsp powdered sugar
- 2 tsp of water
Mint Julep Preparation:
- Muddle the mint, sugar, and water in a highball glass
- Fill the glass with cracked ice
- Add bourbon and stir, allowing the glass to frost
- Garnish with fresh mint sprig and enjoy
There have been very few variations of the Mint Julep since it was first introduced at the Kentucky Derby. There are now specialized versions of the drink that usually make their appearance around the holidays.
The Best Way to Enjoy Your Mint Julep at Home
The best way to enjoy your Mint Julep at home is to sign up with one of our recommended online racebooks. We suggest Amwager. When the Kentucky Derby rolls around you will be all set to enjoy the day.
You don’t have to wait for the Kentucky Derby when you start betting horses online. There are many races each day to choose from, and you can even create your own special drink traditions.
Read more on Bourbon & Horse Racing Betting