How to Make a $1,000 Mint Julep

© Woodford Reserve

By Justine Sterling Posted April 13, 2015

Every Derby Day (which is May 2 this year), a great many people who love bourbon, horse racing or both come together to drink icy, sweet and boozy mint juleps. And for the last 10 years, some Derby fans have taken the opportunity to make a substantial donation to charity by buying the $1,000 Mint Julep Cup.

Every Derby Day (which is May 2 this year), a great many people who love bourbon, horse racing or both come together to drink icy, sweet and boozy mint juleps. And for the last 10 years, some Derby fans have taken the opportunity to make a substantial donation to charity by buying the $1,000 Mint Julep Cup. Woodford Reserve (the official bourbon of the Derby) has just revealed this year's cup: Designed by fashion designer Billy Reid, the cups (which come in classic silver and limited edition gold for an extra $1,500) are available for purchase online. There’s just one catch (aside from the cost): Buyers have to be in attendance of the Kentucky Derby, as the cups can only be picked up at the Woodford Reserve bar at Churchill Downs. Each cup comes with a display box lined with a limited edition fabric created by Reid as well as an elevated take on the mint julep from bartender Pam Wiznitzer of Seamstress in New York City. Proceeds from the cups will go to the Wounded Warrior Equestrian Program.

Looking to step your mint julep game up without dropping a grand? Here are five ways Wiznitzer improved upon the classic cocktail with her 2015 Kentucky Derby Mint Julep. Try them all, or just pick and choose for an amazingly decadent drink.

Extra-rich bourbon. Wiznitzer opted for Woodford’s Double Oaked bottling, which is aged in both standard oak barrels and barrels that are extra-charred and toasted for even more sweet, woodsy flavor.

Out-of-the-box mint. In place of the typical peppermint, Wiznitzer makes her julep with chocolate mint. Not only does it impart an incredible, chocolaty smell, but the mint’s round flavors pick up on the bourbon’s natural brown sugar notes.

Better sugar. Instead of white sugar or simple syrup, Wiznitzer uses a two-to-one syrup made with coconut palm sugar. The toasty, extra-sweet syrup stands up to the hearty bourbon and enriches the cocktail even more.

Cold shaken. Juleps are typically built in the glass, but Wiznitzer’s is shaken with ice for a super-smooth texture and evenly blended flavor.

Edible garnish. Aside from the standard mint sprig, Wiznitzer garnishes her julep with candied orange and lemon peels.

Related: 4 Mint Julep Recipes
More Bourbon Cocktails
Classic Cocktails to Master

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