A Drink for the Kentucky Derby

A Drink for the Kentucky Derby

The history of the Mint Julep goes back...way back. Virginians were drinking a version of this cocktail as early as the 1700’s, so it’s no surprise that it’s the official drink of a race that first ran in 1875. We're speaking, of course of the Kentucky Derby. We’re not quite sure why the Mint Julep is the official drink of the Derby, but one would guess because it’s the perfect drink for that day.

Kentucky Bourbon, fresh spearmint, just a little sweetness, a heap of finely crushed ice, and a perfectly frosted silver cup. Sounds good for a hot day in Kentucky, right? We used our Lime Leaf Tonic for the notes of mint and lemongrass to replace the classic powdered sugar for sweetness and Four Roses Single Barrel for our choice of Kentucky Bourbon. If you’re looking for barware for the occasion, check out our friends at UrbAna Phoenix for a julep cup, metal straws, and Lewis bag with a mallet. If you need a trick for crushing ice, we have that too so keep reading!

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Recipe



  • 2oz Kentucky Bourbon 
  • 1oz Iconic Lime Leaf Tonic
  • Fresh Mint
  • Crushed Ice

Directions: Combine Bourbon with Iconic Lime Leaf Tonic. Set aside and crush ice. Fill a chilled julep cup with the crushed ice. Slowly add your cocktail. Top with ice after poured. Clap a healthy handful of mint between hands to express the oils then rub mint over the glass and garnish near the straw. 

Now you can try out this simple cocktail on any ol’ hot day or just in time for the Kentucky Derby on May 5th. You'll find us drinking our version of a Mint Julep and we’ll see you in the Winner’s Circle!

Kentucky Derby Mint Juelp


Crushed ice is used to chill cocktails fast as well as add needed dilution for strong drinks. Get a wooden mallet and fill a canvas bag (called a “Lewis Bag”) with ice cubes. Close and hold the end of the bag, then smash all that ice!

Once you’ve achieved your desired texture of ice, you’ll need to move fast. This ice is going to melt exponentially faster than normal ice, especially when you touch it. Use a scoop or plastic cup to remove it from the bag and into your glass.

Don’t overfill your cup with it either. When you pour your drink, it’s going to fill FAST! Remember, almost all of that glass is full of ice. Not much room left, but enough for a cocktail. Top with more ice if needed. A round mound on top looks nice and will keep it cold longer.

Fun tip: Don’t have a Lewis Bag and mallet? You can use a clean canvas tote bag and anything with weight for a mallet. Think: meat tenderizer, an empty bottle, a cookbook. Get creative but don’t get crazy.

Shout out to  Devour Phoenix  for having the perfect tote to use for a Lewis bag!


We want to see your cocktails that you make for the Kentucky Derby! Tag us in your photos and use the hashtag #justaddspirit


Iconic Cocktail Co. 

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