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The story behind the Kentucky Derby's $2,000 cocktail

The Story Behind The Kentucky Derby's $2,000 Cocktail

It's Kentucky Derby weekend and that means breaking out the big hats, betting on the horses and ... paying up to $2,000 for a drink. Wait, what?

Ah, yes. The infamous mint julep. Just one of these puppies might empty out your wallet, though there is the cheaper option: it's only $1,000, according to Kentucky Derby website.

So what's the deal with the steep price? Well, for starters it's that cup. This year they feature a gold-plated medallion of a horse and a garland of roses seen in this tweet by Matthew Willinger. But like I said, that's just the beginning.

SB Nation posted a video of the recipe. Of course you have the basics fresh mint, crushed ice, Early Times Kentucky Whisky and the sweetener ...

Which master distiller Chris Morris says to get the sweet taste, "We have candied rose petals, actual rose petals that we've soaked in sugar water... It has the mint, but now it has the rose hint to it," he told USA Today.

"And then a golden sipping straw. There it is, it's part of the package. That's an actual straw?
An actual gold sipping straw. There it is, with a gold dusted mint garnish."

Yes, a golden straw. So, do you think it's worth it? Well, apparently plenty of other people do.

Every year about 120,000 of the cocktails are sold at Churchill Downs Racetrack according to the Kentucky Derby. We'll leave that math up to you.

Now, not every mint julep at the derby is served in a golden cup with candied rose petals - there are affordable ones, too. The drink has actually been a staple among derby goers since the races started in 1875. But the drink is much older - dating back to about 200 years.

"Virginians started mixing the version drink around 1803... The concoction made it's way to Kentucky, the home of bourbon, whiskey and Kentucky colonel mint," according to Yahoo!.

The perfect mixture and the drink's popularity grew wildly. As far as the more expensive version - much of money raised reportedly goes to charity for aging horses.

Join the discussion

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slavemarv May 04 2014 at 4:46 PM

If I had the money i would get this drink. To help the retired horses.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
buglebob May 04 2014 at 9:22 AM

complete and utter BS ! No gold involved - plated crap is all you get and if you buy one your a fool.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
j64valiantmurphy May 04 2014 at 9:12 AM

Some are to make you believe that Woodfard Reserve is the official bourbon of the Mint Julep. So don't be fooled Early Times is the original. Just like Kroger paid millions of dollard for the right to make the Garland of Roses, the took it away from the local, long time maker, Kingsley/Walker, Woodford Reserve is trying to do the with the Mint Julep.

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Steve May 04 2014 at 8:49 AM

2 grand for a drink that tastes like ass....I will pass thank you.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
henrtny Steve May 04 2014 at 9:02 AM

You know how ass tastes?

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
Meh... henrtny May 04 2014 at 9:58 AM

well played sir...well played

Flag +2 rate up
DJBeacon May 04 2014 at 8:25 AM

At least an event where Bob Costas was a bit taller than some of the other guys, the jockeys.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
DJBeacon May 04 2014 at 8:24 AM

How about that little fairy Johnny Weird prancing around in his little hat and costume. What a disgrace on national TV.

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Mike May 04 2014 at 8:05 AM

Being Kentucky and being that the Derby is all about the idle rich, for the $2000 do you get to kill your server and keep the teeth?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
Meh... Mike May 04 2014 at 9:43 AM

LOL

Flag Reply +2 rate up
astin827 May 04 2014 at 8:02 AM

I dont know -am I missing something ? Why do I want to watch a poorly trained copy reader read what is written below when I can read it myself ? Just seems like an awful wasteful exsuse for reporting.

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1 reply
Meh... astin827 May 04 2014 at 9:43 AM

LOL.... agreed

Flag Reply +1 rate up
David S. May 04 2014 at 7:37 AM

Ah, the idle rich: too much time and money on their hands. There is no alcoholic beverage worth $2,000, but I guess they don't care if they get ripped offf....

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Mike May 04 2014 at 6:17 AM

Is this what's responsible for the decay of Kentucky?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
David..BRAAPP Mike May 04 2014 at 6:38 AM

No that would be the fault of the Governor and the forced closing of so many coals mines, you know to help the environment. wink wink

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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