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Kentucky Derby 2016 Recipes: How to Make a Perfect Mint Julep

DIY Derby : Derby Party FoodsDIY Derby : Derby Party Foods
The SL Mint Julep and The Blush LilyPhotograph by Hector Sanchez / Food Stylist: Erin Merhar / Prop Stylist: Caroline Cunningham

You won’t need to make the trip to Churchill Downs to experience all the Derby has to offer.

More from Southern Living:
Your Guide to the Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby Party Checklist
Head-to-Toe Kentucky Derby Fashion Guide

The SL Mint Julep and The Blush Lily

The SL Mint Julep and The Blush Lily

On race day, Churchill Downs serves up 120,000 mint juleps and 40,000 of the lesser-known Oaks Lily cocktails. Sterling julep cups are classic, but these cocktails are so pretty—why not show them off in highball glasses?

Recipes: The SL Mint Julep and The Blush Lily

Derby Julep

Its namesake may be the fastest two minutes in sports, but that doesn’t mean this cocktail should be short-lived. Consider our derby julep a cocktail hour mainstay all year long.

Recipe: Derby Julep

Mint Julep Sweet Tea

This iced cocktail features the best of two classic Southern drinks: the mint julep and sweet tea. For best results, sip in a rocking chair on a front porch somewhere.

Recipe: Mint Julep Sweet Tea

Triple Crown Cocktails

The Derby isn’t the only leg of the Triple Crown with a signature drink. Watch the horses run with a cocktail tailored for each event. You’ll have an instant party as synonymous with Derby Day as distinctive hats.

Classic Mint Julep

Mint juleps are the quintessential Southern cocktail. All you need for this classic version is fresh mint, mint simple syrup, and bourbon. Leftover simple syrup keeps refrigerated about one week and perfectly sweetens iced tea. See our tips and techniques for stirring up a mint julep.

Recipe: Classic Mint Julep
Step-by-Step Video: Make a Classic Mint Julep

Moonshine-Cherry Blush

Basil-Lemon Moonshine is great by itself on the rocks, but our Moonshine-Cherry Blush recipe will certainly be difficult to pass up.

Recipe: Moonshine-Cherry Blush
Base Recipe: Basil-Lemon Moonshine

Bourbon Smash

Add flair to your cocktail party with the Bourbon Smash: crushed ice and bourbon combined with the sweetness of raspberries and the fresh flavor of mint.

Recipe: Bourbon Smash

Black-eyed Susan Cocktails for Preakness

This cocktail’s name is taken from the flowers used to make the blanket that drapes the winning horse at the Preakness in Baltimore, Maryland. Made with orange and pineapple juice, vodka, light rum, and orange liqueur, it’s a Plimlico winner in our book too.

Recipe: Black-eyed Susan Cocktail

Bourbon Cider Sour

Looking for something impressive yet easy to mix up for your party? Simply stir together four ingredients: bourbon, apple cider, orange juice and sugar, then serve over ice. Garnish with thin apple slices for an elegant finish.

Recipe: Bourbon Cider Sour

Reach for Long Island Iced Tea at Belmont Stakes

At the Belmont Stakes it’s Long Island Iced Tea. Serve this stiff drink in a martini glass to encourage sipping and get in the New York racing mood.

Recipe: Long Island Iced Tea

Slushy Whiskey Sours

Try a refreshing spin on a classic mixed drink featuring frozen orange juice, limeade and lemonade.

Recipe: Slushy Whiskey Sours

How to Muddle

You’ll need to know how to “muddle,” which means to crush or mash ingredients with a spoon to release flavor. A bar tool called a “muddler” can be used (its shape reminds us of a mini baseball bat) or use a wooden spoon.

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