Made-to Order Mint Julep Commemorates the 145thKentucky Derby with a local honey sweetener rested inside the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs


April 10, 2019 (Louisville, KY) — Woodford Reserve, the Presenting Sponsor of the Kentucky Derby, today revealed its celebrated annual Kentucky Derby tradition—the $1,000 Mint Julep Cup.

To truly mark Kentucky on Kentucky’s Best Day, this year’s $1,000 Mint Julep recipe includes a unique offering—a local Kentucky honey sweetener that has rested inside an oak barrel for 145 days inside the famed Twin Spires at Churchill Downs to commemorate the 145thKentucky Derby. The honey for the mint julep was supplied by farmer Richard Hosey and his family, of Midway, Kentucky, who have been harvesting honey since the 1970s. This is the first time anything has been permitted to age inside the Twin Spires.

This year the celebratory program pays tribute to the John Asher Memorial Scholarship Fund at Western Kentucky University.Asher, longtime Vice President of Racing Communications and spokesman of Churchill Downs beloved by many within the equestrian community, died suddenly in August 2018 at age 62. A proud alum of Western Kentucky University, Woodford Reserve is honoring his memory through this year’s $1,000 Mint Julep Program by donating funds to the bright young minds at the college. This year’s julep cup honors his life and dedication to the industry, while celebrating the spirit of the Kentucky Derby just as he would.

Each $1,000 Mint Julep cup will be presented in a wooden box lined with jockey silks featuring the iconic flask-shaped Woodford Reserve bottle which were designed by Bourbon Cousins of Cincinnati, Ohio. The silver cups are handcrafted by Louisville jeweler from the Vault, and each is adorned with embellishments representative of the Best of Kentucky.

Etched on the cup are the Twin Spires, while barrels are prominently displayed on the sides—reflective of the small oak barrel with this year’s special rested honey sweetener inside one spire. The cups also feature a bottle of Woodford Reserve, tying together the quintessential ingredients needed for the Kentucky Derby. The inspiration for the scrollwork on the cup comes from the classic architecture of the original grandstand at Churchill Downs.

“Woodford Reserve is honored to bring together two of Kentucky’s greatest traditions — Derby and bourbon — through our $1,000 Mint Julep Cup program,” Master Distiller Chris Morris said. “A premium celebration like The Kentucky Derby deserves an opulent cocktail. This year, we are deeply honored to celebrate the life and legacy of John Asher.”

Now in its 14thyear, the $1,000 Mint Julep program is an annual Derby tradition. This year’s recipe was crafted by Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris and Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall, who climbed into the Twin Spires on a cold December day to place the honey sweetener for the final cocktail recipe to rest for 145 days. For the full “inspired” cocktail recipe for this year’s $1,000 Mint Julep please see the below.

An “Inspired” Cocktail: Woodford Reserve’s®2019 $1,000 Mint Julep Kentucky Derby® Recipe:


  • 2 oz. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • 2 bar spoons of Inspired Honey Sweetener
  • 2 Mint Leaves
  • Garnish: Shaved honeycomb and a sprig of mint



  • Rub mint around the julep cup, expressing the essential oils and place the mint leaf in the bottom of the cup. Drizzle two bar spoons of honey sweetener in the cup, followed by two ounces of Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon, mixing the ingredients together. Pack ice into the cup, followed by placing the sipping straw. Layer loose ice on top, with a splash of Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon to settle your drink. Garnish with shaved honeycomb and a sprig of mint.


There are 145 cups available this year — 125 silver cups (Bluegrass Cups) and 20 silver cups plated in gold (Commonwealth Cups). The silver cups retail for $1,000 each and the gold-plated cups will be available at the price of $2,500 per cup. Sales of the cup begin at 10 a.m. on April 10 to consumers ages 21 years and up at The sale closes at noon on April 30, 2019. Cup buyers will have access to the Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep Tent and hospitality area on Derby day, where they will receive their handcrafted mint julep.

Any unsold cups will be available for purchase at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day (May 4th).  Purchase of cup does not include admission to Churchill Downs. Purchased cups must be claimed by the buyer or his or her submitted and approved proxy at Churchill Downs on Derby Day between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  For complete terms and conditions, please visit


About the John Asher Memorial Scholarship Fund:                                     

The John Asher Memorial Scholarship Fund was created by his family to support deserving students studying at Asher’s alma mater. For additional information about the John Asher Memorial Scholarship fund, please visit


About Churchill Downs Racetrack:


Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 145thrunning of the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2019. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships nine times. For more information visit



About Woodford Reserve:

Woodford Reserve, the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby,” is crafted at the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery, tucked in the heart of thoroughbred country in Versailles, Kentucky. A National Historic Landmark, the Woodford Reserve Distillery represents craftsmanship with a balance of historic heritage and modern practices. Woodford Reserve is a product of the Brown-Forman Corporation, a premier producer and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands including Jack Daniel’s, Finlandia, Korbel, Tequila Herradura, Old Forester, Sonoma-Cutrer and Chambord. Please enjoy your bourbon responsibly. To learn more about Woodford Reserve, visit us check us out on Facebook at

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 45.2% Alc. by Vol., produced and bottled by the Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles, KY ©2019


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