You can sip a $1,000 mint julep at the Kentucky Derby — here's what makes it so pricey

The mint julep is the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby
Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

Everything about the Kentucky Derby is extravagant — including the drinks.

For those who are really looking to splurge, there's a $1,000 mint julep offered by Kentucky bourbon distillery Woodford Reserve.

The recipe uses ingredients that can only be sourced in Kentucky. Here's exactly what goes into the four-figure cocktail:

  • 2 oz. Woodford Reserve straight bourbon
  • 1 tsp Kentucky sorghum simple syrup (a natural sweetener)
  • 2 leaves of Kentucky colonel mint
  • Garnish: 3 red roses, a sprig of mint and a single rose petal from the Garland of Roses
The Woodford Reserve $1,000 and $2,500 mint julep cups
Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

While the ingredient list is simple, the cups each drink is served in are not. Each sterling silver "Bluegrass cup," which Woodford Reserve made 90 of this year, is handcrafted by a Louisville-based jeweler. It features elaborate designs of Kentucky scenes like the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs, and a thoroughbred with a jockey.

After going on sale online in April, the cups, which come in a wooden box lined with the same silk used to make the jerseys worn by the jockeys, sold out completely in a week. Woodford Reserve also offered 15 gold-plated "Commonwealth cups" for $2,500, which also sold out. On the day of the Derby, however, five Bluegrass cups will be sold at the track.

All proceeds from the four-figure cocktails are benefiting Kentucky-native Jennifer Lawrence's charity, the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund.

How to shop for a Kentucky Derby hat like the super rich
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If you missed out on the limited edition cups, or simply don't want to drop hundreds of dollars on a single drink, there will be plenty of $11 mint juleps available at Churchill Downs over Derby weekend. Each year, about 120,000 juleps are served during the two-day event.

Whether you're sipping out of a $2,500 cup or an $11 cup, to get the most bang for your buck, "you should have at least 22 sips before your julep runs dry," master distiller at Woodford Reserve, Chris Morris, tells Fortune.

And sip with a straw, he recommends, as it will help mix the drink's sugar and mint.

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