Spend

Here's what you get if you buy a $1,000 mint julep at the Kentucky Derby

Race fan sips a Mint Julep on Kentucky Oaks day on May 5, 2006 at Churchill Downs
Jamie Squire | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

The mint julep is a Kentucky Derby staple. Each year, nearly 120,000 of them are served during the two-day event at the Churchill Downs Racetrack.

The beverages will go for about $10 a pop at the track but, for the 14th year in a row, Kentucky bourbon distillery Woodford Reserve is offering a limited number of $1,000 mint juleps for those who are looking to splurge.

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 Kentucky straight bourbon
  • 2 bar spoons of honey sweetener
  • 2 leaves of Kentucky colonel mint
  • Garnish: shaved honeycomb and a sprig of mint
The 2019 Woodford Reserve $1,000 and $2,500 mint julep cups
Woodford Reserve

While the ingredient list is simple, the cups the drinks are served in are not: Each one is handcrafted by a Louisville-based jeweler and feature elaborate designs of Kentucky scenes like the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. And they come in a wooden box lined with the same silk used to make the jerseys worn by the jockeys.

"You get the most beautiful julep cup you've ever seen in your life," Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris tells CNBC Make It, adding: "Each year, the cup has been unique. We've had silver cups, gold-plated cups, both at the same time, as we do this year. We've had cups that have had diamonds in them and emeralds and rubies."

The cups, which went on sale in early April, will be available to purchase online until Friday, May 3, at noon. "Then, whatever cups are left — and there always seems to be a few — we will have for sale to walk-in traffic at the track at the Woodford Reserve $1,000 mint julep bar," says Morris.

There are about 33 left, he tells Make It.

Woodford Reserve also offered 20 gold-plated cups for $2,500, which sold out in "a handful of days," says Morris.

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

The proceeds from the $1,000 and $2,500 cocktails go to a different charity every year. This year, the money will benefit the John Asher Memorial Scholarship Fund at Western Kentucky University, says Morris: "John Asher was the voice of Churchill Downs for 30 some odd years and he was so passionate about horse racing, about the Derby, and he was quite the historian. He unexpectedly passed away last summer and we created this foundation in his name to continue a new generation of journalism students at his alma mater."

If you missed out on the limited edition cups, or if you don't want to drop a grand on a single drink, there will be plenty of mint juleps available at a more affordable price point at Churchill Downs over Derby weekend.

Either way, to get the most bang for your buck, "you should have at least 22 sips before your julep runs dry," Morris told Fortune last year.

Sip with a straw, he recommends, as it will help mix the drink's sweetener and mint.

Tune in to watch the 2019 Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Don't miss: Kentucky derby hats can cost up to $1,000–here's what it's like to shop for one

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

VIDEO1:0501:05
How to shop for a Kentucky Derby hat like the super rich
Race fan sips a Mint Julep on Kentucky Oaks day on May 5, 2006 at Churchill Downs
Jamie Squire | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

CNBC.COM