Food + Drink Recipes

A Winning Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Recipe

May 2, 2019

Stay refreshed during the race with this mint julep recipe from Firebird Tavern.

By Alexa Caccamo

It’s not the Kentucky Derby without a signature mint julep. In fact, the drink has been the official drink of the derby since 1938.

To celebrate the race on Saturday, Firebird Tavern in downtown Detroit is sharing its recipe for the cocktail. Firebird Tavern is an official Woodford Reserve partner, four years running. Owen Burke, co-owner of Firebird Tavern, has attended the Kentucky Derby the last 12 years, so it’s safe to say the Derby has a special place in the tavern’s heart.

The folks at Firebird have a few tips to craft a proper, perfect mint julep:

1. Ice: Crushed ice is a must. Purchase at specialty stores, or grab a mallet and go to town.

2. Glassware: Use a highball glass or a chilled metal julep cup.

3. Fresh mint: Necessary for this signature drink.

4. Bourbon: Go with Woodford Reserve. “It’s the star of the show,” Burke says.

Stay refreshed during the race and make Firebird Tavern’s mint julep for yourself, friends and race lovers.

Firebird Tavern’s Woodford Reserve Mint Julep

Firebird Tavern - Woodford Derby Mint Julep (1)Courtesy Firebird Tavern


2 ounces Woodford Reserve

1/2 ounce simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)

3-4 fresh mint leaves

Crushed ice


Gently press the mint to express the oil, and rub inside the glass.

To the same glass, add simple syrup, bourbon and crushed ice. Stir.

Garnish with more ice and fresh mint.

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