Horses, racing, drinks, hats – The Kentucky Derby is coming! What has been called “the most exciting two minutes in sports”, is actually a time-honored tradition dating back to 1875, and since 1938 the Mint Julep, made with bourbon, mint and simple syrup, has been a track favorite. Today roughly 120,000 mint juleps are served at the races each year.

Vodka lovers don’t need to be left out of the fun though. A Vodka Mint Julep is a refreshing take on this popular drink. You will need mint leaves, sugar, lemon, ice and Yacht Life Vodka.

Start by adding fresh mint leaves, lemon and sugar to a shaker and muddle. Add crushed ice and vodka to a shaker and shake for 15-30 seconds. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. 

The cousin of the Mint Julep is the Rickey, and it is usually made with gin, but the addition of vodka makes for a luxurious libation. Combine Yacht Life Vodka, freshly squeezed lime juice and sparkling water over ice. 

Kentucky’s other big race is the Oaks Derby and the Oaks Lily is the signature cocktail – made with vodka, orange liqueur, simple syrup, lemon and cranberry juices – with a pink color inspired by the stargazer lilies placed on the race’s winning horse.

And of course you can’t do an event in Kentucky without iced tea! Muddle berries and lemon juice in a shaker, then add simple syrup, Yacht Life Vodka, unsweetened iced tea and ice. Shake for 15-30 seconds and then strain into a tall glass with ice and garnish with mint. 

The Kentucky Derby is more than just horses, it is a celebration of tradition and culture and these cocktails are classics, with a twist. Cheers to Derby Day festivities!