Celebrate Derby Day with Bourbon Spirits

Derby day will be here before you know it! Whether you’re heading to Churchill Downs in your spring finest or hosting your own Kentucky Derby party, Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler’s The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book will provide you with many Derby day bourbon drinks and nibbles to get you in the horse-racing spirit.

Here are a few cocktail recipes to try at your Run for the Roses soiree. For more bourbon drink recipes enter this week’s giveaway of The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book. One lucky winner will be chosen Friday, April 12 at 1 pm!

Derby Punch

A Derby brunch isn’t complete without a classic southern staple—sweet tea. Joy’s Derby Punch is her version of the beloved southern beverage—with a little something extra added in!


  • 1 cup Kentucky bourbon (80–90 proof)
  • ½ cup brown sugar syrup
  • ½ cup DeKuyper Wild Strawberry liqueur
  • 1 cup cooled tea
  • 12 large lemon wedges
  • 12 fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced
  • ½ cup sparkling wine

In a 1½ quart glass pitcher, combine the bourbon, brown sugar syrup, Wild Strawberry liqueur, and tea. Squeeze and drop in the lemon wedges, and stir well. Add ice cubes and strawberry slices. Top with sparkling wine, stir again, and serve.

(Cocktail Tip: Joy suggests serving it in a small Mason jar.)

Dark and Bloody Bourbon Mary

This bourbon-inspired twist on the classic Bloody Mary cocktail is perfect for a Derby brunch.

Bourbon Bloody Mary 1

  • 1 teaspoon salt/pepper/paprika mix
  • 2 ounces Kentucky bourbon
  • 2 large lemon wedges
  • 1 tablespoon Bourbon Barrel Aged Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) Campbell’s tomato juice

To prepare the seasoning mix, combine in a mortar one part each smoked sea salt and smoked pepper and two parts smoked paprika, all from Bourbon Barrel Foods. Finely crush with a pestle and shake together in a jar.

To a pint glass or large mason jar filled with ice, add the bourbon, squeeze and drop in the lemon wedges, and add the teaspoon of seasoning mix and the Worcestershire sauce. Shake. Add more ice and the can of tomato juice. Shake again. Garnish with a long straw, baby corn, a large pitted black olive, and a cherry pepper, all on a stick.

Stay tuned for more recipes from The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book!


One thought on “Celebrate Derby Day with Bourbon Spirits

  1. Pingback: Fact or Myth: You can get your daily dose of veggies from a cocktail? | The University Press of Kentucky

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