Skip to content
Previous Next

Woodford Reserve Announces 'Ultimate Mint Julep'

May 21, 2006, Louisville, KY — Woodford Reserve, the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, along with Levy Restaurants and Churchill Downs Incorporated, present the most expensive mint julep ever to be sold at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, on Derby Day. The Woodford Reserve Ultimate Mint Julep will sell for $1,000 on one day only — May 6, 2006, the 132nd Kentucky Derby.

With one-of-a-kind ingredients, including a personal selection of Woodford Reserve bourbon, mint from Morocco, sugar from the South Pacific and Arctic water, this exotic cocktail will be presented in a gold-plated cup and keepsake case. A limited supply of mint juleps, 50 in total, will be produced, and a select number of these will be available for pre-order. All proceeds from the mint julep sales will go to Green Pastures, a non-profit organization which benefits retired thoroughbreds.

“A world-class event, like the Derby, deserves a world-class cocktail. We believe this will be the most expensive mint julep ever to be sold,” said Wayne Rose, brand director of Woodford Reserve.

Guest bartenders including cocktail experts like Chris Morris, the Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve, and Bob King, Director of Beverage, Levy Restaurants, will personally prepare the Ultimate Mint Julep and deliver it to thirsty Derby fans.

“The Kentucky Derby is synonymous with fine horses and mint juleps. It has been a thrilling experience to be a part of creating a one-of-a-kind beverage that honors both,” said Bob King, director of beverage with Levy Restaurants. “This spectacular beverage is the perfect complement the most exciting two minutes in sports and all to benefit a great cause.”

The Cup

New England Sterling, a division of Masters of Design and the official jeweler of the Kentucky Derby trophy, created a 24 kt gold-plated julep cup complete with a raised 24 kt gold-plated horseshoe adorning the cup. The engraved cup reads: “Kentucky Derby 132, May 6, 2006” with the Woodford Reserve logo on the back.

A true collectible only 50 cups will be produced in total. Each numbered cup will be accompanied by a designer Woodford Reserve sterling silver sipping straw that mimics the shape of the Woodford bottle and a certificate of authenticity signed by Chris Morris. The cup, stirrer and certificate will be encased in a custom made oak box for safe keeping after the cocktail is consumed.

The Ingredients

A select team from Churchill Downs and Levy Restaurants, including Levy’s Chef Gil Logan, visited the Woodford Reserve Distillery to create their own personal selection of Woodford Reserve bourbon sold nowhere else but Churchill Downs. Master Distiller Chris Morris was on hand at the historic distillery in Versailles, Kentucky, to lead the group through a tasting of ten barrel samples of Woodford Reserve. After all were in agreement on the perfect combination of flavor profiles, select samples were combined to create a one-of-a-kind expression of Woodford Reserve for Churchill Downs.

“We wanted to capture the smooth, robust flavor of Woodford Reserve, but still add a unique twist to the bourbon that could not be replicated,” said Morris. “The bourbon we produced is robust and extra-rich, warming yet light on the palate and very elegant. It is the perfect compliment for aromatic mint and fine sugar.”

To create this world-class cocktail, mint was flown in from Morocco, a country known for its lush mint fields, and sugar was transported from the Island of Mauritius, which sits in the warm ocean between Madagascar and Australia. Known for its unique toast-and-cinnamon character, this sugar was ground into a fine powder at the Woodford Reserve Distillery for easy mixability.

“The key to making a delicious mint julep is selecting a full-bodied bourbon, the finest mint and sugar and, of course, lots of crushed ice,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris.

To ensure the ice was pure enough for the Ultimate Mint Julep, Woodford Reserve transported ice from the Arctic Circle.

“The Kentucky Derby is our crowning event, where anything can happen. We have no doubt the Ultimate Mint Julep will make its own mark in Derby history,” said Tricia Amburgey, director of sales at Churchill Downs.

Consumers wishing to order a Woodford Reserve Ultimate Mint Julep can contact their wait staff on Derby Day.

About Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve, 45.2% ABV, is the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby” made at the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky — the heart of thoroughbred country. Woodford Reserve is one of the fine spirits produced and marketed by Brown-Forman Corporation, a diversified company responsible for other quality consumer products including: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Southern Comfort, Fetzer and Bolla Wines, Korbel California Champagnes and Hartmann Luggage. Woodford Reserve reminds you to drink responsibly. For more information on Woodford Reserve visit

About Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 132nd running of the Kentucky Derby on May 6, 2006. The track’s 2006 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 29-July 16. Churchill Downs has served as host to the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships a record five times and will host the event again on Nov. 4, 2006. Information about Churchill Downs can be found at

About Levy Restaurants

Chicago-based Levy Restaurants is recognized as one of the country’s fastest growing and most critically acclaimed restaurant companies and is the market leader in premium sports and entertainment dining. Levy’s portfolio includes award-winning restaurants such as Spiaggia and Bistro 110 in Chicago, Fulton’s Crab House, Portobello Yacht Club and Wolfgang Puck’s at Walt Disney World to renowned sports venues and events such as Wrigley Field in Chicago, Lambeau Field in Green Bay, STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. For further details on Levy Restaurants, visit the company website at

For more information, contact: Courtney Sandora, Brown-Forman PR (502) 774-7443