Mocktails, Mint Juleps, and the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports

For two minutes each year on the first Saturday in May, the world seems to pause. “My Old Kentucky Home” starts to play, and for a brief moment the world is fixated on the fastest two minutes in sports: the Kentucky Derby.  

For us Kentuckians, the Derby is more than just a horse race; it’s a month-long celebration. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter light up with fun hashtags and slogans such as “Talk Derby to Me” and “Go Baby Go.” This year, The Mocktail Project will be using the same hashtag as the Kentucky Bourbon Trial: “Make Derby Memorable.”

For the first time in 145 years of the famed horse race, guests will be able to enjoy a new beverage option at the well-known horse track, Churchill Downs. With the support of Churchill Downs and Old Forester, guests are invited to sip on a new category of beverages this year: mocktails! These drinks will be crafted and served to you by us, The Mocktail Project. We can’t wait to help you share memories and make your Derby and Oaks Day even tastier.

Visitors on Oaks Day and this year’s 145th running of the Kentucky Derby will find a branded tent marked “Mocktails” located in the paddock area of Churchill Downs.  Inside, we are working to create a memorable first impression.

To quote Trainer Johnny Nerud:

"I'd rather have a bad day at the track than a good day off it, somewhere else."

Guests will find two signature mocktail recipes on the menu. First, a Mint Tea infused with Old Forester Oleo-Saccharum and garnished with bourbon smoked sugar, a local favorite created by Louisville based Bourbon Barrel Foods. The second mocktail option is a perfect complement to all the wonderful wine and spirits that guests have come to love at Churchill Downs. This drink features a blackberry and raspberry puree infused with cinnamon syrup and Ale-8-One.  


The mission of The Mocktail Project is to create social spaces where mocktails and cocktails can co-exist. For us Kentuckians, it doesn’t get any bigger than the Kentucky Derby!

Oaks and Derby Mocktail Menu 

The 1875

Mint Tea, Sweetened with Old Forester Oleo-Saccharum

Garnish: Mint Sprigs, Lemon Peel, Bourbon Smoked Sugar

(Co-Created by Jackie Zykan, Master Taster of Old Forester)


Clubhouse Turn

Blackberry and Raspberry Puree, Cinnamon Infused Syrup, Fresh Lemon Juice, and Ale-8-One.

Garnish: Orange Peel

@ale8one - (widely available in Kentucky and the Southeast) -


If you don’t find yourself at the famed track but would still like to sip on a tasty mocktail, The Mocktail Project has you covered! We teamed up with George’s Bar at Old Forester on Whiskey Row to provide you five signature Derby-fun mocktail recipes. Jackie Zykan and April Gibbs of Old Forester helped to develop this year’s Derby themed mocktails.

George’s Bar at Old Forester
Toast to Derby Mocktails

Fo’ Fashioned

2 oz reduced black tea

.5 oz Oleo-Saccharum

.25 oz sorghum

Garnish with lemon and orange peel


Call to the Post

(NA Mint Julep)

1.5 oz apple cider syrup

6 mint leaves

Shaved ice

Club soda

Garnish with mint leaves



2 oz lemon juice

.5 oz rosemary syrup (honey)

3 oz water

(rosemary lemonade)

Garnish with lemon peel and rosemary


Photo Finish

2 oz cilantro and pink peppercorn infused pineapple juice

Topped with reverse osmosis water

Garnish with cilantro


Down the Stretch

1 oz lime juice

.75 oz basil & lime peel syrup

Top with Fever Tree Ginger Beer

Garnish with lime peel


- Talk Derby To Me -

If you’ve ever made it to the Kentucky Derby, chances are you’ve sipped on the iconic Mint Julep. For those of us that don’t imbibe, a Mint Julep can be a tricky mocktail to create.  Don’t worry, if you’re hosting guest at your home this year our zero-proof Mint Julep is a sure bet to be a big hit! 


Run for the Mint

1 oz honey simple syrup

2.5 oz grapefruit juice

6 mint leaves

Top with club soda – 3 to 4 oz

Garnish with lime wedge


1)    Add 1 oz honey simple syrup into serving glass

2)    Add 6 mint leaves and very lightly muddle.   

3)    Add 2.5 oz grapefruit juice 

4)    Add ice and top off with soda water. Stir for 10-15 seconds.

5)    Add lime wedge

 - Go Baby Go -

If you’re visiting Kentucky during Derby or in search of other local social environments to sip on a wonderful mocktail we recommend trying a few of our favorites: ALEX&NDER at Copper & Kings, Butchertown Grocery, Jim Beam Distillery, LouVino Restaurant and Wine Bar, Ostra, The Overlook at Rabbit Hole Distillery and the Whiskey Bear Bar.

Angels Envy Spirit Free Finishing Room Bar

Spirit-Free Menu

Spiced Soda

Cinnamon, Clove, Lemon, Butchertown Cream Soda

Sour Cherry Special

Marasca Cherry Syrup, Lime, Sparkling Water 

Sunny Disposition

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, Spiced Orange Syrup, Yuzu

Don’t forget to visit our friends at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience and try their Derby Mocktail.

Featuring a seasonal house shrub of summer berry, rhubarb and hibiscus, fresh lemon, club soda and edible glitter.

If you know someone who enjoys a good mocktail let them know about our mission. They can follow our journey on social media at @themocktailproject. And next time you’re sipping on a tasty mocktail, let us know by using the hashtag #shareamocktail to spread the good word with our community!

If you would like to learn more about The Mocktail Project, how you can get involved, become a community partner, or make a charitable contribution to help support our mission, visit www.themocktailproject or contact our founder at


As always, sip responsible, share a mocktail.

Jesse, Mocktail and Coffee Enthusiast

Believer that the world needs more mocktails.   

FTC: This is a sponsored post; however, as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Photography captured by: Krista Walker @youvegotflair

Jesse Hawkins