Woodford Reserve’s $1,000 mint julep to honor Black jockeys

Sales from the $1,000 mint juleps will benefit Kentucky nonprofit Project to Protect African-American Turf History.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Proceeds from sales of this year’s Woodford Reserve $1,000 mint julep cup will benefit a nonprofit dedicated to honor Black jockeys.

“The jockeys played a significant role in horse racing that many people know little about,” Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris said. “It’s time to honor them and their legacies.”

Woodford Reserve said sales from its $1,000 mint juleps will benefit the Project to Protect African-American Turf History. The Kentucky organization works to tell the history of Black jockeys.

Before being pushed out of the sport by racism and segregation, Black jockeys won 15 Kentucky Derbys.

“They each exemplified love for the sport and the pursuit of excellence, despite the inequality and injustice they faced throughout their lives and careers,” Morris said.

A total of 100 cups went on sale Tuesday. Gold-plated cups numbered 1-11 sell for $2,500, while silver-plated cups numbered 12-100 sell for $1,000. Each cup will have the name of one Black jockey and the year they won the Derby. They are hand-engraved by From the Vault jewelers in Louisville.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cups will be mailed to customers with most of the ingredients used to make cherries and cream mint juleps, a drink inspired by Derby day menus when Black jockeys won.

Cups will come in a bag designed by Louisville artist Albert Shumake and wrapped in “four-man clover” silk designed by Gwendolyn Kelly, another Louisville artist.

Want to make your own cherries and cream julep at home? Woodford Reserve gave their recipe:

  • 2 oz. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • .5 oz. cherry juice
  • Half a vanilla bean pod cut into small segments
  • 1 tsp. powdered sugar
  • Mint sprig, cherry, vanilla bean pod for garnish
  • Crushed ice
  1. In the julep cup, add .5 oz. cherry juice.
  2. Add half a vanilla bean pod cut into small segments
  3. Add 1 tsp. of powdered sugar
  4. Muddle or mix together
  5. Add crushed ice to 2/3 of the cup
  6. Add 2 oz. of Woodford Reserve
  7. Top off the cup with crushed ice
  8. Garnish with a mint sprig, real cherry and vanilla bean pod

RELATED: ‘Black Heritage in Racing’ exhibit to spotlight untold stories of Black horsemen

RELATED: Louisville restaurant honors history of Kentucky Black jockeys

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