(CNN)The refreshing mint julep has been the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby since the 1930s, but prices have galloped upwards since then.
It is estimated that about 127,000 of the popular bourbon-based cocktails are served over the two days of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby festival at Churchill Downs each year.That calls for about 10,000 bottles of ready-to-serve Old Forester Mint Julep, while about 475,000 pounds of crushed ice and 2,250 pounds of fresh mint will go into making the crowds’ favorite tipple.Or, to put that into perspective, the amount of mint used is heavier than a grand piano.The standard mint julep costs $15 on Derby Day and comes with a souvenir glass, but punters with deep pockets can splash out up to $2,500 on a deluxe version in a fancy cup etched with the twin spires motif of Churchill Downs.Read MoreRed carpet, gold cups Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsThe Kentucky Derby, first run in 1875, is the first leg of the American Triple Crown and a sporting and cultural icon in the US. It is for three-year-old thoroughbreds and is run over a mile and a quarter at Churchill Downs. Hide Caption 1 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsMore than 150,000 racegoers packed out Churchill Downs in Louisville for last year’s Kentucky Derby, one of the best-loved events in the racing calendar. Hide Caption 2 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsThe Kentucky Derby is one of the most anticipated annual sporting events in America. Hide Caption 3 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsJustify, trained by five-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, won last year’s rain-soaked event on his way to winning the prestigious Triple Crown, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.Hide Caption 4 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsThe horse didn’t run as a two-year-old, meaning it bucked a 136-year trend with a win in last year’s race.Hide Caption 5 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsThe event is also dubbed the “Run for the Roses” because of the garland of 554 roses draped over the winner.Hide Caption 6 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsThe horses are randomly assigned a post position before the race. There are multiple theories to which position is best.Hide Caption 7 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsThe event is a chance to dress up, with all manner of hats and elegant dresses on show.Hide Caption 8 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsThe men also jump at the chance to put on their glad rags.Hide Caption 9 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsFamous faces regularly flock to Churchill Downs for the Derby. Here, NFL stars Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski soak up the atmosphere in 2015. A horse named after New England Patriot’s tight end Gronkowski was due to run in this year’s race, but had to pull out with a fever.Hide Caption 10 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsAmerican actor Jeff Bridges (left) was in attendance in 2017. Hide Caption 11 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsThe hats are spectacular and rival the best Royal Ascot has to offer. Hide Caption 12 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsIn 2015, jockey Victor Espinoza rode American Pharoah to victory — his first win on the way to completing the Triple Crown. Hide Caption 13 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsIt also meant Espinoza secured back-to-back victories after winning the 140th edition on California Chrome. Hide Caption 14 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsPunters prepare to place their bets at the wagering windows in 2014. Hide Caption 15 of 16 Photos: The Derby returns to Churchill DownsTrainer Bob Baffert saddled Justify to his fifth Kentucky Derby triumph in 2018. One more victory for Baffert would equal the record of Ben A Jones, set between 1938 and 1952. Hide Caption 16 of 16Made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, 125 silver cups handcrafted by a Louisville jeweler will be available for $1000 with another 20 available in gold cups with a silver sipping straw for $2,500 — proceeds of which go to a different charity each year.
The eyes are the window to the soul. pic.twitter.com/5eHikPd7AL
— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) April 29, 2019 Due to its soaring popularity, almost all cups have been sold already this year, except for a small number of silver cups which are held back for purchase at the track. “It’s become its own tradition. People clamor to buy these cups, there is always an interesting narrative about the cups and it’s such a fun way to raise money for charity,” Chris Poynter, from Woodford Reserve, told CNN Sport. Punters who splash out on one of the premium cups are also treated to a VIP experience at the track. Before being presented with their purchase, they walk a red carpet and watch as the cup is made live in front of them with etchings from the narrative of the day. Kentucky Derby: Five reasons you shouldn’t miss itMint Juleps have become an iconic feature of the Kentucky Derby. Honoring the best of KentuckyWoodford Reserve have been making the drink for the last 14 editions of the iconic race and each year they think of adventurous ways to make it more exciting. For the last 145 days, they have been aging honey for the recipe in one of the famous twin spires at Churchill Downs.”We have done some crazy things over the years. We’ve flown in ice from the Antarctic, for example,” revealed Poynter. This year, everything has been kept local in order to “honor the best of Kentucky”. The bourbon, honey, ice have all been sourced from within the state and the mint has been grown at Churchill Downs itself. Want to make your own version of the classic mint julep? Follow the instructions in our video and all you’ll need are the ingredients below to get you started. RecipeMint1 teaspoon sugar3 ounces whiskey — bourbonJulep cup