Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Woodford Reserve. All opinions are our own.
Recreate all of the excitement of Churchill Downs at home with the 3-ingredient Woodford Spire, Woodford Reserve's signature Kentucky Derby Cocktail. You can make one or a batch in minutes so you won't miss any of the party's action.
May is well-known as the month of Mother's Day and Memorial Day, but it's also synonymous with another major event: the Kentucky Derby, the Thoroughbred horse race that has been hosted by Churchill Downs continuously since 1875.
Not able to attend the Derby in person? You can still feel part of the action at home. All you need is this recipe for Woodford Spire Cocktails, the official Woodford Reserve drink of the Kentucky Derby.
Why this recipe is unique
- Mint juleps might be the most commonly recognized Derby drink, but we’re big fans of serving the Woodford Spire to groups of people who have different levels of appreciation for bourbon. The addition of cranberry juice and lemonade make it a more balanced cocktail for different palates while still keeping with the tradition of a Kentucky bourbon drink for the Derby.
- It's not just for the Derby! You can elevate any occasion with this 3-ingredient drink. It’s a simple, sophisticated and foolproof cocktail with wide appeal.
- Though traditionally served in a copper cup, you can also serve the Woodford Spire in clear glasses. The cranberry juice gives the drinks an eye-catching color that instantly adds to a party's festive atmosphere.
This cocktail has a short ingredient list that is big on flavor:
It only takes a few minutes to make this refreshing drink:
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail mixing glass.
Stir ingredients and pour into ice-filled glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
Absolutely! Simply swap in 2 ounces of unsweetened black tea for the bourbon and use the same amounts of lemonade and cranberry juice called for in the recipe.
No problem. Simply multiply the parts in this recipe by the number of guests to determine ingredient quantities.
Aside from a killer Kentucky Derby cocktail, plan to decorate with plenty of red roses, the official flower of the race, and encourage your friends and family to wear their colorful Sunday best (fascinators are optional but oh-so-fun!).
Of course, you'll also want plenty of southern-inspired finger foods like pimento cheese dip, cucumber sandwiches and deviled eggs. And no party is complete without a sweet treat at the end like our make-ahead Chocolate and Bourbon Pecan Pie.
Expert tips to make a Woodford Spire cocktail
- This drink is mixed without ice, so we prefer to use crushed ice in the glasses because it quickly chills the drink after making it. Refrigerators do an OK job of crushing ice, but if we're hosting a party, we typically grab a big bag or two of crushed ice from a fast food restaurant. It's inexpensive, uniformly crushed and makes for eye-catching cocktails. Plus we don't have to worry about running out or stopping conversation every time we use the obnoxiously loud ice dispenser from our fridge.
- Love the lemon twist? It's easy to make with a simple, inexpensive bar tool called a channel knife. We labored for years with a paring knife trying to get the perfect peel until someone introduced us to this bar tool. It's inexpensive and also has a citrus zester that can be used to make several thin threads of peel at a time - ideal for garnishing desserts.
- Choose freshly squeezed lemonade for the best flavor in this drink. Powdered lemonade mixes often contain artificial colors and other preservatives to enhance shelf life.
More bourbon drinks
You can find all of our bourbon cocktails in our archives.
Did you make this recipe? We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please rate the recipe and leave a comment below. Your feedback helps us and your fellow readers!
Woodford Spire Cocktail
- 1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- 2 oz freshly squeezed lemonade
- 1 oz cranberry juice
- Add ingredients to a mixing glass and stir.
- Pour into ice-filled glasses.
- Garnish with a lemon twist.
- This drink is mixed without ice, so we prefer to use crushed ice in the glasses because it quickly chills the drink after making it.
Though traditionally served in a copper cup, you can also serve the Woodford Spire in clear glasses to showcase the drink's eye-catching color.
Love the lemon twist? It's easy to make with a simple, inexpensive bar tool called a channel knife.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.