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The story behind the Kentucky Derby's $2,000 cocktail
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The story behind the Kentucky Derby's $2,000 cocktail

The story behind the Kentucky Derby's $2,000 cocktail
Photo Credit: Al Bello
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 07: A detail of a fan holding a mint julep during the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The story behind the Kentucky Derby's $2,000 cocktail

It's Kentucky Derby weekend and that means breaking out the big hats, betting on the horses and ... paying up to $2,000 for a drink. Wait, what? 

Ah, yes. The infamous mint julep. Just one of these puppies might empty out your wallet, though there is the cheaper option: it's only $1,000. (Via Kentucky Derby

So what's the deal with the steep price? Well, for starters it's that cup. This year they feature a gold-plated medallion of a horse and a garland of roses. But like I said, that's just the beginning. (Via Twitter / Matthew Willinger

Of course you have the basics fresh mint, crushed ice, Early Times Kentucky Whisky and the sweetener ... (Via SB Nation

Master distiller Chris Morris says to get the sweet taste, "We have candied rose petals, actual rose petals that we’ve soaked in sugar water... It has the mint, but now it has the rose hint to it.” (Via USA Today

"And then a golden sipping straw. There it is, it's part of the package. 

That's an actual straw?

An actual gold sipping straw. There it is, with a gold dusted mint garnish."

Yes, a golden straw. So, do you think it's worth it? Well, apparently plenty of people do. 

Every year about 120,000 of the cocktails are sold at Churchill Downs Racetrack. We'll leave that math up to you.  (Via Kentucky Derby

Now, not every mint julep at the derby is served in a golden cup with candied rose petals — there are affordable ones, too. The drink has actually been a staple among derbygoers since the races started in 1875. But the drink is much older — dating back about 200 years. 

"Virginians started mixing the version drink around 1803 ... The concoction made its way to Kentucky, the home of bourbon, whiskey and Kentucky colonel mint." (Via Yahoo!

The perfect mixture and the drink's popularity grew wildly. As far as the more expensive version — much of money raised reportedly goes to charity for aging horses.

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