As attendees gather at Churchill Downs in Louisville this May for the 148th running of what’s known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,” the fans who are watching the Kentucky Derby from home can now partake in the celebration in their own way. Each year, as the presenting sponsor of the Derby, Woodford Reserve unveils a special-edition bottle of bourbon to commemorate the horse race. However, this time the distillery has paired the release alongside what it’s calling Derby in a Box.
The box will be limited to 148 examples and will include several pieces for you to make your very own mint julep — the Kentucky Derby’s official drink — from home. The bourbon bottle itself, which displays a beautiful floral portrait by equine artist Jaime Corum called “Dreams in Bloom,” can be purchased separately via online retailers. However, the accompanying collectible box, available on Woodford Reserve’s site, also comes with the option of a mint julep bow tie, hair scarf, or pocket square, all designed by the Bluegrass Bowtie Company, along with a mint julep cocktail kit.
The cocktail kit includes a copper-colored Woodford Reserve mint julep cup, jigger, and swizzle stick, as well as the company’s own mint julep cocktail syrup. The mint julep was designated as the Derby’s signature drink in 1939, but historians believe the cocktail has been part of the race’s legacy since the very first running in 1875. Now, distilleries throughout Kentucky celebrate April as Mint Julep Month in preparation for the Derby.
For each box sold, Woodford Reserve will make a donation to Old Friends Farm, a non-profit organization where retired thoroughbreds live out the remainder of their lives. For those living in states where the bottle is not available for shipment, you can still receive a limited edition print of the artwork signed by the artist. The boxes are currently being sold on Woodford Reserve’s website for $500, which includes the signed bottle, and $350 with the signed artwork and no bottle.