Each year, it's estimated that more than 120,000 mint juleps are sold at Churchill Downs during the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.
This year's race, known as the "fastest two minutes in sports," will take place 6:24 p.m. Saturday, May 5. And while the mint julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century, there's no reason you can't share in the tradition away from the track.
According to the Kentucky Derby website, in 2008, Churchill Downs unveiled the world's largest julep glass, which stood 6 feet tall and was made of acrylic. It had a capacity of 206 gallons.
A mint julep is traditionally made with just four ingredients: mint, bourbon, sugar and water. Methods of preparation vary.
The drink is traditionally served in silver or pewter cups, and held at the bottom and top edges, allowing frost to form on the outside of the cup.
At the Kentucky Derby, Early Times Kentucky whisky is the official spirit used to make the drink, although the type of whisky used varies depending on what part of the country you're in.
Mint juleps at the Kentucky Derby
-- More than 120,000 mint juleps served over the two-day race period each year at Churchill Downs;
-- 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint used at the track that weekend;
-- 60,000 pounds of ice used.
Mint Julep recipe
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
sprigs of fresh mint
bourbon or Kentucky whisky (Early Times Kentucky Whisky is the official whisky of the Kentucky Derby)
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight.
Make one mint julep at a time by filling a cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of whisky. Stir and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.