Moscow Mules for the Kentucky Derby

Moscow Mules for the Kentucky Derby

Since 1875, the Kentucky Derby has enthralled spectators from around the world, making it the oldest continuous sporting event in America. You needn’t have a stake in the outcome or even know much about thoroughbred horse racing to get swept up in the excitement. An appreciation for boozy Southern drinks and outrageous hats will suffice.

The big event is all over in a couple of minutes, so start your celebration early.

Refreshing Moscow Mule in Copper Mug, Engraved

Refreshing Moscow Mule in Copper Mug, Engraved

Celebrating the Kentucky Derby at Home

Race day is the perfect occasion for an unconventional party. Friends who aren’t schooled in traditional Southern ways will be delighted by the quirky, time-honored traditions. If actual Southerners are attending, be prepared for questions like these:

“Now, who are your people?”

“Did you use Duke’s mayonnaise?”

“Where’s the sweet tea?”

“Clemson or North Carolina?”

Don’t ever say this to a true Southerner, but mint juleps are not the end-all. Moscow mules are just as refreshing and easy to whip up:

Moscow Mule


Freshly squeezed juice of ½ a large lime

2 ounces bourbon

3 ounces ice-cold ginger beer

1 lime wedge for garnish

Fill a standard-size Moscow mule mug halfway with ice. Squeeze the lime over the ice. Pour in the bourbon and ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Some folks like to prepare the cocktail in a shaker, but serving it with a stirring rod or short straw is just as common. Fresh lime juice and cold beer are far more important than mixing techniques.

One variation on a traditional Moscow mule has gained popularity in the last few years. The Kentucky mule substitutes bourbon for the vodka. As long as a quality bottle of bourbon appears somewhere on your cocktail cart, you’re on the right track.

Don’t worry about running out; Kentucky produced more than 6.6 million barrels of the stuff in 2016.

Mule mugs serve a very important purpose. Copper is a superior insulator that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. Most copper mugs are nickel-lined nowadays for safety. The handled varieties go further by preventing hot hands from warming the drink. That’s a godsend on a humid spring day.

There’s still plenty of time to order your supply of Moscow mule mugs and even have them engraved in time for the big day.

Other cocktails you can offer, including classic mint juleps, black-eyed Susans, bourbon sours and Long Island ice teas, will have your Yankee guests as mellow and genteel as Kentucky natives in no time.


As for food, if you can find a Southern granny’s bourbon-marinated pork tenderloin recipe, you’re in business. You can’t go wrong with iconic Kentucky hot browns either. The open-faced sandwiches are topped with turkey, bacon and Mornay sauce and broiled until the sauce browns and the bread gets crisp.

This is not a good day for dieters. No matter what you do to bourbon balls, the key elements are bourbon and dark chocolate.

Second to the ponies, it’s all about the hats. The dress, suit, shoes, handbag and jewelry are not nearly as important.

Encourage your female guests to put forth their best effort. You could even hold a contest and award the winner a bourbon-pecan pie. If your friends are stumped, tell them to get ideas from the British royals.

Men can participate with unique, over-the-top neckties. Race day is all about festivity and flashy colors. The bold hues are a nod to the jockeys’ uniforms, which are also called silks. Each jockey’s colors have special significance.

The Kentucky Derby is nicknamed Run for the Roses, so feel free to go overboard with roses in your decorating. Special touches include authentic racing forms and official programs. You can order both online.

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Barware, however, is your first priority. Order from a wide variety of Moscow mule mugs. Adding a timeless personalized monogram is as easy as selecting the service for your shopping cart. You’ll be prompted to enter your preferences from a range of interesting scripts. Leave the skill, excellent customer service and fast, hassle-free shipping to us.

The bugle flourish will be summoning the horses before you know it.