Derby Cocktail

Derby Cocktail
S&C Design Studios
  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving

Not one, but two versions of the Derby Cocktail are included here. The name 'derby' has been given to a number of cocktails, though given the relation to the Kentucky Derby, bourbon is the most popular base spirit as these recipes demonstrate.

As for the recipes below, they are two completely different versions with one being more of a Manhattan style and the other a decidedly more sour drink. The sour recipe comes from one of Trader Vic's bartending guides, the Bartender's Guide from 1947, though even he could not agree on one Derby recipe because the book includes three different Derby Cocktails. Which you choose may simply depend on your mood at any given time.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Derby Cocktail (Sour Style)

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. 1 ounce bourbon whiskey

  3. 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

  4. 1/2 ounce orange curacao liqueur

  5. 3/4 ounce lime juice

  6. Lime wedge and/or mint for garnish

Prepare as above, garnishing with a lime wedge and/or mint.

Derby Cocktail (With Gin)

The Derby cocktail is just one of the recipes that takes on that name. I'm not sure when this gin version came into being, though it is listed in 'The Unforgettables' category on the IBA (International Bartenders Association) website, so this alludes of it being a classic cocktail to some degree.

The recipe itself is quite simple: gin, peach bitters, and mint. Choose your favorite Martini gin for this one because it is the only spirit in the drink, so the smoother the better. Also, notice that the mint is simply stirred into the drink (as opposed to the more typical muddling method) and this allows the mint to gently infuse the gin and bitters. One thing I do recommend is to slap or tear your mint as it opens up and releases the essences of the herb just a little more than unbroken leaves.


  • 2 ounces gin

  • 2 dashes peach bitters

  • 2 sprigs of mint

  • Mint for garnish


  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice.

  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  4. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.