Kentucky Derby Recipes – Pie and The Mint Julep

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The original “Derby Pie” is a chocolate and walnut tart created by the Kern family in 1950 at a Kentucky inn called, the Melrose Inn.  The official name was pulled out of a hat after the Kern family needed a way to secure one name for their tasty creation.

Over the years, the pie has been used to celebrate the annual racing event in Kentucky, the Kentucky Derby, and has taken on may forms including a revised traditional pecan pie lined with chocolate chips. Our version of Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pie is based on the traditional Derby Pie recipe served at the Melrose Inn.

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pie Recipe

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Pre-made 10″ Pie Crust


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and butter; mix to combine. Stir in the bourbon, nuts, chocolate chips, vanilla and salt. Pour the mixture into the unbaked piecrust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool before slicing.  Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate for added effect.

Wash down the Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pie with a traditional Kentucky drink — the Mint Julep.

Although the official origin of this mint-bourbon-sugar water concoction is not known, it appears to have Southern United States roots with its first mention in print dating back to 1803 in John Davis’ book, published in London.

The name “julep” is translated from Arabic, Persian roots meaning “rose water” but  has also come to mean a sweet drink, used for medicinal purposes.

US Senator from Kentucky, Henry Clay, is said to have introduced the drink to Washington DC at the famous Willard Hotel and this specialty has been celebrated every year at the Kentucky Derby since 1938.

The Mint Julep Recipe

  • Mint Sprigs
  • Bourbon Whiskey
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Room Temperature Water

For each drink, muddle 4 mint sprigs with 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar and a splash of water. Add 2 1/2 ounces of bourbon. Stir to combine. Serve in a tall glass over ice, topped with a sprig of mint for garnish.

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