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What You're Drinking: Best Kentucky Derby-Inspired Cocktails In Los Angeles

Kentucky Derby Preview
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Although the real Kentucky Derby party is happening in Louisville, you can still celebrate in L.A. with that quintessential race day cocktail--the julep. Put on your finest seersucker suit or wide-brimmed hat, and head to one of these bars to celebrate with a unique derby-style cocktail.

Double Take - Verified Jarone
(credit: Double Take)

One For The Roses
Double Take
Hotel Palomar Los Angeles
10740 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 474-7765

Inspired by the Mint Julep, Bar Director Sarah Mengoni at the recently renovated Hotel Palomar Los Angeles is serving One For The Roses which is made with Buffalo Trace Kentucky bourbon, fresh strawberry syrup, rose flower water and garnished with a lemon peel rose.

Melrose Umbrella Co. - Verified Jarone
(credit: Melrose Umbrella Co.)

Black Julep
Melrose Umbrella Co.
7465 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 951-0709

The Melrose Umbrella Co. brings the social cocktail experience back to basics, where you are welcomed as a neighbor in an atmosphere that feels like home. For Derby Day, try their Black Julep, a unique, bittersweet take on the classic Mint Julep and one that skips bourbon in favor of a German digestif. The drink is made up of Jägermeister and is mixed with Cynar 70, crème de peche, and cold brew.

Woodley Proper - Verified Jarone
(credit: Jakob Lyman)

Mint Julep
Woodley Proper
16101 Ventura Blvd Suite 242
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 906-9775

Woodley Proper is a collaboration between renowned barman Devon Espinosa and Scratch|Restaurants' chef duo Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee. This new Encino gem serves creative concoctions which are paired with rotating snacks and meaty plates amidst a cozy atmosphere of eclectic sofas and vintage wood. For the Kentucky Derby, they will be offering a clever spin on the Mint Julep with their Proper Seasonal Smash. The drink is made with bourbon, blackberries, lemon and mint.

Ocean Prime - Verified Jarone
(credit: Ocean Prime)

Derby Day-Mint Julep
Ocean Prime Beverly Hills
9595 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 859-4818

Join Ocean Prime Beverly Hills for this year's Kentucky Derby and sip on a traditional Mint Julep in one of their two luxe lunges. Bring a little Louisville to Los Angeles with a front row seat to the festivities with their Derby Day-Mint Julep made with Old Forester, simple syrup, Disaronno, Angostura Bitters and mint.

Plan Check - Verified Jarone
(credit: Plan Check)

Kentucky Bubble Bath Cocktail
Plan Check Kitchen + Bar
351 N Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 591-0094

To complement its menu of modernized comfort food, Plan Check Kitchen + Bar, with locations in Sawtelle, Fairfax, Downtown, Santa Monica, serves bold and colorful cocktails with a playful twist. A guest favorite that has its namesake made for the Derby, is their Kentucky Bubble Bath. This reimagined julep is mixed with bourbon, cynar, lemon, agave syrup, and lavender water.

Baltaire - Verified Jarone
(credit: Kristen Teig)

Traditional Mint Julep Cocktail
11647 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(424) 273-1660

Led by Executive chef Travis Strickland, Baltaire is a contemporary-meets-classic steakhouse with craft cocktails in Brentwood. A signature since the restaurant's opening over two years ago, Baltaire offers a bespoken take on the traditional Mint Julep cocktail, which guests can customize the cocktail with the spirit they desire. The cocktail will be the drink du jour during Baltaire's 3rd Annual Kentucky Derby Viewing Party on May 6 from 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Copa d Oro - Verified Jarone
(credit: White Oak Communications)

Two Lip Julep
Copa d'Oro
217 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 576-3030

The posh lounge located on bustling Third Street Promenade serves handcrafted cocktails in a Nuevo Spanish Colonial décor. Mixologist Vincenzo Marianella, formerly of Providence and The Doheny, utilizes fresh ingredients from the farmers market in his cocktails like the Derby inspired Two Lip Julep which includes bourbon, Amaro Nonino and mint.

The Grill on the Alley - Verified Jarone
(credit: The Grill on the Alley)

Mint Julep
The Grill On The Alley
9560 Dayton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 276-0615

The Grill on the Alley is a go-to American menu spot in Beverly Hills with a diverse menu including salads, seafood, steaks and chops. The Grill's Mint Julep uses Baker's Bourbon, house made herbal-infused simple syrup (infused with basil, rosemary and mint), fresh lime juice, crushed ice and is garnished with a rosemary sprig and candied mint leaf.

MiniBar - Verified Jarone
(credit: MiniBar)

101 Daily Double Two-Lip Julep
Best Western Plus Hollywood Hills Hotel
6141 Franklin Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90068
(323) 798-4939

Tucked inside the Best Western, Minibar is a retro, neighborhood bar for cocktails, a glass of wine or maybe a craft beer. MiniBar's general manager and head bartender Jeremy Allen creates a twist on the mint julep with his 101 Daily Double Two-Lip Julep. The sweet yet sour twist combines 101 Cider House Sour Pear Cider (raw and probiotic) with Wild Turkey Rye 101, simple syrup and muddled mint leaves.

Eveleigh - Verified Jarone
(credit: Eveleigh)

Turning Japanese
8752 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(424) 239-1630

At Eveleigh, guests can enjoy the enchanting front garden, saddle up to the rustic reclaimed bar, or dine on the garden patio as Los Angeles twinkles in the background. Enjoy their Turning Japanese cocktail by China Morbosa which contains Belle Meade, coconut matcha syrup, cane syrup and mint leaves.

Avec Nous - Verified Jarone
(credit: Avec Nous)

Whisky Fix
Avec Nous
Viceroy L'Ermitage Beverly Hills
9291 Burton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 860-8660

Lead by Executive Chef Roger Thomas, Avec Nous provides a fresh culinary experience to Beverly Hills, blending a hip St. Tropez vibe with the classic French bistro. To pair with their Mediterranean coastal-inspired menu, on the day of the Kentucky Derby they will be serving the Whisky Fix, which is made with Buffalo Trace whiskey, Calamondin preserves, muddled lemon wedges and garnished with fresh mint sprig.

Royal Bar Hollywood - Verified Jarone
(credit: Brian Restivo)

Brown Derby
Royal Bar Hollywood
6541 Hollywood Blvd #102
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 471-4882

Royal Bar Hollywood is a tribute to all things New Orleans. From décor to food and drinks, it exudes the southern city. The lively bar with plenty of open seating will be serving the Brown Derby, a bottled craft cocktail containing Jim Beam white label bourbon, fresh grapefruit juice, and house made honey syrup.

Preux & Proper - Verified Jarone
(credit: Ziv Sade Photography)

Derby Hat
Preux & Proper
840 S Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 896-0090

Downtown L.A.'s Preux & Proper restaurant and bar serves New Orleans-inspired delicacies inspired by the techniques and bold flavors of the Creole and Cajun kitchens. For The Kentucky Derby, Preux & Proper will be serving the earthy, aromatic, and sweet Derby Hat cocktail which contains Milagro tequila, beet syrup, jalapeno and thai basil and is topped with a fresh flower hat.

zinc - Verified Jarone
(credit: Jeffrey Bacic)

Maker's Mint Julep
zinc @ Shade
Shade Hotel
1221 N Valley Dr.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 546-4995

zinc @ Shade invites guest to join them as they host their 3rd Annual Kentucky Derby Party to celebrate all the exciting action at Churchill Downs. Dapper derby-attire for the gents and stylish dresses and hats for ladies is encouraged to celebrate the Derby throughout our open-air courtyard, lounge and terrace. Sip on their Maker's Mint Julep made with Marker's Mark bourbon, simple syrup, mint springs and a splash of water.

MessHall Kitchen - Verified Jarone
(credit: Jenni Hwang)

Brown Derby Julep
MessHall Kitchen
4500 Los Feliz Blvd,
Los Angeles, Ca 90027
(323) 660-6377

For the Kentucky Derby, MessHall Kitchen is serving up a unique take on the classic mint julep offering their Brown Derby Julep. Bar manager Austin Mendez incorporates fresh basil rather than the classic mint while this variation of the julep includes honey, pamplemousse, rye whiskey, muddled basil and Peychaud bitters.

Black Market Liquor Bar - Verified Jarone
(credit: James Bobby)

Black Market Liquor Bar's Mint Julep
Black Market Liquor Bar
11915 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 446-2533

The Mint Julep, quintessentially Southern and undeniably refreshing, has been the signature cocktail of the Kentucky Derby since 1938. Black Market Liquor Bar's Mint Julep is made with bourbon, fresh mint, sugar, and is served in a silver or pewter cup on crushed ice with fresh mint garnish.

The Lincoln Venice - Verified Jarone
(credit: The Lincoln Venice)

The Derby Dame
The Lincoln Venice
2536 Lincoln Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 822-1715

The Lincoln Venice pays homage to the area's industrial heritage in the 30s-50s when it was home to numerous auto repair and custom shops and features a patio of reclaimed wood and studs. Created by Chloe Caves at The Lincoln Venice, The Derby Dame is made with Four Roses Kentucky bourbon, grapefruit juice and Muscovado syrup.

Seven Grand - Verified Jarone
(credit: Courtesy of Seven Grand)

Rum Runner Julep
Seven Grand
515 W 7th St #200
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 614-0736

Seven Grand, The comprehensive whiskey bar, features one of the largest selections of premium whiskeys in the West, with bottles displayed in vintage cases and home to the ever-popular Whiskey Society. Crafted by Head Bartender John Coltharp, The Rum Runner Julep is made of Forty Creek Barrel Select whiskey, Goslings Black Seal dark rum, simple syrup, Angostura bitters and mint leaves.

Bludsos - Verified Jarone
(credit: Bludso's Bar & Que)

Slow and Low Julep
Bludso's Bar & Que
609 N La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 931-2583

Bludso's Bar & Que's is a local Texas BBQ spot which offers creative cocktails. This year, sip on their Slow and Low Julep in honor of Derby Day. Bar Manager Sam Spoehr mentions that they, "marinate the whiskey with mint for 24 hours rather than muddle the mint" and then add a tiny bit of sugar and a few shakes of bitters, all over pebble ice.

Shutters - Verified Jarone
(credit: Shutters on the Beach)

G.H. Mumm Champagne Toast
Shutters on the Beach
1 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 458-0030

Shutters on the Beach is celebrating the Kentucky Derby with a viewing party and "World's Largest" champagne toast in exclusive partnership with G.H. Mumm Champagne on Saturday, May 6 along with offering two limited edition cocktails. Festivities will feature inclusion in a country-wide G.H. Mumm Champagne toast streamed live on Facebook and Instagram, with select sweepstake prizes, with guests also being able to toast to the races with the limited edition Mumm Julep Cocktail or The Winner's Cocktail.

nick-stef - Verified Jarone
(credit: Patina Restaurant Group)

Jalapeño Julep
Nick + Stef's Steakhouse
330 S Hope St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 680-0330

Nick + Stef's Steakhouse will be celebrating The Kentucky Derby in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles with a contemporary, fun, and spicy take of the classic julep cocktail. Their Jalapeño Julep is a spicy twist on a classic Mint Julep replacing bourbon whiskey for aged reposado tequila, Olmeca Altos Reposado tequila, and adding jalapeno syrup, mint, and Angostura bitters.

Jarone Ashkenazi is a freelance writer who covers: restaurants, bars, dating, relationships, sports and other lifestyle topics. View more work at Connect with him on Twitter at @JaroneAsh.
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