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$1,000 Derby mint julep stirred up for charity

The 2011 version of the $1,000 mint julep for the Kentucky Derby, served in a cup from Tiffany & Co., went on sale April 11, 2011. Woodford Reserve

While the middle leg of horse racing's Triple Crown has deployed a half-man, half-centaur, all-beer-guzzling creature to generate buzz for the Preakness Stakes, the Kentucky Derby continues to take a much more genteel approach to alcohol consumption.

Bourbon-maker Woodford Reserve started selling its annual $1,000 mint juleps Monday for the Triple Crown's premiere event.

The 103 cups -- one for each derby winner born in the Bluegrass State -- will only be distributed at the May 7 race at Churchill Downs with proceeds going to a horse rescue organization named Heart of a Horse, according to the bourbon maker.

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Much of the drink's hefty price can likely be attributed to its container, a sterling silver cup made by Tiffany & Co. (Each cup even comes with a sterling silver sipping straw.) In addition to the 103 cups, Woodford Reserve is auctioning three additional cups decorated with a 24-karat gold design that Tiffany's used on a horse racing up in 1876. The bidding started at $2,000 each.

However, the ingredients likely add to the cost too. They include bourbon-smoked sugar, a rare chocolate mint grown in San Diego, ice made of rainwater from Tasmania, Australia, (in 2006 the ice came from the Arctic Circle) and a selection of Woodford Reserve's bourbon made by its master distiller.

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