Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail

A non-bourbon cocktail that’s a popular libation for the Kentucky Derby, this pink Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail is a delicious (and feminine) cocktail you’ll be making year after year.

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A Kentucky Oaks Cocktail in a tall highball glass garnished with blackberries o a skewer.

I’m all about the Kentucky Derby this year. For the last week, I’ve been planning a watch party. So when I came across an article about the Kentucky Oaks race with a pretty pink cocktail, I had to plan a girl’s night, including fascinators for the girls and the pups!

How cute are these girls in their fascinators?

What Is A Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail?

This is usually a “cocktail of the day” at the Kentucky Oaks Race, the day before the Kentucky Derby. It was first introduced in 2006 as an alternative to a bourbon-based cocktail, like the mint julep. 

This gorgeous pink cocktail was created by Tim Laird, a devout lover of the Cosmopolitan (yes, Sex And The City fans, you know the one). He switched it up for the Lily cocktail by adding more cranberry juice, lemon instead of lime, and orange liqueur.

The drink also pays homage to the pink-tinged stargazer lilies draped over the winning filly’s shoulders and nods to the race’s association with breast cancer awareness. To further support the cause, both men and women dress in pink suits, dresses, and elaborate hats. I mean, who doesn’t love a fascinator?

Fun Facts About The Kentucky Oaks

  • The Kentucky Oaks is ALWAYS the night before the Kentucky Derby.
  • The race is for three-year-old thoroughbred female horses, or fillies.
  • The track and the winning horse are decorated with Stargazer lilies, which became known as the Lillies For The Fillies.
  • The Kentucky Oaks hosts a Survivor Parade to further breast cancer awareness. The parade is comprised of survivors of breast or ovarian cancer who are nominated by friends and family and then voted on by the public.
  • $1 from each sale of a Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail goes to breast cancer research

What Ingredients Are Needed?

  • Vodka – Finlandia Vodka is typically used, as they are a sponsor. I like Tito’s, but your favorite vodka will work just fine.
  • Sweet-and-sour-mix or lemonade – I use Simply Zero Sugar lemonade.
  • Cranberry juice – be careful what you pick up at the grocery store. You don’t want to use a cranberry juice cocktail as they tend to be too sweet. I like using Revi Sweets Simply Cran. It’s very tart, has no added sugars, and has a beautiful cranberry taste.
  • Grand Marnier – Since this is a ‘classy’ cocktail, I prefer to use Grand Marnier, which is less sweet than a Triple Sec, but both work equally well.
  • 6 blackberries, as garnish

Steps To Make This Recipe

Super simple. Here are the steps:

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker.
  2. Fill with ice.
  3. Shake until the outside of the shaker is frosty cold.
  4. Strain into a glass.
  5. Slide a blackberry or two onto a skewer and slide it into the cocktail as a garnish.
A Kentucky Oaks Cocktail in a tall highball glass garnished with blackberries o a skewer.

More Recipes For Your Kentucky Derby Watch Party

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A Kentucky Oaks Cocktail in a tall highball glass garnished with blackberries o a skewer.

Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail


Description

A non-bourbon cocktail that’s a popular libation for the Kentucky Derby, this pink Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail is a delicious (and feminine) cocktail you’ll be making year after year.


Ingredients

Scale

2 ounces vodka

2 ounces lemonade or sweet and sour mix

6 ounces cranberry juice

½ ounce Grand Marnier

Ice cubes

Blackberries or lemon wedges as garnish


Instructions

Pour the vodka, lemonade, cranberry juice, and Grand Marnier into a cocktail shaker.

Fill the cocktail shaker with ice cubes.

Replace the lid on the shaker and vigorously shake until the outside of the cocktail shaker is icy cold.

Strain the liquid into a tall highball glass filled with ice.

Garnish with a skewered blackberry or drop in a wedge of fresh lemon.

Enjoy.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Starters – Cocktails
  • Method: Shake
  • Cuisine: Southern

Keywords: Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail, Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Derby recipes, cocktail recipes, cocktails, non-bourbon Kentucky Derby cocktails

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