The Kentucky Oaks Lily


The Kentucky Oaks Lily

The Oaks Lily is to the Kentucky Oaks horserace what a Mint Julep is to the Kentucky Derby. There’s no horsey gender discrimination at Churchill Downs. The Oaks and Derby are in a dead heat for the oldest continuous sporting event and each has its own cocktail.

The Kentucky Oaks

While the Derby belongs to the world community at large, the Oaks is considered by the citizenry of Louisville as its own. The race is for the equine ladies and the winner receives a blanket known as “Lilies for the Fillies”.

The Oaks is a grade one stakes race, run on Friday immediately preceding the Kentucky Derby. At one and one-eighth miles it’s slightly shorter but no less exciting. The first contest was May 17th, 1875 making this one horse race older than the Derby. so you could say it’s the winner by a nose.

The Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail

Churchill Downs created the Oaks Lily in partnership with Grey Goose vodka. It is the official Kentucky Oaks cocktail and a modern tradition since 2006. A riff on the cosmopolitan, it substitutes lime for lemon juice and adds simple syrup to make it sweeter. This is a refreshing cocktail, perfect for those warm and humid late spring days in Louisville, KY.

  • Author: TJ


  • 11/2 oz Grey Goose vodka
  • 1/2 oz orange liqueur – Grand marnier, Triple Sec or Cointreau
  • 3 oz cranberry juice – freshly squeezed from your own cranberry bog if possible
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • Blackberries – garnish
  • Lemon wheel – garnish


  1. Pour the vodka, orange liqueur, simple syrup and lemon juice into a highball glass
  2. Fill with ice, stir briefly and top with the cranberry juice
  3. Garnish with one or two blackberries and a lemon wheel

oaks lily finished