Creating an inclusive Derby environment with mocktails

Ginger Race for Inclusion mocktail featuring ingredients from Rainbow Blossom. The recipe calls for a citrus garnish — but it tasted so good that I accidentally ate it all before completing my mocktail!

Derby day 2018 was my last day of drinking alcohol.

I’m grateful that my last day was one with great memories spent at Churchill Downs with Derby Diversity & Business Summit. No negative ramifications from drinking — just the realization that it was the right time. I had the power to stop, I now had to choose to stop.

One of the reasons it was such a difficult thing to give up was because so many (I’d venture to argue most) of our social gatherings outside the office — whether it’s cocktail hour or a gala, a festival or the Kentucky Derby- are quite literally infused with and focused on alcohol.

There is an expectation that people drink, and various forms of stigma associated with those who don’t.

From themed cocktails (The Mint Julep), to wine pairings, and bourbon tastings, it can feel isolating to be the outlier who doesn’t drink, and being met time and time again with the expectation that we settle for soda water, cranberry juice, or a soft drink.

That’s why I was so excited to meet Jesse Hawkins and The Mocktail Project — who is focused on creating social environments where mocktails & cocktails co-exist.

As we headed into Derby season 2019, and as an advisor for the Derby Diversity & Business Summit (DDBS), it was important to me that a mocktail option be available.

Thankfully, The Mocktail Project not only worked with us to create two Race for Inclusion mocktail recipes to be offered during DDBS, but was able to secure a vendor spot at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby to sell mocktails on site!

Cheers! with the Mint Race for Inclusion mocktail during the Civitas: LGBTQ Regional Chamber of Commerce reception as part of DDBS.

It was refreshing to know I could order the Mint Race for Inclusion at the Derby Sneaker Ball, or The 1875 on Derby Day — inspired by The Mint Julep.

The two recipes Jesse and The Mocktail Project created with us are below- and were extra tasty with fresh ingredients from Rainbow Blossom!

As you plan your next conference, event, gala, or after-work social hour or dinner party — I hope that you’ll consider making a mocktail option available. It shows that you respect and value everyone who is present… and that above all else, you want to make spaces inclusive and welcoming.

Checkout more recipes from The Mocktail Project here.

Ginger Race for Inclusion

4 muddled blackberries

.75 oz Lemon Juice

2.5 oz Ginger Simple Syrup (homemade from ginger tea)

1 oz Cinnamon Simple Syrup (homemade with cinnamon sticks)

Soda water

Garnish with a mandarin slice

Recommendation: Serve in a 9 oz cocktail glass

Mint Race for Inclusion

2.0 oz grapefruit juice

.25 oz lime juice

6 mint leaves

Top with club soda — 3 to 4 oz

Garnish with a lime wheel

Recommendation: Serve in a 9 oz cocktail glass

Jesse Hawkins of The Mocktail Project and Josh Miller of IDEAS xLab and the Derby Diversity & Business Summit enjoying a mocktail at Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Derby.