Chatting With Mixologist Mark Tubridy on Creating and Preparing Official Breeders’ Cup Cocktails

Pop Culture
Mixologist Mark Tubridy, Breeders’ Cup, Official Cocktails, Torrie Cup and Garland
Expert mixologist Mark Tubridy created the official cocktails of the Breeders’ Cup, the Torrie Cup and the Garland, and offers his guidance for preparing these fantastic drinks at home. (Courtesy of Mark Tubridy)

Horse racing and cocktails have always gone hand in hand. The mint julep, for example, is synonymous with the sport’s most famous race — the Kentucky Derby. While that’s common knowledge, you might not know that racing’s World Championships, the Breeders’ Cup, has not one but two signature cocktails: the Torrie Cup and Garland (recipes below!)

Coming up with cocktails — one bourbon-based and the other vodka — that matched the vibe of the most-anticipated racing event on the fall calendar was an exercise that the Breeders’ Cup didn’t take lightly.

Launched in 2019 in partnership with 21 Club, the Torrie Cup and Garland both were crafted with intention. We wanted to know more, so we went to the source.

The cocktails are the brainchild of mixologist Mark Tubridy. We reached out to Tubridy in the leadup to the 2023 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Since millions of people won’t be able to get to the Breeders’ Cup but will still be enjoying the races from home, we asked Tubridy for helpful hacks and advice (for us non-mixologists) on making the Torrie Cup and Garland at home.

The Garland, Torrie Cup, official cocktails Breeders' Cup, Mark Tubridy
The Garland, left, and the Torrie Cup, right, are the official cocktails of the Breeders' Cup. (Courtesy of Breeders' Cup)

ABR: Mark, before we jump into these two incredible cocktails, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Tubridy: I grew up in Weston, Conn., but moved to New York in 2004 with dreams of being a professional musician. I took up bartending as a way of making ends meet while I pursued that passion. Although music eventually became more of a pastime, I began to appreciate the creative process of crafting a delicious drink and this became a new and exciting outlet for my imagination and ideas. In a way, mixology was an extension of my love for the arts.

ABR: How did you get involved in the world of horse racing?

Tubridy: Honestly, I didn’t know too much about the world of horse racing when I was first approached with the opportunity to create the official cocktails for the Breeders’ Cup.

I was working at the 21 Club in New York at the time, however, which had strong ties to the racing community throughout its 90 years of continuous operation. One of the iconic former-speakeasy’s long-standing traditions was to display jockey statues outside the entrance, each one donated by a different notable stable or horse owner. In that sense, I literally gazed upon the history of this sport while stirring up martinis and Manhattans for our regular guests.

ABR: Since being exposed to the racing, what have been some of your favorite memories in racing or at the Breeders’ Cup?

Tubridy: Since I started working with the Breeders’ Cup to promote the official cocktails, I’ve had many memorable experiences at the track, but I have to admit that my all-time favorite memory predates this partnership … back to when American Pharaoh won the first Triple Crown in decades. I was still working at 21 Club at the time and we had a huge party for the occasion - the place was packed with enthusiastic guests, donning their finest suits, dresses, and fascinators. When American Pharaoh crossed the finish line, the entire restaurant went crazy and we must’ve popped 20 or 30 bottles of champagne in the party that quickly followed. Memories like that are truly once in a lifetime.

ABR: Do you have a favorite racetrack?

Tubridy: That’s a tough question because I feel each racetrack has something different to offer. Churchill Downs feels so steeped in history and tradition, Santa Anita provides the most glorious views at sunset, and Keeneland has a unique charm to it. But my brother lives in San Diego, so Del Mar has an extra special place in my heart.

Torrie Cup, Breeders’ Cup, Official Cocktail
The Torrie Cup (Courtesy of Breeders’ Cup )

ABR: What’s the most money you ever won playing the races?

Tubridy: Well … this is embarrassing … $0. Any tips?

ABR: Ha! Let’s shift to your expertise and talk about each of the Breeders’ Cup signature cocktails. What went into the creation of the Torrie Cup and Garland?

Tubridy: Each drink was meant to bring a different aspect of the Breeders’ Cup to life, and in some ways the two cocktails represent everything that’s special about a true champion.

The Torrie Cup was inspired by the beautiful Torrie Horse sculpture that’s presented to the winners of the races each year. Similarly, the Garland is an ode to the stunning wreath of flowers draped over the victorious horses.

The Torrie Cup was meant to showcase the power and regality of a champion, with assertive notes of Maker’s Mark bourbon, sweet vermouth, orange juice and lemonade. The second shows the softer, more majestic side of these gentle creatures, offering up a delicate balance of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, honey-green tea, lemon, and triple sec.

Between the two, everyone watching these incredible races has something with which to celebrate (or lament).

ABR: When it comes to us making these drinks at home, share a tip or two so that we don’t mess them up!

Tubridy: These drinks were designed to be made in batches, so ratios and measurements are very important! Make sure you keep track of how much you’re pouring of each ingredient, but remember that a great cocktail is different for every palate. Start by following the recipe and then adjust it to your taste.

The Garland, Breeders’ Cup, Official Cocktail
The Garland (Courtesy of Breeders’ Cup )

ABR: Scenario: It’s Breeders’ Cup weekend and I want to make one of these cocktails at home. Only problem is I’m missing one of these ingredients — let’s say I’m out of vermouth or triple sec — Is there any way to modify without out messing up the essence of the cocktail?

Tubridy: That’s a very interesting question! In those times, it’s very important to remember what each ingredient contributes to the finished cocktail and search for a replacement that may offer something close. Both sweet vermouth and triple sec contain alcohol, so they add to the total strength of the drink, but more importantly they both add specific flavors. A wine-based aperitif, sweet vermouth offers subtle notes of spices, herbs and citrus, while triple sec focuses its flavor on aromatic orange peels. Most of the things that give these liqueurs their identity can be found in your pantry or refrigerator at home — you may just have to get creative in how you infuse them into the drink.

ABR: Finally, what's your advice on how to enjoy these cocktails?

Tubridy: They absolutely are meant to be enjoyed however you like! Think of the Garland as a hopeful daydream of what chance may bring … and the Torrie Cup as an assertive show of will. Two days of intense races amongst champions will likely provide a carousel of both emotions and the drinks can serve as companions on that journey.

Official Recipes

Torrie Cup

  • 1 1/2 parts Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
  • 3/4 part Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 ½ parts Orange Juice
  • 2 parts Lemonade (Simply or Tropicana)

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker; add ice, shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice in a fancy wine glass or goblet. Garnish with a lemon wheel.


  • 1 part Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • 1 part Triple Sec
  • 1 part Honey-Green Tea (Honest or Pure Leaf)
  • 1/2 part Fresh Lemon Juice

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker; add ice, shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice in a highball glass. Garnish with edible purple flowers.

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