Its Derby Time and I Couldn’t Be More Disinterested

I never really understood all the hoopla ( that’s right, I said hoopla) around the Kentucky Derby, or just about any horse race for that matter.  You spend all day in the hot sun, drinking Mint Juleps, wearing ridiculous hats (if you’re a woman) and waiting for the main event that lasts 3 minutes.  (I guess it’s kind of like sex that way, so maybe I understand it better than I think.)  I figure there have got to be other races or something that keep people at Churchill Downs or why the heck would you go there for an entire day?  Having never been, and only watching the race on TV occasionally I don’t understand the experience.

The one thing I do understand is that this is a big bourbon day.  This year they have their regular sponsor in Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and a relative new comer the sponsor of the “official” Mint Julep,  Early Times.  This is a Diagio product and is not bourbon, but a Kentucky Whiskey…

This year Woodford has come out with a special bottle for the event.  Interesting collector’s item I guess, I would have preferred they come out with a different bourbon, but that isn’t going to happen, at least this year its not.

As I said above Early Times is the official whiskey in this year’s Mint Julep.  I thought I would post a recipe, since it is about one of the easiest mixed drinks to make.

Official Kentucky Derby Mint Julep

2 Cups Water

2 cups Sugar

8 sprigs of fresh mint

Early Times Kentucky Whiskey

Crushed ice

Sprig of fresh mint for garnish.

In a pan boil water and sugar to make a simple syrup.  Once sugar is disolved and syrup is clear remove from heat.  Put 8 sprigs of mint into a bowl and pour syrup over mint.  If you like it mintier you can crush some or all of the leaves.  Cover and place in refrigerator over night.

Fill small glass (4-6 oz) with crushed ice, really pack it in there.  Add 1 to 1.5 Tablespoons of syrup to glass.  Fill remainder with 1.5 to 2 oz Early Times Kentucky Whiskey.  Stir to frost glass.  Garnish with Fresh Mint sprig.

If you want to pay $1000 you can get a Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby made with all sorts of exotic ingredients, including Ice made from Tasmanian rain water, Specially grown “Chocolate Mint”, Bourbon Smoked Sugar, and Woodford Reserve Distillers Select Bourbon.  Oh, and it comes in a Tiffany’s Sterling cup.

Like I said I don’t get it, but who am I to deny people their celebrations, so if you are a derby fan, live it up and have a great race!


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26 Comments on “Its Derby Time and I Couldn’t Be More Disinterested”

  1. johnking82
    May 5, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (i havent even read it yet though), but BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    • Don
      May 5, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      Read it and come back…Geez nothing like a kneejerk reaction!

  2. johnking82
    May 5, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    At the Derby, Early Times Juleps cost $12. They aren’t that good and we usually smuggle in our own nips of Makers. Last year, I had a Makers connection who donated us his seats for the Derby. With friends intown, we didn’t use them until the final race. We ended up being front row, 20 yards from the finish. I can gladly say, I don’t give two sh*ts about horse racing, but when you’re that up close, it’s a spectacle to be seen.

    Louisville, KY (my home) lives and breathes the Derby. The whole town gets turned upside down. The town is buzzing right now. Whether a horse race fan or not, living here makes it difficult to not care who wins the big race.

    As for the bourbon, it will be flowing very freely this weekend. Mr. and Mrs. King had seats at the Holy Grale beer bar special event thrown by 3Floyds and Struise Brewing (with there brewer being present). Behemoth me please!

    • Don
      May 5, 2011 at 10:33 am #

      Sounds like a fun time John, and I would think front row at the derby would be rather thrilling.

      • johnking82
        May 5, 2011 at 10:39 am #

        Derby is also amateur night though, that’s the negative, but most of that rifraf stick to the infield area.

        • Don
          May 5, 2011 at 10:48 am #

          I’ve heard the Preakness is the worst. And YouTube video seems to support that notion.

  3. May 5, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Bookers mint juleps. But just one. Then switch to straight Bookers on the rocks.

    • Don
      May 5, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      Now that sounds like a truly inspired drink! I would imagine that by the end of the day you need to be poured into bed. But have a great day!

  4. May 5, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    I do like a mixed drink on occasion, but usually I’ll have a few sips of whatever the wife orders since she is far more adventurous when it comes to cocktails. She’s had a few Mint Juleps in New Orleans when we go down there every year, and I must say preparation makes a big difference. The best (in my opinion) are those that muddle the mint fresh before adding everything else. Amazingly, one of the best we had was during a plantation tour.
    Here’s a thought (maybe it’s already been done), brewing an IPA with just enough mint to enhance the hops. Could be good, or could be very disgusting. 🙂

    • Don
      May 5, 2011 at 10:47 am #

      Well you get right on that Will! Then when Jim and I come to Denver for GABF we will try Will’s Mint IPA! This is just one recipe, and if I were making it I would probably use Makers 46 or maybe a Old Wellar Antique or an Old Fitzgerald. Something a little bigger and flavorful than Early Times. But that is what is great about a recipe it provides a structure that you can branch off of to try all kinds of different combinations.

  5. May 5, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    Our neighbor was once a rep for a distributor and they were treated to an event at the Maker’s Mark mansion (or something like that). There, they were given a special MM recipe for mint juleps. He makes them every year and this year the whole neighborhood is getting together for a party. Anyway, these juleps are the best. Instead of using a simple syrup, he soaks the mint leaves in Maker’s Mark overnight. I’ll have to be careful not to drink too many as I have plans of busting out bourbon barrel-aged stouts all over the place. (Just the other week, I gathered a 09 and 10 Schlafly BBS for the gathering.)

    • johnking82
      May 5, 2011 at 10:58 am #

      is it just me or are the 09 and 10 Schlafly BBS still out everywhere (or maybe im getting confused with the imperial stouts), but I always see them and the 09 barleywine on the shelves.

      • Don
        May 5, 2011 at 11:01 am #

        OK, you should just take this little conversation off line here, because I’m starting to get really jealous that I don’t get Schlaflys.

        • johnking82
          May 5, 2011 at 11:06 am #

          I was right…

          these are seriously everywhere just hiding, waiting to be picked up. They are one of my fav’s.

        • Don
          May 5, 2011 at 11:12 am #


        • May 5, 2011 at 11:13 am #

          They are all over the place. We recently had a cellared beer tasting and one of our members who doesn’t cellar was worried he’d have nothing to bring. I simply told him to go to the stores and grab all the Schafly Reserve bottles he could get. It’s as if we take it for granted that they’re everywhere. That said, the 09 BBS was the last one in the store. (Sorry, Don.)

        • Don
          May 5, 2011 at 11:17 am #

          You’re Makin’ me MAD! 😦

        • johnking82
          May 5, 2011 at 11:44 am #

          I’d gladly get some bottles for you and send them you’re way….just sent me a live bear cub in return.

        • May 5, 2011 at 11:47 am #

          No worries John. He has LOTS of cubs!!

    • Don
      May 5, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      Nice! My advice is to drink a healthy mix of juleps, straight whiskey and a beer or two. I have actually found that too many stouts is a bad thing the next day for Don! Have a great time!

  6. May 5, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    I’ve only been to one Triple Crown event (The Belmont Stakes in NY), and though I’m no expert when it comes to horse racing, I have to admit that I had a great time. Yes, the main event is only three minutes, but there are races throughout the day and placing low stakes bets and just hanging out at the track is fun, particularly when you have the right company (we had grand stand seats). Of course my only real interest in the Kentucky Derby is the Bourbon. I hope to one day use the race as an excuse to visit the state and it’s amazing distilleries. Then again… it’s probably a better place to visit without the crowds, especially the amateur hour drinkers.

    • Don
      May 5, 2011 at 11:11 am #

      I would agree. Pretty soon (Maybe next year) I am going there for the Bourbon trail…Days, …Week…whatever Celebration. That should be a blast and What a better way to experience a ton of different bourbons all in one place!

      • johnking82
        May 5, 2011 at 11:48 am #

        Yes, it’s best to visit the distilleries when the crowds aren’t here. If you go early enough, you can get 2-3 distilleries in one day. The Makers one is the best one I’ve been on thus far. As I’ve mentioned previously, the race I’m doing in October has us run through all the Bourbon Trail distilleries.

        • Don
          May 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

          Here’s an Idea, I could drop you off at the start line of your little running thingy, then I could go to the last distillery you run through and when you are done sweating and generally being uncomfortable to be around, you could find me and we could have a drink or 17? Deal?

        • johnking82
          May 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

          i don’t sweat…i glow.

        • Don
          May 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

          Well, you know…after you are done being all glowy and junk…look me up. I’ll be several drinks in. 😉

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