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
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!