Mint Juleps at the Derby

The 135th run for the roses is almost here – the Kentucky Derby. A time view the twin spires of Churchill Downs, hear the band strike up “My Old Kentucky Home”, and to have a glass or three of a…

Mint Julep

(Isn’t that some sort of flower?)

The Mint Julep cocktail has been in existence from at least 1803 according to printed records. In 1938 the Mint Julep became the official beverage at the Derby. They make over 120,000 of these cocktails during the two day event. Early Times Kentucky Whiskey, the official whiskey for the past 18 years, supplies over 10,000 bottles of their pre-made cocktail to go with 60,000 pounds of ice and 1,000 pounds of fresh mint.

Whew..! Now I’m thirsty…

And now its recipe time, what we like to refer to as the important part. The Julep is a simple, two-step process. First, make some mint syrup with the following:

· 1 cup water
· 1 cup sugar
· 1 bunch fresh mint – if you grow your own, use spearmint and not peppermint.

Boil the sugar and water until dissolved. Pour over the mint and gently muddle. Refrigerate overnight in a sealed container.

Now for the drink itself:

· 2 oz Early Times Kentucky Whiskey
· 1 Tbs mint syrup
· Mint sprigs
· Crushed Ice

Muddle a few mint leaves in bottom of an 8 oz glass – tradition calls for a silver cup – fill with the crushed ice. Add the mint syrup and whiskey. Stir until the glass is frosty. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

Whether you are at Churchill Downs, or merely having a Derby party at home, it should be thought of as a necessary part of the Kentucky Derby experience.