Just a quick post for your Derby Day enjoyment! Matt and I have just made some delicious (and stroooong) mint juleps. Now, it is only 3, but c'mon, this is the one, perfect day each year where having a mint julep at 3 in the afternoon is perfectly acceptable.
We made our juleps with Four Roses bourbon, from one of the distilleries we visited on our Bourbon Trail tour last year. Let me give you a little background on juleps, solely based on knowledge gained in my reading of The Joy of Mixology, the excellent tome by Gary Regan. If you have any interest in cocktails, this book is a great one, combining recipes, historical information, and advice from the author.
The julep family of drinks all use an "aromatic garnish" to top the drink, in this case it is mint. Traditionally, the mint julep is served in a beautiful, elaborate silver cup. Unfortunately, when we visited Churchill Downs and I attempted to procure one of these excellently gorgeous chalices, they cost $60 for a cheap pewter repro, and upwards of $200 for the real deal silver cup!! I guess that will go on my life goals list...for when I make way more money.
The julep cup is useful in that it allows the drinker to get a good "whiff" of the garnish while they drink the drink.
Cutting back to the derby for a sec, the television just informed me that 2,250 pounds of mint go into over 120,000 mint juleps at the derby (guessing these figures are from last year?). That is a LOT of mint juleps.
Some of the interesting competitors this year, include (in the Kentucky Oaks race) Bobby Flay's horse, Her Smile , and (in the derby) the horse named Pants On Fire who is ridden by a female jockey. (Speaking of Bobby Flay, he provided a great sounding julep recipe a couple derbies ago for a Blackberry-Bourbon Julep.)
Alright, well I will let you get back to watching the derby! Here is the recipe we used to create our mint juleps at home:
-2-1/2 oz Bourbon
-2 teaspoons water
-1 teaspoon powdered sugar
-4 sprigs fresh mint
Combine mint, powdered sugar, and water in a glass and muddle (we used our Four Roses tasting glasses, which are probably about 8 oz).
Fill glass with ice (preferably shaved or crushed, although we had neither so ice cubes had to do).
Add Bourbon, top with additional ice.
Garnish with another mint sprig and enjoy!