Two of my favorite days of debauchery. A bountiful bifecta of boozy beverages! Derby Day at Churchill Downs and Cinco De Mayo happen to fall on the same day this year, which is double the reason to enjoy a beautiful Saturday. It also poses some consumption challenges…. Lets discuss!
First to the Derby. It’s well known that the drink of choice on derby day is the Mint Julip. Dont let the unassuming and ever-so -approachable name fool you. Before I ever tried my first Mint Julip, i had visions so something like those really cool Andes Mints that you get as a goodbye treat from restaurants. When I pulled up the recipe, ummmm I knew I was in for trouble.
- If you’ve got a silver highball sized cup, pull it out…. but a highball glass will do in a pinch.
- Add two large leaves of freshest mint to two teaspoons of the finest sugar youve got (but not powdered sugar)
- Muddle the mint and the sugar together in the glass with a muddler….. if you dont have one in your arsenal this is the time to run to store and buy one. if its too late in the day just punt and find a blunt-ended-something that you dont mind touching something that will go into your mouth. i muddle with a downward twist with an equal emphasis on distributing the mint throughout the sugar, crushing the sugar crystals as you would when making an Old Fashioned, but not pulverizing the mint completely. You’ll find your own way tough this, there really inst a wrong answer
- Now the fun begins…….
- Add a full jigger of Kentucky Bourbon ( discussed below)
- Add another full jigger of Kentucky Bourbon 🙂
- Stir gently
- Add a splash of seltzer water, or a good clean filtered still water. Pour light. Tablespoon or so
- Fill your cup to the 3/4 level with CRUSHED ice. IT must be crushed. Dont screw this step up.
- Add one mint leaf for garnish.
As you figured out, this is a boozy drink and so unless your liver is better than mine, dont plan on slamming three or four pre-race. you’ll be sloppy. Oh, and about that bourbon, you can go oh so wrong here. The first thing and worst misstep is to use some other sort of whiskey (especially Tennessee Whiskey) and not a true Kentucky bourbon. Dios Mio! Its the KENTUCKY Derby for goodnesssakes! I personally dont use my best Bourbon for any cocktail, but instead reach for a mid range Bourbon or Rye. Today I’ll be Truing Longbranch, the new Bourbon by Matthew McConaughey & Wild Turkey. mmmmmmm. Save your Blantons for sipping neat please.
Cinco De Mayo….. just learn these words…. Una Mas Cerveza, Por Favor. Pop, drink. Its just that easy.
Either way you go, you wont go wrong. Just pick a direction and stick with it, or get the sequencing right… You know the rhyme… Beer before liquor 🙂