Thursday, May 5, 2011


The 137th Kentucky Derby is this Saturday so dust off your favorite hat, and get ready!

It’s been 33 years since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978 and although we have come close with Funny Cide in 2003, Smarty Jones in 2004, and Big Brown in 2008…I’m hoping 2011 (just like I hope every year) will be the year a horse dominates all three races; The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, and The Belmont Stakes.

Personally, I love all the classic traditions that go along with The Kentucky Derby. Namely, the Mint Julep. It’s not Derby day unless there’s lots of big hats and Mint Juleps present!

Mint Julep
Makes 1 drink

1 scant ounce minted simple syrup (recipe below)
2 cups crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon (such as Woodford Reserve)
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

To highball glass or silver Julep cup, add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon, and splash of water. Add enough of remaining ice to almost fill glass. Stir well and garnish with mint sprig.

To make minted simple syrup:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch fresh mint

In heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Increase heat slightly, then simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take pan off heat, add mint leaves, and steep 15 minutes. Strain, then refrigerate syrup until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

Now, if you're like me and you're not a regular bourbon drinker....add an extra ounce of the minted simple syrup to your drink. I really like to taste a strong mint flavor.

May the best horse win!


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