That’s right. I’m talking about the Run for the Roses… the race known as none other than the Kentucky Derby, which will be taking place in less than two weeks from now, on May 2nd.
According to wikipedia, the Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, each year on the first Saturday in May. The race is the pinnacle event at the end of the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival.
The festival itself first began in 1935 and ran through 1937, returning as a yearly event in 1956. During the Kentucky Derby Festival, one is treated to such events as the Great Balloon Race, the Great Steamboat Race (yes, I said steamboat), which features the Belle of Louisiana, the Pegasus Parade, known as one of the largest parade in all of America, and the Derby Marathon and Mini-Marathon.
The official cocktail of the Derby, of course, is the mint julep, quoted by Lt. Gen. S. B. Buckner, Jr. as “the quintessence of gentlemanly beverages….” Last year, during race weekend, Churchill Downs served over 80,000 of these cocktails, using 2,200-pounds of fresh mint and 80 tons of shaved ice.
Like to bring a bit of Louisville home in celebration of Derby? The mint julep is the perfect vehicle. Start with this authentic recipe:
2 oz bourbon whiskey
4 whole mint sprigs
Simple syrup, to taste
Mint sprigs, dusted with sugar, for garnish
Muddle mint leaves, simple syrup and bourbon in a cocktail shaker until the mint is blended in. Add ice and then shake well. Strain into a julep cup filled with shaved ice. Garnish with mint sprigs and enjoy!
[techtags:KENTUCKY DERBY, MINT JULEP, MINT JULEPS, MINT JULEP RECIPE, KENTUCKY DERBY FESTIVAL]