Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bourbon and the Ponies: It's Derby Day!

Have I ever told you I spent 11 years in Louisville, KY, falling in love with the place, the people and ....okay, and the bourbon.

I never would have pegged myself as a bourbon drinker. Oh, let's be honest, I never would have pegged myself as a Kentuckian. When the possibility of moving there with Gary's job first came up, I pretty much said, "Um. No. I don't do the South."

But apparently, I do. I like bluegrass. I like Bourbon. I like the Kentucky Derby. I like Churchill Downs, where we (all parents) pretty freely encouraged our sweet little children to pick a horse. I like the friends I met, heck, I even liked the food scene.

Honestly, if I could move back? I would in a heartbeat. Not to say I don't love my new hometown of Charlotte--I do, very much. In fact right now I describe it as "very much like Louisville...without my friends." (Okay, so I'm a little lonely. There. Now you know.)

But I digress. The real purpose of my post today? The mint julep (cue the hallelujah chorus, please). You either love this or you hate it, but I love it and I make it well. And on the first Saturday of every May, you can find me mixing up a batch, eager to find someone who is actually at Churchill to place a bet for me (yes, I know I can do it online, but where's the fun in that?)--just don't bet with me. The one year I talked friends into putting money down, the horse finished last. The year I should have bet Barbaro in honor of my own name? I didn't...

Anyway, BACK to the julep. It's easy, it's delicious, just be warned. They go down smoothly.

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep

2 cups sugar
4 cups water
2 bunches fresh mint, rinsed and chopped (stems and all)
Shaved or crushed ice
Fresh mint for garnish
1.Make the simple syrup. Mix sugar with water and mint. Bring to a boil and stir just until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, cool completely and strain out mint.
2. For each julep, fill 8 ounce cup (find julep cups if you like: tres chic) with shaved or crushed ice. Add 2 ounces bourbon to the cup. Top off with mint syrup. Garnish with mint and serve. (Adjust bourbon more or less to suit your own tastes.)

Who are you betting?

And ladies, please: hats required.


Anonymous said...

Happy Derby Day! We don't drink alcohol, but these drinks always look so pretty

Babette said...

I will make you a ginger mint soda in your honor then--add fresh ginger, about 2 inches of root, chopped, to the syrup. Strain, fill cup with ice and about half ginger/mint syrup. Top off with club soda. Stir gently and garnish with mint.

Mmm. Refreshing.

Ulrike, Dubai said...

Wherever you live in the world, there are always pros and cons. But with that drink on your side, it can't be all bad!

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

Sounds like the perfect drink on a scorching hot day!