Paige Knight - 14 / Apr / 2024

    Kentucky Derby Recipe: The Mint Julep

    Calling all racing fans! Mark your calendars! 150th Kentucky Derby fever is catching! The excitement is building for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby, the oldest continuously held sporting event in the U.S. Mark your calendars for the first Saturday of May – Derby season is here!

    Kentucky Derby Recipe: The Mint Julep
    The B Blog

    Did you know that the Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously held sporting event in the United States? Derby season is just around the corner, fast-approaching on the first Saturday of May. This Kentucky Derby is an extra special one, the 150th running of the Derby since the first run in 1875. Now’s the time to start planning: what will you wear, where will you go, and will you host a party this Derby season? 

    If you’re feeling lost, don’t worry! We talked with Carole Gunst, friend of the store and resident Kentucky Derby expert, to give us the inside scoop on how to celebrate the Derby in style. Each year, Carole gets her friends together for a Kentucky Derby party. She cooks a feast of country biscuits & ham, fried chicken, and cornbread served with Henry Bain’s Pendennis Club Sauce and holds a Derby-style fashion contest that’s a neighborhood hit. 

    We asked Carole about the most essential aspect of a successful Derby party. “Well you’ve gotta do a Mint Julep,” Carole said matter-of-factly. She shared a few books with us about the Derby, Kentucky Bourbon and the history of the Mint Julep. Here’s what we learned about the history, the tools you’ll need, and the steps to make a perfect Mint Julep. 

    The Mint Julep’s Rich History

    At the most essential level, a Mint Julep is a cocktail made by pouring bourbon and mint syrup over ice, garnishing with a sprig of mint. Mint Juleps have been served at Churchill Downs, the site of the Kentucky Derby, since the first running in 1875. Helped out by the plentiful supply of mint growing in the area, the drink stuck around, eventually becoming the signature drink in 1938. Since then, variations have emerged that use rye, scotch, rum, and even champagne, but Kentucky bourbon is the trademark of a traditional Mint Julep. 

    Caspari Talk Derby to me cocktail napkins

    Caspari’s “Talk Derby To Me” Cocktail Napkins are the perfect party favor this Derby season. 

    Tools You’ll Need For The Perfect Mint Julep

    Henry Clay’s Mint Julep

    Henry Clay, U.S. senator from Kentucky in 1850, popularized the Mint Julep in Washington, D.C. at the Round Robin Bar. Here’s his original recipe:

    "The mint leaves, fresh and tender, should be pressed against a coin-silver goblet with the back of a silver spoon. Only bruise the leaves gently and then remove them from the goblet. Half fill with cracked ice. Mellow bourbon, aged in oak barrels, is poured from the jigger and allowed to slide slowly through the cracked ice. In another receptacle, granulated sugar is slowly mixed into chilled limestone water to make a silvery mixture as smooth as some rare Egyptian oil, then poured on top of the ice. While beads of moisture gather on the burnished exterior of the silver goblet, garnish the brim of the goblet with the choicest sprigs of mint."

    Our Modern Interpretation

    Ingredients

      • 6 to 8 mint leaves
      • ½ oz simple syrup
      • 3 oz bourbon
      • Crushed ice
      • Mint sprig, for garnish

    Instructions

    • Use a muddler to lightly press 6 to 8 mint leaves against the inside of a Julep cup until the mint is fragrant. 
    • Remove the mint leaves to a small bowl and mix with simple syrup.
    • Fill the Julep glass halfway with crushed ice, then use a jigger to pour 3 oz of bourbon over the ice.
    • Pour your mint syrup over the ice and use a cocktail spoon to stir until the glass starts to frost over.
    • Add more ice and stir again. 
    • Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve with a short straw.

    Recipe Notes

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