Get out the Loving Cups and those BIG, fanciful hats and Facinators – the Kentucky Derby Day is Saturday, May 2.
The 141st Running of the Roses Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, begins at 6:24 pm EDT.
But the NBC Kentucky Derby TV coverage formally kicks off at noon.
So even if you don’t know a filly from jockey to a dark-horse, you can bet on the cocktail action.
Besides the classic Mint Julep, here is a menu of Derby-Day seasonal drinks to celebrate the sport of kings.
The Mint Julep has been the traditional adult beverage of Churchill Downs for almost a century. Early Times Kentucky Whisky and Maker’s Mark has been a part of the Derby tradition.
Classic Mint Julep
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Early Times Kentucky Whisky
Silver Julep cups
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Muddle the mint and simple syrup. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky or Maker’s Mark Bourbon. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
Blackberry Mint Julep Margarita
2 parts Milagro Anejo
1 part Lime Juice
1 part Honey Syrup
6 Mint Leaves
Muddle berries and mint. Add rest, shake and strain over ice in julep glass. Garnish with blackberries and mint sprig.
Tip from Gaston Martinez, Milagro Tequila Ambassador: Substituting the bourbon for Anejo tequila makes sense since the tequila is matured in bourbon casks. The cask is a huge source of the flavor found in both spirits and will have many similarities.
Fort Julep (by Joaquin Simo, Pouring Ribbons)
2 oz Lillet Rosé
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
Glass: Julep (silver or pewter is traditional, but a steel cup will do nicely and a plain ole rocks glass works)
Garnish: Mint, lightly spanked before inserting.
Rub 2-3 mint leaves inside of julep cup, then discard leaves. Add Chartreuse & Lillet Rosé, fill midway with crushed ice, swizzle or stir to agitate and incorporate, then add more Crushed Ice. Top with spanked mint sprigs.
The Tullamore Dewlep
2 oz Tullamore D.E.W. Original
½ oz white vanilla sugar syrup
Dash peach bitters
12 mint leaves
Pour all ingredients into a cup. Gently muddle mint, fill with crushed ice and stir gently to combine garnish with a sprig of mint and straw (Requires use of Julep cup for maximum impact)
Did you know Kentucky and Ireland have a great deal in common? They both produce fine fiddlers, fine horses and fine whiskey. And, while musicians trade tunes and breeders trade horses, whiskey aficionados trade recipes – like this Irish twist on a Southern classic.
A modern take on gin, the unique botanicals of Turkish Rose, Peach and Raspberry in NOLET’S Silver make it an ideal spirit for avid gin drinkers, those new to the spirit, and even those who shy away from the typical juniper-forward gins.
NOLET’S Silver Bullet
1 oz. NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin
1 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
0.75 oz. Simple Syrup
Muddle one slice of grapefruit in an Old Fashioned glass. Add ice and remaining ingredients. Garnish with a grapefruit wheel.
NOLET’S Silver Negroni
1 oz. NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin
1 oz. Aperol
1 oz. Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir well and strain into a rocks glass over ice or up in a martini glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
NOLET’S Silver Cucumber Gimlet
1.25 oz. NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin
0.75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
0.5 oz. Simple Syrup
Dash Celery Bitters
Cucumber + Basil
In a mixing glass, muddle cucumber and basil with syrup and lime juice. Add NOLET’S Silver, celery bitters, and ice. Shake well and serve up in a martini glass. Garnish with a long slice of cucumber and fresh basil leaf.
3 Parts Cinzano Prosecco
2 Parts Aperol
1 Dash Soda
Ice and a slice of Orange
Add ice and a slice of orange, pour in the Prosecco, the Aperol and add a dash of soda. This avoids the Aperol settling at the bottom.
Spring’s Bitter Breeze
1 oz Jägermeister
1 oz Flor de Caña 4-year gold rum
.75 oz Ginger Syrup
.75 oz Orgeat
.75 oz Lemon Juice
Heavy dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
Shake with a few pebbles. Pour over fresh pebble ice in a swizzle glass. Mound more on top like a snow cone and “paint” with Peychaud’s. Ahoy!
Major Bailey (by Jon Santer)
2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
1 Sugar cube
¼ oz simple
8 Leaves Mint
Muddle in julep glass. Top with crushed ice until a mountain peak of ice forms above the glass. Garnish with copious amounts of mint and a cucumber spear.
1.5 oz Jägermeister
1.5 sweet vermouth
3 dashes of Devils Larder root beer bitters
Pour all ingredients into a Collins glass and fill with ice cubes. Top with seltzer.
1 oz. Rhubarb Tea
1 oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
1 oz. Lillet Rosé
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
3 dashes Absinthe
Garnish: strawberry slice and mint sprig or edible flower
Shake ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish with a strawberry slice and a mint sprig or an edible flower.