The Mint Julep: Guide to a Great Kentucky Derby Day
May 7, 2016

The Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby held the first Saturday in May is a Mint Julep (but, of course, you knew that). Bourbon, mint, sugar, crushed ice served in the ubiquitous Julep Cup.

The Official Drink of The Preakness Stakes, held the third Saturday in May, is a Black-Eyed Susan, a recipe which has changed many times over the years. Today, it is a concoction including vodka, Maker’s Mark bourbon, orange juice, and sour mix. Oof!

The Official Drink of The Belmont Stakes, held three weeks after the Preakness, is a Belmont Jewel, recently changed from the Belmont Breeze which was anything but a breeze to make. The Belmont Jewel is an ounce and a half of Knob Creek Bourbon, 2 ounces of lemonade, and an ounce of pomegranate juice. This actually sounds promising (sorry Black-Eyed Susan).

What do these three drinks have in common? If you said bourbon, you’ll fit right in with us! If you’re in the mood to make some cocktails, great. However, if you’re like us, we just cut right to the chase. We fix ourselves (and guests) a large pour of bourbon, ice cubes optional. So throw on your best duds, pick out a fancy hat, and get to drinking!

Ingredients of a solid Mint Julep

Mint Julep Recipe:

3 oz. Bourbon (see below for some great affordable recommendations)
8 mint leaves
1 mint spring
½ oz. to 1 oz. simple syrup depending on preferred level of sweetness

Muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup in the bottom of a rocks glass or julep cup. Be brief and gentle; abrasive muddling will turn the mint bitter. Add crushed ice and bourbon to the glass, stirring until the glass frosts. Top with more ice, and serve with a straw and mint sprig to tickle your nose.*

Here’s a few Kentucky bourbons that we’ll be imbibing over the next several weeks. Which horse are you placing a bet on to win the Triple Crown this year?

10 Kentucky Bourbons Under $35:

Jim Beam Bonded
Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon 10 Year
Old Grand Dad Bonded
Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Old Forester Signature Bourbon
Wild Turkey Bourbon 101
Bulleit Bourbon
Evan Williams Single Barrel
Maker’s Mark

* Recipe from the wonderful Highball app. Check it out!

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