The Cocktail Napkin -- Kentucky Derby Day

  • 2019-05-03, 04:08 AM
  • Editor
The Cocktail Napkin -- Kentucky Derby Day
by Jo Petteruti, Owner and Mixologist, Jo's Stillwater Tea Room -- The first Saturday in May has been Kentucky Derby Day since 1875, with 2019 being the 145th running of this incredible thoroughbred race.  The derby is a long-standing tradition of horse racing and Churchill Downs itself was built in Louisville all those years ago for this purpose.   It was originally called the Louisville Jockey Club. The Kentucky Derby celebration actually starts two weeks in advance of the race, with a city-wide festival that leads up to the race.  I would also bet (this is a gambling event after all) that with two full weeks of festival activities, drinking Kentucky Bourbon plays a significant role in many of those activities.  The crescendo is the Kentucky Derby Day party with the glamour, the cocktails and all of those hast! According to the Kentucky Derby's web site, “The long-established fashion was started with Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.'s vision for the Derby as an event that the high-class would attend, similar to European-style racing events, which mandated full morning dress for men and women. For the first running of the Kentucky Derby, he used high-class women to recruit his target clientele to attend the race. The event quickly became just as much about the fashion as the racing. Going to a horse racing event became an opportunity to show off the latest in spring fashion and women were known to coordinate their hats, dresses, bags, shoes, and even parasols.” The Kentucky Derby is the first race of three in what is called the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.  The rose garland awarded to the winning horse is the origin of this race's nickname “Run for the Roses”.   The Preakness Stakes is the second race, the third race is the Belmont Stakes, and there are at least two weeks between each race.  The thoroughbred that wins all three races is a Triple Crown winner – and that is an unbelievable accomplishment for jockey and steed... There have been 2 Triple Crown winners in the past 3 years – Justify in 2018 and American Pharaoh in 2015 – but prior to that, the last one was Affirmed in 1978. Up to 20 horses can compete in the Kentucky Derby which is 1 ¼ miles long, or 10 furlongs.  The horses must be 3-year-old thoroughbreds, and each one must have completed a series of 35 races prior to being eligible for the derby.  So it is no small feat for a horse to be entered into this race.  And the purse is now up to $3 million, from a mere $2 million last year! Needless to say, there is much to celebrate on Kentucky Derby Day, and naturally there are cocktails to do just that!  The most popular Kentucky Derby Day cocktail is the Mint Julep.  But at the Tea Room, we have a couple of others in our back pocket as well, and they are included here for you to enjoy.  We use 4 Roses Bourbon in these recipes in keeping with the “Run for the Roses” race garland theme. Mint Julep:
  • 2 oz. 4 Roses Bourbon
  • ½ oz. Simple Syrup
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Drop a couple of mint leaves into an 8-oz rocks glass and muddle until you can smell the mint fragrance being released. Fill the glass with ice, then add the bourbon and syrup.
  • Pour the contents of the glass into a cocktail shaker cup then pour the mix back into the glass and garnish with a mint sprig.
Cognac Mint Julep:
  • Substitute your favorite Cognac for the Bourbon. The Tea Room pours Hennesey Cognac most often.
Jockey Club:
  • 2 oz. 4 Roses Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
  • Cherry juice splash, Cherry garnish
  • Fill an 8-oz rocks glass with ice, then add the liquids.
  • Pour the contents of the glass into a cocktail shaker cup then pour the mix back into the glass and garnish with a skewered cherry or two.
Any one you do choose, sip and enjoy it responsibly... Ciao!   Sign up to receive updates and the Friday File email notices. Support local, independent news – contribute to The Fallon Post, your non-profit (501c3) online news source for all things Fallon.  



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