It is DERBY WEEK here in the great state of Kentucky!!
It is our favorite two weeks of the year here in the Bluegrass state. We put on our best hats and our party shoes and throw one HELLUVA two week long party. My husband says he knew we were at another level entirely when he attended his first house party for Derby with me. We were not yet married and he didn’t know what to expect. The pageantry and food and cocktails that happened at that party were something to behold. Then My Old Kentucky Home started to play and we all stood and were crying by the end of the song and wiping our eyes. “I knew I was at some next level shit, baby” . Yes. Yes you are, love. We don’t play about Derby here in Kentucky.
There are classic cocktails associated with Derby. The Mint Julep is the most well know. We have a couple of others that we think are a trifecta as well!
Let’s start with the most iconic Derby cocktail, The Mint Julep. This is a super easy cocktail as it only has a few ingredients- so those ingredients need to be outstanding. If you would like more info on how to make mint syrup, check out our recent post found here.
.5 oz Mint SS
2 oz Kentucky Bourbon
Place crushed ice in julep cup. Add mint syrup and bourbon to cup and stir. Mound more crushed ice on top of the cup. Garnish with fresh mint and a cocktail straw.
Derby Days Are Here Again was inspired by two horse track classics- the Mint Julep and the Brown Derby. We love both of these cocktails but felt that the Brown Derby could be a little underwhelming sometimes, whereas the mint julep could be a bit overpowering (and over-intoxicating).
This recipe was our collaboration with Four Roses for the Derby Festival this year. We call it our “Gateway” bourbon cocktail because it is so smooth and well balanced, you can hardly distinguish the bourbon alone.
Derby Days Are Here Again
2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
.75 oz Honey Lavender Elixir
.5 oz grapefruit juice
.25 oz lime juice
Muddle 4-5 fresh mint leaves. Shake and double strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with grapefruit or orange rosette with mint leaves.
Our second Derby Festival Punch collaboration with Four Roses is our Rose Island Punch. Tiki in its roots, it combines the baking spices of our 7 Syrup along with Four Roses Bourbon and Dark Rum to create a laid back party in your glass.
Rose Island Punch
1 oz citrus mix (equal parts lemon, lime, and orange juice)
1 oz 7 Syrup
1.5 oz Four Roses Bourbon
1.5 oz Blended dark Rum
2 shakes Aromatic Bitters or Tiki Bitters
Orange Cherry flag garnish
Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until very cold. Strain onto crushed ice and garnish with an orange peel and Amarena cherry.
This next cocktail is exactly right for all of the house parties that happen here for Derby week. Make a big batch and then be prepared for all of the text messages next week when your guests are asking for the recipe. If you are serious about your slushies and want to use a slush machine, many rental places will have them for daily or weekend rental.
Bourbon Slush- yields ~one gallon
5 cups brewed tea
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups orange juice
1 cup 7 syrup (can also substitute simple syrup)
3 cups Bourbon
1 cups water
Mix the first six ingredients and freeze in a plastic container with a lid. Fill glass ½ way with ice. Scoop frozen slush into glass and top with Prosecco or sprite or ginger ale for a less boozy option. Garnish with oranges and cherries. Make sure you can stand up before you go get another one.
Wishing everyone a HAPPY DERBY! We hope your horse wins, or at the very least, your cocktails are cold and your friends plentiful. When the singing starts, I have an extra hanky if you need one.
Weep no more, my lady
Oh, weep no more, today
We sing one song
For my old Kentucky home
For my old Kentucky home