The Kentucky Derby took place on Saturday, May 4, and as an annual tradition in Louisville since 1875, has run every year since its inception (even throughout the Great Depression and both World Wars). The Kentucky Derby is a Thoroughbred horse race that is better known as “The Run for the Roses” due to a lush blanket of 554 roses draped on the winning horse. The race has also earned the moniker “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” from the excitement and anticipation that builds up to its approximate duration. When one thinks of the derby, images of elaborate hats, fine outfits, lavish accessories, and certainly Mint Juleps comes to mind!
When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, no beverage is more frequently associated or as iconic as the Mint Julep. Since 1938, Churchill Downs has promoted the Mint Julep in association with Kentucky Derby. Over the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs serves nearly 120,000 Mint Juleps to attendees. Traditionally Mint Juleps are served in pewter cups, however today they are more commonly served in a Collins or a tall old-fashioned glass. The Mint Julep calls for four ingredients – fresh mint leaf, simple syrup, crushed ice and bourbon. For our Members that are making their Mint Juleps at home, we recommend using ORC’s Batch #2 Maker’s Mark Bourbon or ORC’s Woodford Reserve Double Oak selection (limited supply available at Port O’Call).
In mixology, a Julep is traditionally defined as a “sweet drink” with historic medicinal purposes. The Mint Julep appeared in literature as early as 1784 and was prescribed as a cure for “sickness at the stomach.” The word “Julep” is derived from the ancient Persian “gulab” denoting a sort of sweetened rosewater. A recipe published in 1840, for the “real mint julep” called for brandy as the base spirit however, in the 19th century gin was commonly used as well. Today Mint Juleps are primarily made with bourbon.
We encourage our Members to visit the Reef Lounge or Burgee Bar and enjoy a mint julep, while experiencing “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.”
Mint Julep Recipe:
- Mint Springs (5)
- 2 oz. Bourbon
- ½ oz. Simple Syrup
- Crushed Ice
In a highball glass, gently muddle the mint. Fill the glass with crushed ice, add bourbon and simple syrup and stir well until the glass is well frosted. Garnish with a mint sprig.