THE BLOG

Kentucky Derby!

04/30/2015 11:53 am ET | Updated Jun 30, 2015
Colleen Mullaney

Derby Day!

Also known as Run for the Roses, the Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports and is the official start of the summer social season. But you don't have to be in Kentucky to enjoy its southern hospitality -- mix-up a batch or two of Mint Juleps, invite some friends over, serve some cheesy biscuits and put on the big screen. For a bit of Churchill Downs grand stand color put on a fancy hat, and you're off to the races with true southern style!

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Mint Juleps
Serves 4

2 oz. mint infused simple syrup
8 oz. Kentucky bourbon
3 cups crushed ice
4 oz. seltzer
Mint leaves for garnish

Fill julep glasses with crushed ice. Combine simple syrup and bourbon in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with crushed ice. Strain mixture into glasses, top with seltzer, garnish with mint sprig and serve.

Mint-Infused Simple Syrup
Makes scant 1 cup

1 cup water
1 cup superfine sugar
1 cup mint leaves, washed

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and the liquid becomes clear, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add mint leaves. Let stand for 15-30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain the syrup and discard the mint leaves. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Sidebar:
Mint Julep Cups

Although the tried and true Southern Belles call for an ice-frosted silver cup either sterling or coin silver, finished in a simple design. (I love to add to my collection when I find one or two at antique sales) there's no pressure, and use what you have, as the real prize lies in the glass!

A zesty and extra sweet version of the traditional julep, this adds a true touch of the South.

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Peach Juleps
Serves 4
2 oz. peach and mint infused simple syrup.
8 oz. Kentucky bourbon
3 cups crushed ice
4 oz. seltzer
Mint leaves for garnish

Fill julep glasses with crushed ice.
Combine simple syrup and and bourbon a cocktail shaker filled half-way with ice. Strain into glasses. Top with seltzer, garnish with mint sprig and serve!

Peach and mint infused simple syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup mint leaves, washed
2 fresh peaches, sliced

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and the liquid becomes clear, about 5 minutes. Add peaches and reduce heat to simmer, simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat add in mint, let stand for 15-30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain the syrup and discard the peaches and mint leaves. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Bourbon Slush

Who doesn't love a slushy? Especially when it's a cocktail! It's the perfect addition to your Derby party as it hails from the South, enough said.

Serves 14
6 cups water
2 cups strong tea
2 1/2 cups bourbon
1 cup sugar
One 6 oz. container frozen orange juice
One 6 oz. container frozen lemon juice
Mint sprigs or Maraschino cherries for garnish if desired

Combine the tea, water, bourbon, sugar, orange, and lemon juice concentrate in a large bowl. Pour into plastic freezer bags. Freeze until 30 minutes before serving. Pour into a pitcher, break up big chunks, and serve.