Derby Day is upon us! Place your bets and break out your cocktail equipment because it’s time to make some festive cocktails for the occasion!
We start with the classic. The Mint Julep is the quintessential tipple for Derby Day and it’s fairly simple to make.
The Mint Julep calls for four ingredients- bourbon, mint, sugar, and water. When entertaining on Derby Day, be sure to start with this cocktail and you and your guests will be off to the races!
We look to Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Bourbon as the base of the drink. Its richness and balance is the perfect setting for The Perfect Julep.
The Perfect Mint Julep
¼ cup water
5 sprigs of fresh mint
Chill down a silver derby cup or highball glass. In the chilled glass, combine water, sugar, and mint leaves from 2-3 sprigs. Use whole leaves and gently press ingredients. Do not muddle harshly as the goal is to release essential oils from the leaves without heavy bruising. At this point, take your fourth sprig of mint and rub inside of glass with it. This will maximize mint’s role in taste profile. Crushed ice is imperative to the Perfect Julep so you’ll need to address that in one of two ways- use a blender to crush your own or make friends with your local Jamba Juice store manager! Fill glass halfway with crushed ice. Add bourbon and stir. Continue to add crushed ice until your glass or derby cup is completely frosted. Give one last stir with a straw and garnish the drink with your fifth mint sprig. Place the sprig directly next to the straw so, when your guests sip, the aromas of mint lead the taste experience.
Now that you and your guests are warmed up for a festive afternoon, another classic whiskey cocktail will follow perfectly with hors d’oeuvres and barbeque items to be served. The Old Fashioned is one of the oldest cocktails in America and continues to win new devotees today! It’s another cocktail that derives sophistication from simplicity. Three ingredients and garnish is all that’s required. Although the drink is most traditionally made with Rye, we are using the same bottle of Buffalo Trace for ours. The spiciness in Buffalo Trace’s finish plays quite well with the Regan’s Orange Bitters. Notethe use of Demerara sugar cubes in recipe- this adds texture and a deeper profile to resulting cocktail!
The Old Fashioned
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
In a rocks glass add one sugar cube, one teaspoon water, and two dashes of bitters. Pour water and dash bitters directly onto sugar cube. Muddle gently until sugar cube is dissolved with water and bitters. Add a wedge of navel orange and drop in a maraschino cherry. Fill glass with ice. Last, add bourbon, stir well, and enjoy! Cheers!