Soon it will be time for the running of the Kentucky Derby where fine food and memorable drinks (not to mention unforgettable hats) will mix with the thunder of some of the world’s greatest racing horses.
In Louisville the most popular drink on Saturday’s Derby Day will be the Mint Julep. You simply can’t do Derby Day without one:
Yield: 1 (12 ounce) cocktail
Preparation time: 10 minutes. Start mixing at least by 4:30 for 5:00 post time.
- 8 to 10 mint leaves
- 1 sprig of mint for garnish
- 1 tablespoon of sugar, more or less to taste
- 1 1/2 ounce clean fresh Kentucky spring water
- 3 ounces premium Bourbon (try Woodford Reserve)
- Crushed ice
Rinse the mint but don’t dry.
Put the leaves in a 12 ounce cocktail glass & pour the sugar on top.
Muddle them together with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon.
When the leaves & wet sugar begin to turn to a mushy paste, add the water & the bourbon
Stir with a fork until the sugar dissolves.
Top with crushed ice, garnish with the sprig of mint.
Serve, if possible, in a silver tumbler.
Now that you have a drink in hand, it’s time to add a food to the fun as legendary as your drink – Hot Browns from, but of course, the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky by Chef Fred K. Schmidt in 1926. It is a creative variation of the traditional brunch classic the Welsh rarebit. Your guests will love it:
Derby Hot Browns
Yield: 35 appetizers
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1⁄8 tsp. white pepper
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup sherry or additional chicken broth
- 1⁄3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 35 slices snack pumpernickel bread, toasted
- 1 1/2 lbs. sliced cooked turkey
- 4 medium tomatoes, halved and sliced
- 12 cooked bacon strips, crumbled
In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
Stir in flour, salt & pepper until smooth; gradually add the milk, broth & sherry.
Bring to a boil; cook & stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Stir in the cheddar cheese & 1⁄3 cup Parmesan until cheese is melted.
Remove from the heat.
Place toast slices on a baking sheet.
Top each with turkey, sauce mixture, tomatoes and bacon.
Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
Broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Have fun with both and may the best horse win!
Post Note: If you want to expand your celebration to include all the cuisine made famous at the two other racces that complete the Triple Crown in racing, be sure to enjoy:
Ridden by an almost unknown jockey, “I’ll Have Another” bided his time in the middle of the pack and then blazed past the leaders in the final furlong to win to the roar of thousands.
It was an amazing feat – one not equaled in any of the 138 runnings of the race of race. So, if your day is hard, prepare yourself one of these famous racing cocktails and then raise your glass to toast the little horse that came from behind and remember we can all do the same. Have a great day!
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2012