Posts tagged #Kentucky Derby

You Can’t Have a Derby Day Horse Racing Party without Great Food and Cocktails

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:

Mint Julep

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:

From the Preakness Stakes Race in Baltimore, Maryland - The Black Eyed Susan Cocktail (named after the state flower) and Preakness Crab Cakes.

From the Belmont Park Race in Elmont, New York - The Belmont Breeze Cocktail (just watch those horses wizz by) and Manhattan Clam Chowder

Post Note, April 5, 2012: I’ll Have Another”, the horse purchased for a mere $11,000, just beat the other million dollar horses in this year’s Running of the Roses, i.e., the Kentucky Derby.

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

How the Willard Hotel Made the Mint Julep Famous BEFORE the Horses Ran at the Kentucky Derby

On the first Saturday in May since the year 1883, the “Run for the Roses” has championed horse racing at the famed Kentucky Derby in fair Louisville. Events begin two week earlier with “Thunder Over Louisville”, the largest fireworks display in the world. The Great Balloon Festival, the Great Steamboat Race and the Pegasus Parade all follow, leading up to the fabulous Derby Day.

Yet despite all these activities set to the restless sound of the waiting horses, it is the culinary traditions of racing’s royalty that many remember and enjoy year after year.

Most famous, of course, is the mint julep, a nearly magical drink with an often misplaced history.  The mint julep is a classic American cocktail, long beloved in the South. Yet few know its national fame began, not south in Dixie, but further north in Washington DC at the Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel.

Prior to the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, many senators worked tirelessly but unsuccessfully to resolve the issues of taxation, representation and black emancipation that were threatening to tear the nation apart.

One of the hardest working senators was the esteemed Kentucky son, Henry Clay. An experienced hand at matters diplomatic, he often gathered those in conflict over state sovereignty and the issue of slavery together at the Willard Hotel and ordered that his favorite southern drink, the mint julep, be served.

For you see, the Willard’s Bar was actually round so no one and no point of view could hold center court. No individual could dominate from a head table there. He hope that, with a relaxing mint julep in their hand, cooler heads would prevail. Sadly his efforts to reach a resolution failed and a great national war occurred.

Yet many remembered his valiant efforts and when horses, northern or southern, later raced at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby after the Civil War, well, when combined with local traditions, the mint julep seemed (and still is) the perfect drink for the nervous horse owners and the waiting racing fans. So enjoy this liquid classic and don't forget to pick your winner before the buzzer sounds!

Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2011