Saturday, May 3, 2008

Derby Day!

Last year's winner, Street Sense

A good friend was sharing her plans with me for the weekend, which include a great party to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. She's been busy making a hat all week, and I can't wait to see the result. In the meantime, I thought I'd share some Derby atmosphere with you (because really, how could an event get any better? A sense of history, crazy fashion, beautiful horses, and yummy drinks!).

It's tradition at the Derby to wear your most fashionable (and giant!) hat.

A few people get REALLY wacky with their fashion.

"March to the Derby"

The official drink of the Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep. Here is the classic recipe, along with a few facts (from the official Kentucky Derby site).

The Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century. Early Times Kentucky Whisky has been privileged and honored to be a part of that tradition. The Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail has been "The Official Mint Julep of the Kentucky Derby" for more than 18 years.

Each year, almost 120,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. A feat that requires over 10,000 bottles of Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.

The Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail is a staple at the track the rest of the year as well. In fact, the Grade II Early Times Mint Julep Stakes on June 17 at Churchill Downs is sponsored by Early Times.

You can also find the Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail at your local retailer. The commemorative bottles have become collectors items for many, capturing the mood and spirit of the famous Churchill Downs track and Kentucky Derby race. If the Early Times Ready-to-Serve Cocktail is not available from your local retailer, you can make your own with this time-honored recipe:

The Early Times Mint Julep Recipe
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Crushed ice
Early Times Kentucky Whisky
Silver Julep Cups
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

All pictures from Kentucky Derby's fickr photostream.

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