The final leg of the Triple Crown takes place this weekend at the Belmont Stakes, but the most recognized race in this 3 part series is the Kentucky Derby, which I attended for the first time this year. I have enjoyed watching the Derby for years and was thrilled to finally experience it live and in person. It lived up to every expectation. Aside from the rich traditions, pomp and circumstance, hats and horses, an undeniable staple of the race is its signature cocktail. The mint julep truly is a quintessential aspect of the race and has been served for generations. I sipped on more than one of these sweet southern concoctions while at the Derby and when I returned home I was inspired and eager to recreate this delicious drink. Below is my wend inspired recipe: the mint julep.
- 2 oz Kentucky bourbon
- 1 oz mint infused simple syrup
- ½ cup sugar in the raw
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp sugar in the raw
- 1 bunch of fresh mint
- Crushed ice
- Highball glass
Note* Mint Juleps are traditionally served in pewter mugs to maintain chill, but I find the drink so pretty, I chose to serve it in a highball to show it off!
- Start by preparing your mint infused simple syrup by combining the water, ½ cup of sugar and ½ of your mint in a sauce pan on medium. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until a syrup consistency forms. You could simply muddle fresh mint and sugar in your glass, but I find the infused simple syrup is a nice added touch.
- Muddle the rest of the mint and 1 tsp of sugar in the glass. I chose to muddle the mint with a lime wedge for added brightness
- Add the simple syrup to taste
- Add the bourbon
- Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir until the glass chills
- Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve
If you’ve never been to the Kentucky Derby, or any horse race for that matter, I highly recommend adding the greatest 2 minutes in sports to your must do list soon. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget. If you plan on attending next year’s race, be sure to check out my first timer’s guide to the Kentucky Derby. Even if you never attend the race, I hope this recipe gives you a small taste of the event that you can enjoy from the comfort of your living room. Wherever you choose to enjoy, cheers and happy wending!
Have you ever attended or watched the derby? What are some of your derby traditions? What’s your favorite aspect of the race? Share your comments below!
*House of Wend reminds you to please drink responsibly.