Greetings, Michigan Faithful! It's the most wonderful time without college sports of the year. I'm talking, of course, about the Derby. For your unbiased coverage, check out And Down The Stretch They Come - this is their Super Bowl, and I love this SBN site. To get us into the right frame of mind for 6:24 PM, the fastest two minutes in sports, we're gonna play a little game I call Classy or Not Classy. I give you five links, you guess either Classy or Not Classy. Ready to play?
Then let's plaaaay.... Classy or Not Classy!
Answers right after the Jump!
1) Classy 2) Not Classy 3) Classy 4) Classy 5) Not Classy 6) Cookies
Now that we're good and ready, it's time for Maize n Brew's annual coverage (See? Last year departed from tradition, this year we're making it - or, PreachinToTheChoir, is it Maize n Mash?) of Kentucky Derby Drinking! That's right. Today I'm going to review a famous Mint Julep recipe, suggest one of my own, and then direct you to a beer that, of course, tastes just like bourbon. Put on your floppy hats and chinos and come with me, Michigan Faithful.
The Recipe They Want You To Use
2 Cups sugar
2 Cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Early Times Kentucky Bourbon
Silver Julep Cups
No Derby Party is complete without the Mint Julep which has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century. Each year, almost 120,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. This is 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.
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 Bourbon. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
Alright, Churchill Downs. I'm going to look past your obvious sponsor-whorishness by using Early Times instead of Maker's Mark for one second, and I'm going to try your recipe. Ha-ha! I'm going to use Maker's anyway! Okay. I agree with all that stuff at the beginning. It's numbers. Whatever. But don't use Early Times. It's too harsh. The simple syrup? It's not awful. A tad sweet and not very minty for my taste, but that's probably because Early Times sucks. Okay, the end of this isn't bad. But you're missing the powdered sugar! Where's the bourbon on bourbon syrup?
Okay, I've had three of these, and meh. It's alright. I guess if you were trapped in a room with this and it was your only way out, I'd recommend drinking it wholeheartedly. If someone hands it to you, drink it. Duh. But I'm telling you, this is like going home with the sure thing at the bar rather than shooting for that perfect 10 that's likely also a sure thing BECAUSE YOU'RE DRINKING MAKER'S MARK, NOT EARLY TIMES.
The Recipe That's Actually Perfect
This is a top-secret RB-family recipe that's been passed down from generation to generation. Seriously, I defy you to find a better recipe.
- Copious amounts of Maker's Mark
- Fresh spearmint leaves
- Confectioner's sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Seltzer water (optional)
- Small crushed ice cubes (or make it yourself with a pick)
- Silver mint julep cups (or just a chilled glass)
First, we need to do a bit of prep work for the syrup. Take about half your mint leaves (20+ is preferable), put them in a glass or bowl, and pour about two spoonfuls of granulated sugar over them. Then use a wooden spoon or similar to muddle the leaves and sugar. Coat with roughly two swigs (oh, I don't know, 4 ounces?) of Maker's Mark and let sit in the sunlight for the early afternoon, or at least a half-hour. Then strain the mixture so you basically have sweetened minty bourbon.
Next, prepare ye the glass. Put a few mint leaves in the bottom and muddle them with your thumb. Fill it 3/4 of the way up with the crushed ice, then pour as much bourbon as you'd like into it but leave a tiny bit of ice at the top peeking out (you can also go halfsies with seltzer water for a lighter drink, but you won't find that blasphemy here). Add a dash (a spoon or two) of your syrup, stir gently, then lightly dust the top parts of the ice with confectioner's sugar. Again, only a spoon or two. It'll look perfect. Garnish with another sprig of mint, and you're good to go.
It's basically that with a tad of white snowy sugar on top. Delicious.
Just do it. Don't mess around with anything else. It's well worth your time. Cheers, Michigan Faithful! Enjoy the Derby!