If you are a fan of horse racing and you’ve got a chance to attend the Kentucky Derby, chances are that you already know about the refreshing signature drink at the world’s most popular horse race. Horse racing is full of tradition, especially for big events like the Kentucky Derby which is considered to be the longest uninterrupted horse race in the world.- A Mint Julep
Apart from some exciting horse racing action, the Kentucky Derby is also known for its high-end fashion, as well as incredible food and drinks to keep the fans hydrated during the event.
So, out of all drinks, why did the Mint Julep become the signature drink of the Derby?
Well, let’s learn some history about the Mint Julep and then learn how to prepare it at home. So you can follow Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes betting guide by TwinSpires.com from your couch while sipping this tasty cocktail.
History Of Mint Julep
The Julep wasn’t created as a refreshing beverage. Instead, the julep started as a medicinal concoction that is used for stomach problems. However, this drink quickly turned into a favorite cocktail in the 1700s, with a decidedly elite air, just because not everyone had access to ice or the silver cup in which the drink is served.
Since we are talking about a drink that only the elite can afford, it is not surprising to find out that it became the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby since this is the most prestigious horse race in the world.
Nowadays, there are different recipes for creating the ultimate mint julep, but it all starts with the whiskey. In order to make the original mint Julep, you’ll need bourbon.
There is something magical happening in the chemistry when you mix the fresh spearmint leaves and aged bourbon. Additionally, you have the sweetness of the sugar which helps intensify the flavors of the drink and create the ultimate harmony of flavors.
How It Is Served?
Part of the enjoyment of the Mint Julep goes to the cup that is served. Not only is there a pleasure in the subtle cone shape and polished sterling, but the metal looks great for showcasing that frosty exterior that makes you want to drink the cocktail even faster.
Traditionally, Mint Julep is served in sterling cups, which may be a problem for you to find at your home, but we are sure that you can find some in your local store.
The problem with these cups was that a lot of people decided to steal them during the Derby. This is why Churchill Downs issued cups for sale, which became an instant collectible. You can serve the Mint Julep in a glass cup, but if you want the full experience make sure to get your hands on a beautifully polished silver or pewter cup.
Recipe for Mint Julep
The recipe for the iconic drink of the Kentucky Derby isn’t that difficult and uses common materials that can be found in everyone’s home. The mix of these 3 ingredients creates the perfect refreshing drink for the summer. All you need is:
- Approximately 8 mint leaves for the drink and one or two for garnish
- ¼ ounce simple syrup (or sugar)
- 2 ounces of bourbon
- Crushed ice
How to Make a Mint Julep
First, gather all the ingredients we mentioned before. Then put the mint leaves, and sugar or simple syrup into a julep cup. The next step is to dissolve the sugar and release the aroma and flavors of the mint by crushing the mixture.
Next, all you need to do is add the bourbon and fill the glass with crushed ice. Last stir the mixture until the glass becomes frosty and add an additional mint leaf on the top for garnish. You can follow it in more detail here.
And there you have it. You’ve created the perfect Mint Julep traditionally found at the Kentucky Derby in a few simple steps. Even though this drink might not look complicated, it tastes incredible.