How many Mint Juleps are served at The Derby?

22 04 2009

woodford_derbyA friend of mine, who happens to be passionate about horse racing, asked if I could help her with the cocktails for her annual Derby party.  I had no idea why she needed my help as there is only one cocktail that I think would be appropriate for such an event.  Then, she threw a wrench in what was sure to be an easy day for me.  She said that some of her guests didn’t like bourbon.  My first thought was, “let’s not invite them to the party!”  Who doesn’t like a good bourbon?  Given the new challenge, I agreed to make the party something special for her and her guests (bourbon lovers or not!).

The Mint Julep has been a staple at Churchill Downs for well over 100 years.  It’s a simple drink comprised of bourbon, mint, sugar and water.  The only other identifying component is that it must be served with crushed ice.  It’s, most often, served in pewter cups and held from the bottom so that frost will develop on the sides of the cup.  However, after some research, I found that the original recipe didn’t specify that bourbon had to be used.  This was great!  In fact, there have been tons of variations on the traditional julep recipe over the years using vodka and rum.

Being May in South Carolina and the party being held outside on a horse farm, I decided to tap the local flavor for my alternate recipe.  My two variations to be served  on May 2nd are the traditional Mint Julep with Woodford Reserve Bourbon and a Watermelon Julep.  The latter uses Cachaca, watermelon (locally grown if I can get them), sugar, mint and water to make a simple and refreshing cocktail.  I’ll let you know how the variations are received.

So, how many juleps are served at The Derby?  It’s estimated by Early Times that, over a two day period, they will serve well over 120,000 mint juleps, use 10,000 bottles of bourbon, 1,000 pounds of fresh mint and 60,000 pounds of crushed ice.  Now that’s a cocktail!!  Cheers!






One response

22 04 2009
Chris Bostick

Hot Damn that would be large cocktail!! As long as I don’t get any on my seersucker suit.

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