Celebrate Happy Hour today with a mint julep as you watch the 137th Kentucky Derby at 6 p.m. ET (the feature stories begin at 4 p.m.). The mint julep has been the “unofficial” official drink at the Derby since 1938.
Make it more fun by dressing up like the 150,000 fans at Churchill Downs—or at least wear a fancy hat—as you enjoy your cocktail and the race.
The race track, in Louisville, Kentucky, was named for brothers John and Henry Churchill, who leased the land to their nephew, then president of the Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association. “Downs” is a British term for gently rolling hills.
Called the fastest two minutes in sports, the first leg of the Triple Crown is only 1-1/4 miles.
But back to the cocktails:
The ingredients of a mint julep are simple: bourbon, mint, sugar and crushed or shaved ice—similar to a Mojito, which uses rum instead of bourbon. The gentry served their mint juleps in silver or pewter cups, but a tall glass does just fine.
The drink originated in the South in the 18th century, and was also made with genever, aged gin. “Julep” is a Middle English term for a sweet drink, derived between 1350 and 1400 C.E. from the Arabic julab, which referred to rose water.
Check out these two mint julep recipes.
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