For one Saturday afternoon in May, the world looks away from other sporting events and focuses its eye on the commonwealth of Kentucky for a time-honored tradition: the Kentucky Derby. The 139th running of the roses will bring another packed Churchill Downs full of loud hats and high hopes that their lucky number will come in, bringing with it payday. It is also the only time of year A-list celebrities actually want to come to Kentucky, which brings in numerous galas and a weekend packed with festivities. And of course there’s always a healthy abundance of the drink du jour, the Mint Julep: Bourbon, sugar, mint. But why stop there? Here are a few new variations on this classic cocktail, supplied by some of Kentucky’s finest mixologists.
The Ginger Julep ’68 Fastback
1 .5 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
.5 oz. organic brown sugar
.25 oz. peeled minced fresh ginger
1.5 oz. soda water
1 lemon or lime twist
Muddle the ginger and brown sugar together until all of the sugar is moistened and nearly dissolved. Add a dash of soda to finish dissolving the sugar, stir in your Bourbon. Finish with ice, soda to taste and a lemon or lime twist.
Knob Creek Storyville Julep
(Created by Bobby “G” Gleason, Beam Master Mixologist)
1½ parts Knob Creek Bourbon
½ part thin honey syrup (3 parts honey, 2 parts water)
1½ parts fresh pressed pineapple juice
6 fresh mint leaves
Muddle pineapple, honey syrup and mint in an Old Fashioned glass. Fill with ice, add Knob Creek and stir. Top with club soda. Garnish with a pineapple clip and mint top.
Basil Hayden’s Triple Crown Julep
(Recipe by Joy Perrine – Louisville, KY)
4 parts Basil Hayden’s Bourbon (figure 2 oz.)
4 chopped strawberries
10 Kentucky Colonel or spearmint leaves
4 lemon wedges
1 part water (1/2 oz.)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Muddle brown sugar and water in pint glass until sugar dissolves. Add chopped strawberries, lemon wedges and mint leaves and muddle well. Add Basil Hayden’s and shake. Add ice and shake once again. Strain cocktail over crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig and strawberry.
Ole Smoky Moonshine Mint Julep
2 oz. Ole Smoky Original Moonshine
1 oz. simple syrup
Fresh muddled lime
2-3 sprigs of mint
In a mason jar or silver julep cup muddle two sprigs of mint with simple syrup and 1 ounce of Ole Smoky Original Moonshine, until mint leaves are crushed and give off their liquid. Add remaining moonshine and serve over ice and with a sprig of mint.