Recipe: Keeneland Breeze

Recipe: Keeneland Breeze

It’s almost time for the Kentucky Derby, a famously short sporting event with a famously long pre-party (and after party for those who can make it that long). The venerable Mint Julep has become the obligatory tipple for the crowds at Churchill Downs and armchair tailgaters across the country, but the Keeneland Breeze, while newer on the cocktail scene, is no less delicious and refreshing. It’s unclear who we have to thank for creating this one, but it has become the signature drink for the Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington, another notable horse racing locale only a little less storied than the Derby’s Churchill Downs.

The drink is simple to make, always a plus for Derby parties (or any party), and it features significantly less booze than your standard Julep, in case you happen to have plans later in the day. While the flavor profile is similar to a Bourbon Ginger well call, the ingredients also highlight a bold citrus component, similar to the Old Fashioned, without having to go through the tedium of simple syrup and muddling. This is achieved with a simple squeeze of fresh orange and a small amount of orange curaçao. While the Keenland version uses DeKuyper, a modest but entirely serviceable brand, you can really elevate this one without digging too far into your wallet with Ferrand’s Dry Curaçao. A quality ginger ale also goes a long way in enhancing this easy summer cocktail.

Keeneland Breeze
1 ¼ oz. bourbon
¼ oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
1 barspoon fresh orange juice
2 oz. ginger ale

Combine bourbon, orange curaçao, and orange juice in a Collins or rocks glass and stir to combine. Add ice, top with ginger ale, stir gently to combine again, and garnish with an orange slice.

Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

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