Kentucky Derby Memory Lane & a Proper Mint Julep
I'm gonna take you on a little trip down memory lane today.
Seven years ago, a girl was invited to a Mint Julep flowing, Kentucky derby themed pool party at a Tampa apartment complex where all the post college grads flocked. I know what you're thinking; the Kentucky Derby and pool parties really don't coincide. I share your sentiments. But nonetheless, it happened. The girl was wading in the pool, right at the edge of the steps, sipping on (ok, more like choking down) a mint julep...in a red solo cup, no less.
Girl looks up as a boy has walked toward her, pointing in her direction. Boy confidently...maybe even the slightest bit arrogantly, requests her partnership at the beer pong table that's actually inhabited by a separate party at this bustling, often debaucherous pool. Girl obliges with no hesitation because frankly, boy is all sorts of tan, sandy blonde, blue-eyed, and toned in all the right places. Boy and girl win the game and not too longer after, share their first kiss - no first date included. Perhaps girl was a bit of a hussy on this day but alas, boy and girl are now happily married.
And there you have it. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I still can't believe what it led to. We shared no mutual friends; for he was a total stranger, as I was to him. I guess it was fate, though I only half-heartedly believe in that kinda thing.
I've never been to to the Kentucky Derby though I ought to go. My uncle lives just minutes from Churchill Downs and races horses himself. I do love the Southern heritage that goes with the day though I'm not obsessed with the actual horse racing part (Shhh, don't tell my uncle that). And while I didn't love Mint Juleps - or anything containing whiskey or bourbon 7 years ago, I absolutely love a "man's drink" today.
Prim and proper in a Spring dress and floppy hat, sipping on a drink that's muddled with my favorite herb? Well, I can't think of a better way to celebrate the day Chris and I met. Actually, I can. Because Chris and I are currently on vacation in Maui - sipping on Mai Tais and appreciating this wonderment of an island.
My standard recipe for a Mint Julep is below though you can find a Blackberry version I created a couple of years ago right here. The dress is on sale at Urban Outfitters right now (less than $40!) and the floppy hat is a steal at $22 from Nordstrom.
Proper Mint Julep
3 ounces Kentucky Bourbon
1-2 ounces Simple Syrup (depending how sweet you like it)
6 mint leaves
1) Run soda water over the exterior of a silver cup or rocks glass. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from freezer just before preparing the julep.
2) Place mint leaves at the bottom of the glass along with 1/2 ounce of simple syrup. Lightly muddle. Do NOT beat up your mint. Add finely crushed ice (use a mallet if need be) on top until it's almost overflowing from the cup
3) Pour Bourbon on top. Add another 1/2 ounce (or full ounce if you want it sweet) simple syrup. Garnish with mint bouquet.