Derby Week Events and Tastings

April 25th 3-6PM Angel’s Envy Bottle Engraving-LiquorBarn Springhurst
April 25th 6-7:30PM 2014 Woodford Reserve Bottle Signing by local artist, David Schuster LiquorBarn Springhurst
April 25th 7:00PM Racing With The Spirits $40 per person, food and drink included
April 26th 6:30PM The Bardstown Sampler $50 per person, Black Tie
April 29th 6:30PM Kentucky Bourbon Tasting Experience $200 per person
April 30th 4:30PM Four Roses tasting at the Great Steamboat Race
May 1st 6:30PM Open Bottle Night Whiskey and Wine Tasting Westport Whiskey and Wine

The Mint Julep

This famous cocktail has been associated with the Derby since 1938. There are many variations of the Mint Julep recipe. Some call for simple syrup. Some say don’t muddle the mint but use it only as a garnish. I prefer the most traditional method  which goes like this…

  • 1 big tsp of sugar
  • 4 or 5 sprigs of mint
  • 3 oz or so of your favorite bourbon
  • shaved or crushed ice

Start with a julep cup or a tall glass. (any 12oz glass should work)

Put the sugar, a little bourbon and the mint in a mixing glass. Muddle the mint and sugar then let it sit for a minute or two. The mint will release its flavor into the sugar and bourbon. Strain it into your julep cup, collins glass, mason jar or red dixie cup (we don’t judge.) Wiggle the glass around to coat the sides. Fill it with ice and pour the rest of the bourbon in. Gently stir. Sprinkle a little more sugar on top if you’d like and garnish with a sprig of mint. If you’re patient, wait a minute and frost should form on the outside of the glass.

There is a ritual to it, for sure. if you haven’t already, read this letter from Lt. Gen. Simon Buckner, Jr to Major Gen. William Connor regarding ‘the ritual.’

The other mint julep option is the premix. Of the approximately 120,000 mint juleps consumed at the track on Derby Day, most of them will be from a premix made from Early Times Kentucky Whiskey, not bourbon. Sacrilege!!! If you insist on using a premix, go with a non-alcoholic brand. They usually consist of a simple syrup infused with mint. Just add bourbon and ice.

For other Derby cocktail ideas, check out the Kentucky Derby Libations site.

Derby Party Essentials

Whether you are hosting a Derby party or visiting Louisville and wondering how to fully engage all of your senses, here is your guide for preparing (or just enjoying) the classics.

Bourbon Glaze

This is a recipe for my favorite bourbon glaze. You have to try this one out. Not only is it awesomely delicious, it only takes half a tablespoon of bourbon per serving which leaves more for drinking…

  • 2 tbsp Mustard (come on and get fancy..use a dijon mustard)
  • 1 tsp Packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of your favorite bourbon

Thoroughly mix the mustard, sugar and bourbon. Season your favorite grilling meat with salt and pepper to taste. Rub on the glaze. Grill to perfection. Pour the remaining glaze over the meat. Makes enough for two big chops, steaks or chicken breasts. You should definitely double or triple the recipe.

Bourbon Balls

Bourbon Balls are one of my favorites not only during Derby but Christmas as well. Try this recipe from The Derby Museum.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Man, do I love pecan pie. But everything is better with a little bourbon. Warning, the images on this Garden and Gun Bourbon Pecan Pie post will induce hunger.

Derby Pie

Kern’s Kitchen owns the trademark for Derby Pie®. So if you want the authentic frozen Derby Pie, it’s available for sale in every grocery store in Louisville. If you want to try your hand at it, Phyllis Richman’s “Not Derby Pie” recipe is going to get you very close. * It doesn’t contain bourbon but there’s nothing to stop you from having a glass with your slice…

Issue #2 – Weekly Reader

The Latest from Bourbon Country

Bourbon Authors Assemble! // kybourbontrail

Seven of the country’s most prestigious Bourbon authors will be featured at evening receptions during the Kentucky Bourbon Affair to talk about their books, sign autographs and discuss America’s only native spirit.

Bourbon’s Masters of the Craft // dining-wine.nytimes

In 2007, our top bourbons had plenty of age, at least eight years for most and 20 for the top-ranked Pappy Van Winkle. This time, none of our top 10 included an age statement.

Kentucky’s Bourbon Craze Continues // yahoo

Even the old guard established distilleries are experimenting with new mash bills and aging processes to satisfy a world that’s thirsty for great bourbon.

Can Don Draper sell bourbon? // wsj

Woodford Reserve, launched its first-ever TV campaign during the season debut of “Mad Men” on Sunday.

Jim Beam Fills 13 millionth Barrel // chuckcowdery

This recent success is a testament to the craft and heritage of ‘America’s Native Spirit’ – Fred Noe, Master Distiller

Taste: Old Forester Single Barrel, Party Mart selection // thebourbonbabe

Taste: Not as sweet as the nose, but still nice. Butterscotch, some char and white pepper, and some nuttiness from the barrel – maybe it’s the pecan on top of the bourbon ball.

Issue #1 – Weekly Bourbon Reader

“Be wary of strong drink, it can make you shoot at the tax collector…and miss.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

Thanks for taking the time to read the very first Bourbon Newsletter. We hope to provide informative and entertaining news from Bourbon Country and around the web for those who have a taste for one of Kentucky’s greatest legacies and America’s only native spirit!

This is our first issue and we’d appreciate any feedback. In the future, it will have a more polished look and feel in addition to new features. What else would you bourbon drinkers like to see on a weekly basis? Bourbon prices around town? New products? Tasting events? Please, reply with any thoughts.

This week, we’re focusing on bourbon’s economic impact in the state. Next week we’ll turn our attention to the Kentucky Derby and bourbon’s huge presence in Louisville’s biggest celebration.


This Week’s News

How Wild Turkey is capitalizing on the bourbon boom // cnbc

On a global scale, American distillers exported $1 billion worth of bourbon and whiskey last year; that’s nearly triple the value of exports a decade prior.

Whiskey, bourbon boosts Kentucky forest industry // usatoday

The growing popularity of bourbon and whiskey worldwide is helping to bring back Kentucky’s forest and wood-products industry from the recession that caused it to tank in 2009

Young entrepreneurs blazing a path in East Ky.  // floydcountytimes

“It’s not just about making a product,” Endicott notes, “It’s about telling a story that needs to be told and creating a moonshine and bourbon that is clean and simple, the way moonshine and bourbon used to be made, with Organic and non-GMO grains.”

Sazerac plans $71 million expansions at 3 Kentucky distilleries // kentucky

“To see not one, not two, but three iconic distilleries expand their operations shows the world’s taste for bourbon is soaring” – Gov. Steve Beshear

Buffalo Trace to Expand, Hire 40 // state-journal

Buffalo Trace Distillery will add 40 full-time jobs in the next two to three years and gain an 83,000-square-foot warehouse distribution center, the distillery’s parent company, Sazerac, announced Wednesday.

Why Kentucky should support the bourbon industry // insiderlouisville

What maple syrup is to Vermont, wine is to California, orange juice is to Florida, and cheese is to Wisconsin, bourbon whiskey is to Kentucky.

Bourbon industry booming // state-journal

“Despite an economic recession that’s hampered growth in other areas, Kentucky’s bourbon distilleries have expanded at a pace not seen since Prohibition” – Gov. Steve Beshear

Whiskey barrel production is saving Kentucky’s economy // punchdrink

The 2008 economic crisis hit everyone hard, including bourbon country. But, according to Louisville’s Courier-Journal, the current global obsession with bourbon is raising Kentucky from its economic slump.