Friday, May 20, 2011

Talk Derby to Me: Mint Juleps and Oaks Lily

"Talk Derby to Me" was the slogan I saw all over Louisville, Kentucky. I considered myself very lucky to be visiting during Kentucky Derby weekend thanks to one of my best buds Gwen who invited me down after we had finished finals. 

We bought general admission tickets for $40 and even though we couldn't actually see the track and couldn't afford an actual seat (tickets range from $300-$500 each), we were excited because we were inside Church Hill Downs on Derby day. We spent most of our time around the Paddock Area, which is where they bring the horses out before each race and a giant tv screen that shows all the races and odds. 
We also went to the infamous infield for 5 minutes, but we were definitely overdressed in our sophisticated dresses and hats. So we pretended we had box seats instead. 
infield madness- this is the clean stuff

I watch the Derby every year on tv with either my family or Ryan. Ryan and I won big a couple years ago on Mine that Bird, but we haven't had any luck since. I have been to horse race track before, Ryan and I like to go to Arlington, (the race track nearest us) at least once during the summer. He's a little intense for me haha. He likes to do all the trifectas and other very complicated bets I never knew even existed. I'm sure this would disappoint my grandpa who would also like these bets and studying the book to look at jockeys and trainers. I like to pick based on the names and the underdogs. 

Of course I bet on the wrong underdog during the Kentucky Derby race yet again. However I actually was able to cash in a little bit on a different race. We were looking through the booklet and my eye caught on a horse named Sassy Image- I just had to bet on it just for the sake of the name alone. When I finally made it up to the counter, there was literally a minute before the race started. I made a $6 bet across the board- which means I make money if the horse places in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Sassy Image was also considered a definite underdog. He had the worst odds 16-1. However, I would make my grandpa proud because I saw that he was good at winning on a wet track, and since it just rained for a half hour I knew I had to put something down.
rain rain go away! 
AND THE RACES WERE OFF! We watched the race on the television immediately after stepping away from the counter. It truly felt like a Seabiscuit or Secretariat moment, sure only $6 was at stake- but for a poor college student that's a couple of drinks. 

Sassy Image came out of no where and placed 1st. None of us could believe it. I had turned a $6 bet into over $50. So even though Animal Kingdom ruined any of my winnings on the actual Derby race- I still considered myself a sassy and classy winner.

I really had a great time and hope to go back again next year. The official drink of the Kentucky Derby is called a mint julep. I am not a fan of hard liquor, so this was not my favorite. This is for you bourbon fans. However, I loved the Kentucky Oaks drink (which is the races the day before the Derby), which is called the Lily. It's kind of like a sweet cosmopolitan. 

So here is how to make the official Kentucky Derby weekend drinks! 

Mint Juleps
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Crushed ice
Early Times Kentucky Whisky
Silver Julep Cups

  1. Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. 
  2. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky.
  3.  Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
Source: Mint Julep
Oaks Lily
1 oz. Finlandia Vodka 
1 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
3 oz. Cranberry Juice
Splash of Triple Sec 

  1. Once the ingredients are mixed, place the Oaks Lily® in a tall glass with crushed ice, add a straw and garnish with an orange wedge and cherry.
Source: Oaks Lily

Derby on!
Chef Maggie 

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