Featuring “The Queen Julep” Just in Time for The Kentucky Derby

Contributed photo
The Kentucky Derby in action! (Contributed photo)
On the first Saturday in May since 1946 (the Derby actually debuted in 1875), thousands of revelers have graced the infield at Churchhill Downs to place bets on the fastest horse, go cow tippin’, don their fanciest hat and sip on mint juleps at the infamous Kentucky Derby. In fact, more than 80,000 onlookers are expected this weekend to experience the pageantry and tradition of the 141st “Run for the Roses” live in Louisville.
Though I’ve never personally been to a race, (I would LOVE to go one of these days), I’ll be celebrating from a far with mint julep in hand — and thanks to Charlotte, North Carolina Mixologist Bob Peters, I’ll be sippin’ in style.
Bob Peters doing what he does at The Punch Room in Charlotte, NC.
Bob Peters doing what he does at The Punch Room in Charlotte, NC. (Contributed photo)

Peters uses one of my favorite bourbons, Bulleit Rye, to make this sugar spirit-water cocktail. I use the same stuff to create the ultimate Blackberry Smash. An award-winning cocktail master, he’s the head bartender at Charlotte’s newest hot-spot, The Punch Room, nestled on the 15th floor of the Ritz-Carlton.

With a mere four ingredients, you’ll be glad you made this drink at home. Word on the street is, one mint julep at the races will cost you $8 a pop.

The Queen Julep by Head Mixologist Bob Peters (Contributed photo)

The Queen Julep
Recipe by Punch Room Head Mixologist Bob Peters

  • 1.33 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz. simple syrup
  • 0.5 oz. Fernet Branca Menta (A mint-flavored liqueur)
  • 8 fresh mint leaves, muddled
    Muddle mint leaves in a shaker. Pour Bulleit Bourbon, simple syrup and Fernet Branca Menta into shaker with ice and shake. Double strain and pour over crushed ice in a julep cup. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.For more surprising nuggets, check out “Kentucky Derby by the Numbers: Fun Facts to Know” to learn just how many hot dogs will be consumed at the races, and how much locally grown mint it takes to mix up more than 120,000 mint juleps!
Just for Fun
I couldn’t pass up sharing these two fun facts from Newsday.com:
  • Thousands of elegantly dressed women will grace Churchill Downs on Saturday. The endless lines for the ladies’ room will resemble runways during fashion week.
  • Southern hospitality surrenders shamelessly to greed on Derby weekend, when you can pay at least $300 a night for a Louisville motel room that costs $55 any other time.
Are you attending the races this weekend? Who are you pulling for? Let’s go American Pharoah!

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