You don’t need to be at Churchill Downs to have a proper Kentucky Derby party — you can celebrate the most exciting two minutes in sports wherever you are with these race day drinks. Whether you’re hosting a whole crew of friends or planning a solo viewing sesh, don your craziest hat, place your bets (are you cheering for Tacitus, War of Will, Gray Magician?) and mix yourself a good luck sip. Just make sure you’re ready ahead of time —Louisville will get loud at 6:50pm on Saturday, May 4th — you might miss the whole thing if you’re busy making cocktails.
Giddy Up Julep
This special black currant version of the standard Mint Julep is pleasantly sweet without being overpowering, thanks to the Cassis liqueur and the homemade mint-infused simple syrup. It’s light, refreshing and appropriately festive (with a tiny twist) — you might just want to mix up a second one, especially if your Thoroughbred loses. If you don’t want to make yours at home, you can find this sipper at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen’s Derby Party.
- 1.5 ounces Maker’s Mark Bourbon
- .5 ounces Giffard Cassis Noir de Bourgogne (or any good Cassis liqueur)
- .5 ounces mint simple syrup (blanch & shock fresh mint, blend in 1 package mint per quart of simple syrup, strain and chill)
- 1/4 ounce fresh lemon
Combine ingredients in mixing tin, shake and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprig and blackberry on a pick.
Short Path Distillery is located off of Santilli Highway in Everett, and they pay tribute to the name whenever they can (as do their neighbors at Night Shift Brewing who make a beer called Santilli). If you want to celebrate the local crafters, beyond using their whiskey in your drink, come to their Kentucky Derby party on Saturday, May 4th, where they’ll unveil their first-ever bourbon! The Santilli Smash won’t be on the menu — which is just as well since you know how to make it at home now — but there will be plenty of other special bourbon cocktails, eats from Da Bomb food truck and live music on the patio — buy your tickets here.
- 2 ounces Short Path Distillery Whiskey
- 3/4 ounces ginger syrup
- Muddled lemon, mint and rosemary
- Club soda
Muddle 1 lemon wedge, 6 mint leaves and 1 rosemary spring in a shaker with ginger syrup. Add whiskey and shake until chilled. Strain into a highball and top with club soda. Garnish with rosemary sprig.
The Willis Brothers are the masterminds behind Bully Boy Distillers (you might know their other brother, Chris, as the chef-owner of Pammy’s). Their whiskey has a bourbon-like overtone with a spicy undertone to create a delicate balance, and the spirit’s natural caramel notes are complemented by the citrus-y grapefruit and lime juices in this bevvy. You can try this one on your own or learn how to make it (plus two others) firsthand at The Row Hotel in Assembly Row on Wednesday, May 1st. Snag your spot.
- 2 ounces Bully Boy American Straight Whiskey
- 1 ounces grapefruit juice
- 3/4 ounces honey syrup
- 1/2 ounces lime juice
Combine ingredients, shake and pour into your serving glass of choice.