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A Twist on the Kentucky Derby

For the second time, in the 145 years of the Kentucky Derby, "the most exciting two minutes in sport" it will not be held on the first Saturday in May.  The first time, was after WWII.  The second, which would have been on May 2, will now be rescheduled for Sept 5, 2020 due to the current pandemic.  

While many are fine with this rescheduling, in our household, Derby is a ritual, it is a holiday.  It is an event to dress up for, to pull out the silver and crystal and let us not forget the delicious food ranging from cheese straws to country ham biscuits that the wife prepares. But most importantly, it signifies the start of summer, which means, the first sip of the Derby's most famous cocktail, the Mint Julep.  

The first, printed mention of the drink was in the early 1800's by John Davis  in which he described it as "a dram of spiritous liquor that has mint in it, taken by Virginians in the morning." That spiritous liquor back then, was more than likely rum or brandy.  By the time it was adopted by the Kentucky Derby, the spirit was non other than bourbon.  

Though the derby is postponed, these hot and humid Charleston days insist that the show must go on.  So with that, we are celebrating the first annual "Ctown Derby" where we sit back and watch our two crazy dogs chase each other around the yard.  It may not be as exciting as the Derby but it's guaranteed to last longer than 2 minutes!  We're keeping provisions local.  First up, bourbon and watermelon brandy from High Wire Distillery for our "His and Hers" cocktails as well as some boiled peanuts from Edmunds Oast.  Then to finish off the evening, bbq and hushpuppies from Rodney Scotts.  So without further ado...

His Mint Julep Ingredients
10-12 mint leaves
.5 oz simple syrup
2 oz bourbon
Mint sprig

In the bottom of a mint julep glass, muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup.  Add the bourbon and fill with crushed ice.  Stir with a long bar spoon.  Slap a sprig of mint between your hands and nestle it into the ice beside your straw.  

Her Mint Julep Ingredients
10-12 mint leaves
.5 oz simple syrup
2 oz Watermelon Brandy
Mint sprig

In the bottom of a mint julep glass, muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup.  Add the brandy and fill with crushed ice.  Stir with a long bar spoon.  Slap a sprig of mint between your hands and nestle it into the ice beside your straw.

 *Feel free to add more simple syrup for a sweeter drink.  For more mint flavor, throw some fresh mint sprigs into your simple syrup after you pull it from the heat.  Allow it to infuse for at least 15 minutes, strain and chill.