It's the first weekend in May and you know what that means? Kentucky Derby! It's nice to be back to normal...somewhat. I know we still had a September Derby last year but it wasn't the same. There's something about that first celebratory mint julep to kick off the start of the Triple Crown and porch cocktail season.
To celebrate, we're switching up the booze (feel free to still use bourbon in these recipes) and topping everything off with Champagne! His cocktail is a little richer tasting and fancier thanks to the cognac. Her cocktail is a little more summery with a riff on a mojito. Both are easy to make and a delight to drink.
So pick your favorite horse, your preferred liquor and pop open the Champagne because we're off to the races!
His Cocktail - Champagne Julep
1/2 oz Cognac (Pierre Ferrand)
3 oz dry Champagne/sparkling wine
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
6-7 mint leaves plus extra for garnish
In a Julep cup, lightly muddle the mint and simple syrup together. Add the cognac, champagne, bitters and fill half way with ice. Stir and add more crushed ice to mound. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Her Cocktail - Old Cuban
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
6-7 mint leaves
1 1/2 oz rum (Appleton Estate)
2 dashes Angostura
2 oz dry Champagne/sparkling wine
In a Julep cup, lightly muddle the lime juice, mint and simple syrup. Add the rum, bitters, champagne and fill half way with crushed ice. Stir and add more crushed ice to mound. Garnish with a mint sprig.Crushed Ice
If you forgot to grab a bag of crushed ice from the store, pull out your food processor. Throw in some ice out of the freezer and give it a few good pulses. It might not be as fancy as hand smashing ice cubes in a Lewis bag, but it sure is a lot quicker and easier to make. If your ice starts to melt, give it a quick drain before packing your julep cups.