I know this is a wine blog, but humour me for a moment. I live in Kentucky (even if only barely across the border). I’m usually not overly supportive of my state, but I am a horse lover and a lover of the races. There is no race more exciting to me than the Kentucky Derby. I’ve been to the Derby a few times and now I generally watch from home or a party, as Grandstand tickets are pricey and the "infield" just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. There have been very few years when I haven’t put on a hat for the race even if I’m sitting at home in my bathrobe. You can’t have Derby Day without a lovely, floral hat.
The other great component about Derby Day is the bourbon. Kentucky bourbon comes in all forms, from very rough to very smooth. My two favorites are Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve. I’ve visited the Maker’s distillery, and I assume the Woodford distillery is similar. Those distilleries proved something to me I hadn’t known before. The Kentucky landscape, once you get out of the cities, is truly gorgeous. There’s something just very "kentucky" about both Woodford and Maker’s. Can you have terroir in bourbon?
I know Mint Juleps are the drink of the day for Derby. Have you ever had a Mint Julep? It’s not the best tasting drink. Have you ever made a real Mint Julep? Making a true Mint Julep is a pain, as it involves your stovetop.
Therefore, I stick with bourbon slush. The key to a good bourbon slush is the type of bourbon you buy. As I mentioned, I prefer Maker’s and Woodford. I find Maker’s to be a little rough, but it has a pleasant sweetness about it. It’s not one that I can drink on the rocks, although I have many friends who do. Woodford is not quite as sweet, but is incredibly smooth. I can drink Woodford on the rocks, which surprised me.
Don’t forget to watch the Kentucky Derby at 5 pm on Saturday. At the moment I think I’m cheering for "Lawyer Ron." However, I’ve got 3 horse racing shows on my Tivo that I need to get through before the race tomorrow so that I can semi-accurately judge my picks. Not that there really is accuracy in this sort of thing. I tend to pick based on the jockey I like + a horse with a great name. Best of luck to you!
Recipe for Bourbon Slush after the jump.
I got this recipe from my friend Kate, and it is by far the best slush I have tasted or made. I tend to make it the night before a party to ensure a good amount of slushiness.
Kate’s Bourbon Slush
Step 1: Tea
2 1/2 cups boiling water
2 peach tea bags
1 cup sugar
Combine the boiling water and tea bags.
Once the tea is set, remove the bags and pourinto a large plastic container. (There must be room for the tea to expand once in the freezer.)
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
Step 2: Those yummy flavors
6 cups cold water
1 large can, frozen lemonade
1 small can, frozen orange juice
2 cups Kentucky bourbon (I tend to add just a little more for fun)
Add remaining ingredients to the tea.
Stir until all ingredients are well blended.
Freeze in plastic container, covered, for 6 to 8 hours, sometimes longer depending on your freezer. Spoon into glasses and top off with Sprite or 7Up.
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