Get your giant hats and fancy clothes ready for the most exciting two minutes in sports – the Kentucky Derby. The famed horse race is taking place today, and features new unique names such as Hoppertunity, Vicar’s in Trouble, Harry’s Holiday, and Uncle Sigh. In honor of the race, host your own Kentucky Derby viewing party, and stir up some of these recipes that are sure to please, starting with the derby classic: the mint julep. Nearly 120,000 mint juleps are served each year at the racetrack, and the classic drink is easy enough to make at home with five ingredients.
If you are swept up in racetrack fervor, head over to Belmont Park, which opened for the season on the first of May. Riders of the Long Island Rail Road can show their train ticket to get $1 off of admission at the Grandstand. For details about the trains that can get you to the race, click here. The Belmont Stakes will be rolling into town on Saturday, June 7, but until then get your horse-racing fill by watching the derby and cooking up some of these great southern-inspired drinks and dishes!
The Early Times Mint Julep (official drink of the Kentucky Derby)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- Sprigs of fresh mint
- Crushed ice
- Early Times Kentucky Bourbon (or bourbon of your choice)
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Bourbon. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
Hot Brown Smasher
- 1 lb. roasted turkey breast
- 8 slices applewood smoked bacon
- 1 cup Mornay sauce (recipe below)
- 4 thick tomato slices
- 8 slices Texas toast
Place 4 oz. sliced turkey on one piece of Texas toast and top with a slice of tomato, ¼ cup Mornay sauce and two pieces of bacon. Place second piece of Texas toast on top. In a hot skillet or sandwich press, heat up sandwich until bread is golden brown. Slice in half and serve immediately. Repeat to make four sandwiches.
- Frozen tea biscuits
- Thin slices of country ham
- Flavored butter and mustard blends
For a Derby Day classic, bake frozen tea biscuits, and fill with thin slices of country ham that have been browned in a hot skillet 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Have guests dress biscuits with flavored butter and mustard blends.
- 5 sprigs fresh mint
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 teaspoons
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 ounce dark (80 percent cacao) chocolate square
- 1 teaspoon peppermint oil
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 3 teaspoons bourbon
In a small bowl, muddle mint leaves with 2 teaspoons granulated sugar. Allow to stand for a minimum of 4 hours and preferably overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 8- by 8-inch square pan generously with butter, then dust with flour. Remove mint leaves from sugar. Using a hand held electric mixer, cream together sugar, cream cheese, and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs to mixture one at a time, mixing until completely combined. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into the wet mixture, stirring until batter is smooth. Taking two small medium bowls, melt chocolate square in the first bowl and fill with half the batter, mixing to combine. Place the remainder of the batter in second bowl, then mix in peppermint oil. Pour chocolate batter in pan, followed by mint batter. Drag a butter knife in a zigzag pattern to marbleize the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Once cooled, sift confectioners sugar into a small bowl. Add in bourbon and whisk until smooth. Pour glaze over brownies and allow to cool. Serve immediately. Makes 24 servings.
- 2 large lemons
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 pie crusts
Slice the lemons as thinly as possible, complete with rinds. A mandoline is perhaps the best tool to ensure very thin slices. Cover the lemon slices with the sugar and mix, taking care not to crush the fruit. Leave to stand overnight. Add the beaten eggs and stir. Use one pie crust to line a 9-inch pie plate. Arrange the lemon slice mixture in the pie base and cover with the second pastry crust. Make a few slits in the pie crust for any air to escape. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes.