This upcoming weekend kicks off the summer partying scene with Cinco de Mayo parties all over the country but there’s also another event worth celebrating this weekend that honors all things southern. The “greatest two minutes in sports” gives you an excuse to wear a ridiculous bonnet with feathers, tulle, and more while sipping on a traditional drink, the mint julep. Bad bets and thoroughbred racehorses aside, the 139th Annual Kentucky Derby is reason to celebrate with these events, drink specials, and snacks.
BarCrawls.com's Kentucky Derby Party:
Held at McFadden’s Saloon, the Kentucky Derby Party features food and drink specials happening from 2pm until 9pm. Tickets are $10 or purchase the Derby de Mayo All Access Pass for $15, With an All Access Pass you can hit up both the Kentucky Derby Party and the Cinco de Mayo party held at Public House. Check out Bar Crawls' website for the full lineup and details of all the great events going down this weekend, including a Cinco de Mayo bar crawl on Sunday afternoon. All events are 21+
Not located in NYC? Bar Crawls has events this weekend in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, DC, Hoboken, and Morristown, NJ.
Gotham Bar & Grill's Mint Julep:
Gotham Bar & Grill has teamed up with Black Maple Hill Bourbon, a small-batch, top-batch bourbon to make the ultimate Southern classic, the mint julep. Black Maple Hill Bourbon is bottled in small batches straight from Bardston, Kentucky’s Heaven Hill Distilleries and aged in oak casks. Kentucky's favorite libation has been associated with the Kentucky Derby since around 1938 and annually over Derby day there are an estimated 120,000 mint juleps consumed at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby. Served in a classic tin cup, this hard to find, limited supply bourbon will be offered to diners throughout the day of races.
Want to make your own? You’ll need:
3 sprigs of mint
2 oz. Black Maple Hill Bourbon
.5 oz. Simple Syrup
In a julep cup (or a highball glass) muddle 2 sprigs of mint with the simple syrup. Fill cup ¾ full with crushed ice. Add bourbon. Stir. Then fill remaining glass with crushed ice and a sprig of mint.
Devils on Horseback:
These little nuggets are on menus all over the city. With their unforgettable names and their delicious taste, devils on horseback are the perfect treat to serve guest while you’re watching the races. Stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, these dates bring finger foods to the next level. Making your own a whole lot easier than trying to name a race horse something witty, here’s Martha Stewart’s recipe:
24 large dates, pitted
12 slices bacon, halved crosswise
1/3 cup crumbled Stilton cheese (bleu or goat cheese are also good alternatives)
Preheat oven to 400°. Place 24 toothpicks in a small bowl filled with water; let soak 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fit with a wire rack; set aside.
Halve dates lengthwise being careful not to cut all the way through. Place a small amount of cheese in the center of each date. Wrap a piece of bacon around each date. Secure bacon with a toothpick.
Place dates on prepared baking sheet. Bake until bacon is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.
Butter & Scotch’s Mint Julep Cream Pie:
Can’t get enough minty bourbon goodness? Head to Brooklyn Flea to get a slice, or full pie ($38), at Butter & Scotch’s stand. The girls behind Butter & Scotch specialize in boozy baked goods and their Derby-inspired pie is an all-butter crust filled with a rich mint and Maker Mark’s bourbon custard and a whipped cream topping. You can order a pie direct from their website as well, 48 hours in advance, to be picked up at Smorgasborg in Williamsburg at Kent Ave. and North 7th Street and on Sunday in Dumbo at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Mint Julep Cupcakes:
Courtesy of The Baker Chick, these boozy cupcakes are filled with bourbon and the perfect size to nibble on all day during the races—espcially if you can't make it down to Brooklyn Flea to scoop up a Butter & Scotch pie.
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspooon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure mint extract
2 3/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup of bourbon (plus extra for tops of the cakes)
2 sticks butter, softened
4-6 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/4 cup of milk or cream
mint leaves for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 350°, line 24 cupcake tins with liners and set aside. In a small bowl, combine salt, baking powder, and 1 3/4 cups of the flour. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, and extracts in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Add the milk and bourbon to the batter, and then the remaining flour (1 cup). Don't over-mix! Divide batter equally amongst the 24 tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool. Once cool, prick the tops of each cake with a fork and brush tops with bourbon.) For Frosting: Whip the butter until creamy and pale. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until thick and paste-like. (You may not need all 6 cups.) Add the extract and bourbon and then the milk- 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting is thick and creamy. Add additional powdered sugar or milk if the frosting is too wet or dry. Swirl or pipe frosting onto cupcakes and garnish with a mint leaf or straw. (Optional.)