The traditional way to celebrate the derby is with authentic Kentucky mint juleps.
Start with excellent bourbon. "My great-great-grandaddy made a pretty good bourbon back around 1850, using a high-rye recipe that we based Bulleit Bourbon on," says Bulleit. "We age it about seven years, like any good bourbon should be, and I think it makes wonderful mint julep, but there’s a process you should follow to do it right."
• Bulleit Bourbon Mint Julep
Simple syrup (already prepared): made by mixing equal amounts of sugar and water into a small pot (1 cup sugar and 1 cup water). Heat long enough for sugar to dissolve but not burn. Remove from heat and let cool.
Mint Extract: Remove tender mint leaves. Wash, pat dry and put 30 to 40 leaves in a small mixing bowl and cover with 3 ounces of Bulleit Bourbon. Soak the leaves for at least 15 minutes.
Remove the mint leaves, place in a clean cotton cloth and wring vigorously over the bowl, bruising the leaves. Keep dipping in bourbon (several times) and wringing the leaves so the juice of the mint is dripped back into the bourbon. Set this mint extract aside for at least 1 hour. If you prefer, you can place the mint leaves back in the extract for a more concentrated mint flavor.
Combine the mint extract (leaves included, if preferred) with the simple syrup in a covered glass container or jar and refrigerate overnight. This is the julep mix (enough for approximately 8 drinks) that will blend beautifully with the bourbon.
To serve, fill each julep cup (10-12 oz., preferably silver, but glass will do) with crushed or shaved ice and insert a fresh mint sprig.
Add 1.5 oz. of Bulleit Bourbon per cup. Follow with the marinated julep mixture, adding as much as the palate prefers for a fresh, flavorful libation that knows no equal!
• Bulleit Bourbon Lemonade
Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ oz. of Bulleit Bourbon
Mix ingredients together and serve over ice with lemon peel or wedge
• Bulleit Crusier
1 ½ oz. Bulleit Bourbon
¾ Mint Syrup
¾ oz. Pineapple Syrup
6 orange slices
4 oz. Fresh Sweet 'n Sour
Mix all the ingredients, serve over ice and garnish with orange slice.
For more bourbon info visit: www.bulleitbourbon.com