If you want to class up your Derby party, you could make up a batch of juleps using Woodford Reserve, and if you wish, show off the official limited-edition liter-size commemorative bottle featuring the artwork of popular illustrator Michael Schwab.
While you can still occasionally see a special commemorative bottle on the shelves of your local liquor store, I personally miss all the tacky whiskey and scotch bottles that my parents used to decorate our rec room. We had a bottle of Wild Turkey shaped like the Louisiana Superdome, and I seem to remember a bottle of tequila that resembled a pistol. Do any of you all have any wonderfully hideous bottles that you remember or would be willing to share?
The folks at Bulleit Bourbon also want to help you prepare for Derby Day, so they've offered up two versions of the traditional julep recipe:
The Ginger Julep ’68 Fastback
o 1 ½ oz. Ginger Infused Bulleit Bourbon
o ½ oz. Organic Brown Sugar
o ¼ oz. Peeled Minced Fresh Ginger
o 1 ½ oz. Soda Water
o 1 Lemon or Lime Twist
Directions: Muddle the ginger and brown sugar together until all of the sugar is moistened and nearly dissolved. Add a dash of soda to finish dissolving the sugar, stir in your Bourbon. Finish with ice, soda to taste and a lemon or lime twist.
Why we love it: The Ginger Julep ’68 Fastback brings a warm, gentle heat to the julep cocktail family with an invigorating ginger kick and splash of lime zest.
If the idea of a ginger julep is a little too extreme for you, the tried and true mint julep is a tradition that will make you smell the bluegrass. It's even better if you have a silver julep cup to serve it in, but in a pinch any glassware will do.
Except for a red solo cup. This isn't a college football game. This is the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, so don't go all Toby Keith on us.
The Bulleit Rye Mint Julep
o 1 1/3 oz. Bulleit Rye
o 1 ½-2 oz. Stirrings Simple Syrup
o Fresh mint leaves
Directions: Muddle mint leaves, Stirrings Simple Syrup and crushed ice in rocks glass. Add Bulleit Rye and fill glass with ice. Pour into cocktail shaker, shake vigorously and serve in rocks glass with fresh mint garnish.
Why we love it: The mint julep has been the refreshing spring cocktail icon of the Kentucky Derby since 1938, proving its test of time as a classic and distinguished recipe.