Derby Day is a drinker's paradise. More specifically, it's a Bourbon drinkers paradise, a time when the brown spirit takes center stage in everyone's cocktail glass. The Mint Julep is, of course, the king of the occasion. It's as easy-drinking an outdoor cocktail if there ever was one. But even old standards like the Bourbon, mint, and sugar classic deserve new life, which is why we sought out these three interpretations. Each is easy to mix and smooth enough to be sipped all day. Just remember: the key to a great Derby drink, like any outdoor cocktail, is ice — a helpful step in staying hydrated when the sun beats down. So load up on the crushed stuff, lest you want to be sent home before the most exciting two minutes in sports even begins. Oh, and bet on American Pharaoh. That's where the money is.
1. Mint Old Fashioned from Jimmy at the James
2 oz. Knob Creek Bourbon
1/4 oz. Grand Marnier
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
Shake and pour into a julep cup or tin over ice. Garnish with an orange twist, mint, and a cherry.
2. Silver Cup by Jim Meehan of PDT
1 3/4 oz Tincup American Whiskey
1/2 oz Lustau Pedro Ximénez Sherry
1/4 oz Peach Street Distillers Peach Brandy
8 mint leaves
In a julep glass, muddle the mint leaves with the sherry, then add the rest of the spirits and pebble ice. Swizzle, then add more pebble ice (forming a mound) and three mint sprigs for garnish. Serve with a steel straw and a smile.
3.Nolet’s Silver Bulleit
1 oz. Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
1 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
Muddle one slice of grapefruit in an old fashioned glass. Add ice and remaining ingredients. Garnish with a grapefruit wheel.