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Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Derby Day!

While scrolling through the internet, searching for mother's day gifts, I came across one of Amazon's featured sales: "Brilliant Options for the Kentucky Derby", and I thought to myself, "oh, when is that?" Then I started googling "Kentucky Derby" and found the official website

This tradition is incredibly striking to me: It's a 141-year old event that still inspires "old school" class and polished manners. In an age where the importance on such things have been lessened, guests attend dressed in their Sunday Best and casually sip refreshing southern cocktails. In my mind, I picture refined men and women in stylized, yet tasteful, dress. I see women in large hats and men in seersucker suits, expensive handbags and sunglasses. I see the traditional, saturated colors of Churchill Downs: green and red. I can see the roses and lilies. I imagine the throngs of people, leisurely strolling the pathways, among the horses, red roses, and jockeys, sipping traditional Mint Juleps. It's a day that seems just elegant to me. 

Maybe what I'm picturing is a far cry from how things truly are on race day. Perhaps I'm only imagining how things may have been decades ago, when Churchill Downs was shiny and new. I think of so many arena events I've been to. They've been so glamorized, that I'm disappointed when I arrive to a dirty stadium, and then promptly get surrounded by rude spectators... granted all my arena events have been sporting events like baseball, basketball, and football... so... different crowd. But, horse racing may be different. It certainly seems so, from the little I've read. I wouldn't truly know because it's not something I grew up with. Maybe one day I'll get to go and see for myself what the Kentucky Derby's atmosphere is really like. For now, I'll enjoy my non-alcoholic mint juleps, sipping it on my patio on race day (which is always the first Saturday in May).


Ally's Mint Julep

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
8 fresh mint sprigs, plus extra for garnish
3/4 cup peach nectar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
crushed ice
1/4 tsp. grenadine (optional)*

Combine sugar, water, and mint in medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about five minutes. Let cool completely.

Combine the cooled simple syrup, peach nectar and apple cider vinegar. Stir to mix well.

Fill a glass with crushed ice, about 3/4 of the way full. Pour the liquid mixture over ice and garnish with mint sprigs.

*The apple cider vinegar and and peach nectar are essentially a substitute to the traditional bourbon. As such, there is a hint of burn at the bottom of your throat when you drink it. The grenadine is a great option to ease that sensation. I imagine kids would really appreciate that, too. :)

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