In certain, more civilized parts of the Duchess's world, corridors and corners buzz with excitement over a very important impending event . . .
the Kentucky Derby. The first Saturday in May historically heralds the highlight of racing season, but of course we all know that it already is in full swing. Certainly cause for celebration.
Although a dizzying array of libations carries us through the cool, damp days and weeks culminating in the big event, there is one -- and only one -- signature Derby drink. And that is the mint julep.
While a bottle of Old Forester will always do for Sunday afternoons and festive evenings, the true (read: discerning) Kentuckian demands only the best for his or her Derby julep -- 15 year-old Pappy van Winkle Family Reserve. This fine bourbon was recently mentioned in the May edition of Vanity Fair as one of en fuego restauranteur David Chang's (of Momofuku fame) preferred remedies. Bluegrass blue bloods always keep a bottle or two on hand.
Her Highness Rachel Alexandra
The Duchess knows you do already, but gently reminds to be sure and keep some chilled julep cups on hand. Remember to drink early, and drink often.*
The Mint Julep
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
Sprigs of Fresh Mint
Pappy van Winkle Family Reserve
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Pappy van Winkle. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
* Public Service Announcement: No driving, please.