It’s Derby time! Are you planning on attending the 139th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4th? If so, here are a few tips:
1. Don’t fly. It’s too late to snag a good fare and Louisville is a day’s drive from most U.S. cities.
2. Don’t stay in Louisville. It’s too late to score a hotel room anyway. But if you stay in nearby cities, such as Jeffersonville (Indiana) or New Albany you’ll be able to get a room and at a much cheaper rate. Or you can opt for a home rental instead of a hotel. Good resources include www.homerental.com and www.homeaway.com
3. Be parepared to go high or low. With a few exceptions, only high-priced tickets in Section 110 (roughly $500pp including food and beverages) or low-priced tickets in the infield ($40pp standing room only) are available. The gates open at 8 a.m. and if you want a good ‘seat’ in the infield, you need to plan to get there early.
Looking for activities besides the Derby while in Louisville? Check out the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is open year round and features exhibits, films, and photographs. Also, Bourbon Trail is a popular pastime. Just five years old, the “trail” includes nineteen establishments (and growing) that offer fine Kentucky bourbon. You may want to go to the Kentucky Oaks instead of the Derby. It is always held on the Friday before the Derby and is open to fillies only. You’ll still see lots of great races, Derby hats, and mint juleps but without the high ticket costs and crowds.
PERFECT MINT JULEP RECIPE (You’ll see everyone from 25-year-old guys to 90-year-old ladies sipping these on derby day as it is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby).
2 bunches fresh spearmint
1 cup distilled water
1 cup granulated sugar
Powdered sugarTo prepare mint extract, remove about 40 small mint leaves. Wash and place in a small bowl. Cover with 3 ounces bourbon. Allow the leaves to soak for 15 minutes. Then gather the leaves in paper toweling. Thoroughly wring the mint over the bowl of whisky. Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times. To prepare simple syrup, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of distilled water in a small saucepan. Heat to dissolve sugar. Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool. To prepare mint julep mixture, pour 3 1/2 cups of bourbon into a large glass bowl or glass pitcher. Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to the bourbon. Now begin adding the mint extract 1 tablespoon at a time to the julep mixture. Each batch of mint extract is different, so you must taste and smell after each tablespoon is added. You are looking for a soft mint aroma and taste-generally about 3 tablespoons. When you think it’s right, pour the whole mixture back into the empty liter bottle and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to “marry” the flavors.To serve the julep, fill each glass (preferably a silver mint julep cup) 1/2 full with shaved ice. Insert a spring of mint and then pack in more ice to about 1-inch over the top of the cup. Then, insert a straw that has been cut to 1-inch above the top of the cup so the nose is forced close to the mint when sipping the julep. When frost forms on the cup, pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice and add a sprinkle of powdered sugar to the top of the ice. Serve immediately.
*Recipe found on foodnetwork.com