Viva la Derby!

The Stone Rose.

They say two is better than one and in the case of holidays, it’s always more exciting to celebrate conjoining festivals. We often see this case most prominently during Easter and Passover, and Hanukkah and my birthday (subsequently I did not receive extra presents as a child because of the overlap). However, this upcoming Saturday will be of epic proportions when two iconic booze-filled holidays join forces: Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby. 

I know what you’re thinking, “How can a Margarita and a Mint Julep coexist peacefully on the same day?” While these two cocktails may be on opposite ends of the beverage spectrum, various bars and restaurants in NYC have been going to great lengths to incorporate both of these gems into one fun-filled day. So bust out either your largest race-track hat or sombrero and hit the town at one of these parties.

  • Andale, arriba, arriba! Run, don’t walk over to Anejo Tequileria (668 10th Avenue, New York, NY) where Angelo Sosa (of Top Chef fame) and Bar Manager Josh Wortman will be serving up authentic bites and drinks from Mexico. Festivities begin at 11:30am and run all day. Pairing up with Milagro Tequila, they will have specials such as $5 Shots of Milagro, $8 Milagro Margaritas, $29 Milagro Margarita Pitchers and in honor of the Derby, $8 Milagro Silver Mint Juleps!

  • Known for their whiskey and bourbon selection, Rye House (11 West 17th Street  New York, NY 10011) will be serving five unique spins off the classics including the Pastinaca  (Espolon silver tequila, Del Maguey Mezcal Vida, St Germain, lime, grapefruit) and their Mint Julep which includes Four Roses bourbon, simple syrup, mint and to kick it up a notch, bourbon infusions with jalapeno, chai, ginger and bacon.  Be sure to grab a seat at the bar with bartender J Rosser Lomax who has a knack at keeping drinks flowing a little too well.

  • What do you get when you mix Chef Marc Murphy, a pop-up hat shop and a Maker’s Mark filled menu? Perhaps one of the most lively viewing parties of the Kentucky Derby being held at Stone Rose Lounge (10 Columbus Circle  New York, NY 10019).  Murphy has assembled a Southern styled menu including dishes such as Honey Baked Ham Biscuit Sandwiches, Lobster Truffle Mac & Cheese and Derby Pie. And if that’s not enough to tease your palate, sampled one of the four Maker’s Mark  cocktails such as the Kentucky Brunch (Maker’s Mark, Champagne, Club Soda).  Come dressed to the nines in order to snag the prizes for “Dest Dressed” and “Best Derby Hat,” but if you forget your headpiece at home, snag one from the folks at MLE Hagen Hat Shop who will be selling their designs on location. Space is limited, so be sure to call (212) 823-9769 for reservations.

  • Oysters and horses? An unlikely combination, but works harmoniously at Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Avenue  Brooklyn, NY 11211) out in Brooklyn. Known for their award winning cocktails, there is no doubt that they will be serving up killer Mint Juleps alongside a BBQ in their backyard. Kicking festivities off at 12:00pm until 8:00pm, the day will be filled with performances from live bands and a broadcast of the Derby on their old fashioned radio from 6:28-6:30pm.

Or perhaps you want to throw your very own Cinco de Derby/Kentucky Mayo party at home. All you need is a bit of Bourbon, Tequila and imbibers.

Classic Margarita

•   2 oz Blanco (Silver) Tequila (be sure it is 100% agave)
•   1 oz Orange liqueur (I suggest Cointreau or Combier)
•   1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
•   Salt (optional)

  1. In a shaker, add tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.
  2. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Prepare the margarita glass with salt on the rim (if desirable).
  4. Strain the mixture into the glass, fill with ice (if desirable), and enjoy!
  5. Kick up your margarita a notch by muddling jalapeño, raspberries or strawberries before shaking to add new flavors to the classic drink.

Mint Julep

•   2-3 oz Bourbon
•   6-8 mint leaves
•   1 tsp powdered sugar
•   Splash water/soda

  1. Muddle mint, sugar and a splash of water/soda (soda dissolves the sugar faster) in your serving glass (collins glasses work well).
  2. Add in bourbon and stir contents.
  3. Add crushed ice into the glass and fill to the top.*
  4. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a dusting of powdered sugar on top

* To make crushed ice, simple place ice cubes in a canvas bag (or a ziplock if at home) and smash the cubes with a heavy object such as a meat mallet, rolling pin, or muddler to crush it.


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