Get out your seersucker suits and put on your feathered hats: Derby season has officially started. Before heading to the track – or catching the big show on the telly – make sure you are equipped with the classic derby cocktails.
As long as there has been an official derby season, there have been official derby cocktails. Each race – from the Kentucky Derby to the Preakness to the Belmont – have their signature drinks. Some have changed over time and some remain as classic as ever.
Zach Wilks of Wilks & Wilson and renowned mixologist, says the derby's signature cocktails are all part of the experience.
"Each drink has a significance, a story. Each one evolved over time."
The Mint Julep
Each year more than 120,000 juleps are served over two days, during the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby. This signature drink has a long history, one that starts as far back as 1803.
Although its origins are hazy, it is mostly known as the true Southern cocktail, one of the first toddies, and usually referred to in days of yore as a vehicle for "medicine."
Served in the classic julep cup - a silver, beaded chalice - original cups would have a copper lining to ensure the cocktail remained frozen.
It's perfect for battling the heat of a sunny day, passing the time on the front porch and, of course, celebrating the Kentucky Derby.
Total Time: 10 mins | Makes: 1 drink
- 1 oz. Wilks & Wilson simple syrup
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 2 oz. Makers Mark Kentucky bourbon
- 6-8 Fresh mint leaves
- Crushed ice
- Lime slice
- Fresh mint
Prepare in julep cups.
Sterling Silver Julep Cups were introduced in 1951 and they play an important role in Derby lore. Traditionally, the governor of Kentucky salutes the victorious Derby owner with a toast at the fashionable Winner's Party following the race. You can purchase official cups through the Kentucky Derby website, although springing $750 maybe not be what you were expecting. Check Amazon or restaurant and bar supply sites for some "unofficial" wares.
Muddle your mint and lime juice with your simple syrup in a mixing glass.
Add bourbon and stir.
Fill your julep cup with the crushed ice.
Pour mixture over the ice.
Garnish with lime and fresh mint.
If the Mint Julep history wasn't sketchy enough, The Belmont's lineage is even sketchier. And it's an ever-changing landscape, each year bringing a new "official" recipe. I say, why not stick to the original?
Cocktail historian, writer and mixologist David Wondrich sheds a little light on its beginnings. The Belmont originated in 1916 by creator Hugo Ensslin, one of the earliest cocktail gurus.
The drink, says Wondrich, was recreated by Harry Craddock in 1930.
Both Ensslin and Craddock are still highly influential in cocktail culture, and two building blocks of the craft today.
Total Time: 5 mins | Makes: 1 drink
- 2 oz. Beefeater gin
- 1/2 oz. Wilks & Wilson Rapsberry Gomme
- 3/4 oz. half and half
- Lemon twist
Mix all ingredients and shake vigorously.
Pour into a martini glass and garnish with your lemon twist.
The Black-Eyed Susan
The Black-Eyed Susan was created in 1956 as the signature cocktail of The Preakness as a competitor for The Kentucky Derby's Mint Julep.
Created specifically for the Preakness' 100th anniversary celebration, this almost 60-year-old cocktail has gone through many changes over the years.
Like the Belmont, the original recipe is the perfect way to keep your Triple Crown cocktails true-to-form.
Total Time: 10 mins | Makes: 1 drink
- 1.25 oz. Belvedere vodka
- .25 oz. St. Germaine
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- 6 dashes Angustura bitters
- A bar spoon full blackberry preserves
- Fresh sage or mint leaf
Mix all ingredients– except ice – in a glass and shake vigorously.
Pour into a highball glass over ice.
Garnish with sage or mint.
Twinkle VanWinkle has more than 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks. She baked apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and has appeared on Food Network's "The Best Of..." Along with producing dynamic lifestyle content for LIN Media, she is a mother, urban gardener, chef, musician and social media fanatic.
A Fort Wayne man had the opportunity to have lunch with Nelson Mandela 20 years ago. He says the experience is something he has carried with him throughout the years.
The suspects face bank robbing charges, as well as charges of assaulting and putting in jeopardy the lives of others.
The yellow brick building that served for decades as the club house for the Elks Lodge 155 golf course in Fort Wayne is being demolished.
Buffalo Wild Wings donated $6,500 to the Boys & Girls Club's Fairfield location on Friday afternoon. The money will be used for youth sports tournaments.
A new event promises 12 days of delicious deals at Fort Wayne restaurants in January.
A woman arrested for shoplifting at a Fort Wayne Walmart identified herself as her husband's ex-wife when she was actually the man's current wife. The ex-wife then ended up getting arrested when the real wife failed to show up for court.
Gov. Mike Pence has ordered flags at Indiana state facilities to be flown at half-staff in tribute of Nelson Mandela and is asking businesses and residents to do so also to honor the world leader.
A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of wintry weather. Some areas are experiencing frigid temperatures. Some are seeing snow and ice. Several deaths have been reported, most resulting from treacherous driving conditions. Hundreds of…
Frigid temperatures and a cold Saint Joseph River didn't stop approximately 100 students from jumping into the river as part of Homecoming Week at IPFW.
The Salvation Army and Toys for Tots are seeing a decline in donations this year because of a late Thanksgiving.
Global civil rights icon Nelson Mandela, whose legacy is ending South African apartheid, has died.
Fort Wayne is not expected to take the brunt of an approaching winter weather system, but everyone will experience frigid temperatures and some could see sleet and snow.
Thieves hit an Indianapolis home this week, stealing a large nativity scene from the front yard.
The Veteran Beer Company, a company employing solely veterans, is bringing its craft beers to Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne officials are attributing the rise in violent crime to gangs. NewsChannel 15 spoke with a former LAPD officer about the Summit City's crime problem.