Drink To Derby  All Year Long

Jared Schubert, food and beverage manager at The Monkey Wrench.

Jared Schubert, food and beverage manager at The Monkey Wrench.

Just because the Run for the Roses has concluded doesn’t mean you can’t continue to enjoy the classic cocktails known to flow throughout Louisville the first Saturday in May. Bourbon never goes out of style in Kentucky, so why not prolong the celebration with these mouthwatering mixers perfect for any place or time of year. Jared Schubert, food and beverage manager at The Monkey Wrench, provided a few of his favorite Derby-inspired drinks to quench your thirst along the countdown to the 140th running of the fastest two minutes in sports.

The John Collins

So what exactly is a collins anyway? Well, it’s a very old drink dating back to the late 1800s and actually didn’t start out as a real drink. Instead, it was referenced as a beverage in a comical poem found in a newspaper from London. The piece did not reference the recipe of the drink, so many establishments kind of just made it up. Eventually cocktail names and ingredients found each other. Since whisky and gin were the two most readily inexpensive spirits available to the consumers, the whisky would almost always be put into the John Collins, and the gin of the time went into the Tom Collins.

The John Collins (Larceny) Recipe:
1.5-2 oz Larceny
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz simple syrup
2-3 oz soda water

Combine Larceny lemon juice and simple syrup into a shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into a collins style glass with ice and top off with soda water. Garnish with a piece of lemon.

The Mint Julep

Nobody actually knows who came up with the alcoholic julep that we know today. The julep itself originated somewhere in Persia a very long time ago and was used as a delivery system for medicine. What we do know is Henry Clay popularized the use of bourbon in the drink when he served them to his guests at the Round Robin bar at the Willard Hotel.

The Mint Julep (Old Forester) Recipe:
2 oz Old Forester (The Signature is best)
.5 oz simple syrup
7 sprigs of mint
crushed ice

In any glass that will hold temperature well (julep cup, coffee cup, jelly jar, small mason jar) strip the lower leaves off the mint sprigs and place into the cup you choose to use. Pour bourbon and simple syrup over the leaves and allow to steep for about a minute. (This procedure can be done ahead of time if you put the bourbon into a pitcher with the leaves and allow to rest in the fridge for an hour before you serve the drinks). Put crushed ice into the vessel and allow to sit for another minute. Place the tips of the mint in the form of a bunch onto the cup you use.

The Sazerac

The Sazerac is the official cocktail of the city of New Orleans and was originally made with cognac, then rye whiskey (or a combination of both), but a high proof bourbon works the best. Bridging the sweet flavor of the brandy with the spicy pepper quality of the rye, the Sazerac is perfect for warm weather, especially when you have the right balance of water in the drink.

The Sazerac (Four Roses Single Barrel) Recipe: 

2 oz Four Roses Single Barrel
1 sugar cube
2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash absinthe (Herbsaint is a very good choice)
1 lemon peel

You need two glasses for this one. The first glass you’ll need to get as cold as possible (Schubert suggests freezing it over night). In the second glass, place the sugar cube into the glass and pour bourbon over top. Dash your bitters into the same glass. Crush the sugar cube with the back of a spoon so it is broken apart. Add a couple of pieces of ice and stir the drink until it’s almost doubled in volume. In the frozen glass, place the dash of absinthe and rinse the glass with it, dumping excess away. Pour the concoction from the first glass (straining off any excess ice) into the chilled, absinthe rinsed glass. Express the oil of the lemon peel over top the cocktail and serve.