It’s rare – and perhaps with good reason – for two of the nation’s most-highly anticipated drinking events to converge on the same day. But the gods of inebriation have spoken, and that’s the reality we now face.
In case you forgot, tomorrow is Cinco De Mayo, the commemoration of Mexico’s 1862 victory over imperial France at the Battle of Puebla. In the U.S., the holiday has morphed into a more generalized celebration of Mexican-American culture fueled by chips, “guac,” and a deluge of half-priced margaritas.
Here’s the conflict: The 2017 Kentucky Derby, Louisville’s annual horse race, also kicks off tomorrow afternoon – which means mint juleps will be as ubiquitous this weekend as the event’s famously flashy spring fashions.
This leaves us with one question: As revelers line up at their local watering holes, which drink order will keep bartenders the busiest? Will it be the mint julep, a perfect marriage between fresh mint and the honeyed taste of bourbon? Or the margarita, with its invigorating flavor collision of salt, sugar, lime and – of course, tequila?
Here at Food Network, we’ve reached an impasse, so we’re calling on our fans to settle this one for us:
While the Kentucky Derby is an exciting time for horse racing and julep sipping, in recent years the Kentuckian holiday has become somewhat of a national celebration — and, thus, more difficult for locals to attend.
It’s off to the races this weekend at Churchill Downs for the 142nd annual Kentucky Derby. Though the race itself is only a matter of minutes, Derby fanatics turn it into the biggest party of the year. Right up there with finding the floppiest hat you can wear without tipping over is pinning down your viewing party menu. We’ve got dessert covered on race day, with boozy and minty sweet treats inspired by the Southern cocktail favorite the mint julep. Trust us, even after the horses cross the finish line, you’ll find any excuse to down these refreshing, bourbon-spiked desserts.
If you’re heading to Louisville this weekend for the Kentucky Derby, look no further for food-and-drink recs. The most-recent Food Network Star winner, Louisville resident Damaris Phillips, recently took Food Network on a tour of her hometown favorites, including picks for breakfast, dessert and refreshing libations. Click play on the video above and be prepared to salivate.
If you can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby this year, don’t be discouraged. Instead, throw your own celebration at home with a viewing party. Gather your family and friends for a day of fun filled with classic Kentucky dishes. Food Network has your menu covered with recipes for Kentucky Burgoo, Derby Pie, Mint Juleps (pictured above) and more. And just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up for the races — ladies, put on your hats, and gentleman, don’t forget your jackets!
Since Derby Day traditionally happens in the beginning of May, I always associate it with the beginning of summer. Is it because the horse race is affectionately referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports?” No, it’s because I love so many of the traditions that come with it. I love that the winner is presented with a “blanket” of 554 roses. I love fiddling with a version of “burgoo,” a beef and pork stew traditionally served on this day. Burgoo is one of those recipes that can be left open to interpretation. It is traditionally made with whatever meats (beef or pork) and vegetables (lima beans, corn or okra) are available. My best results came from braising some cubed-up brisket and stirring in some corn, fava beans and peas to give it that touch of spring. With all this cooking, a cooling drink seems only fitting. The mint julep happens to be one of my favorites. It reminds me of a snow cone, the fruity, icy cone I used to get from ice cream trucks as a kid. This provides a fun drink for kids instead of a more traditional Shirley Temple.