Bet on Mint Juleps



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The mint julep, a cool sweetened mix of bruised mint, bourbon, and crushed ice, has been the official beverage of the Kentucky Derby (first jewel in the Triple Crown of thoroughbred horseracing) since 1938. Traditionally, the cocktail was served in silver or pewter cups, a frosty—and appealing—veil of condensation forming on the outer surface. But you don’t have to travel south to enjoy a good julep. Here are some of our favorite places to nurse one or two.

Peekskill Brewery (55 Hudson Ave., Peekskill 914-734-2337). Co-owner Kara Berardi hopes her customers temporarily will put down the brew-skis and pick up the refreshing traditional julep on her spring cocktail list. Her version is made with Michter’s Small Batch Kentucky Bourbon. You can see the race from any seat in the house on the flatscreen TVs over the bar.

Blue (99 Church St, White Plains 914- 220-0000). This hip restaurant is serving its own slant on the traditional mint julep. Head bartender Michelle Bernal will be creating a mint blue julep for race weekend, but you’ll have to toast the frontrunners early because the bar is closed on Sundays. Bernal uses blue-tinted simple syrup (sugar water) to keep to the bar’s theme. She loves seasonal drinks with fresh produce and herbs.

Emma’s Ale House (68 Gedney Way, White Plains 914-683-3662). Have your mint and bourbon on ice here as you select one of the five giant screens on which to watch the Derby here. Toast the Great American Horserace along with great American saloon food there. (For a review of Emma’s, see page 168.)

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Half Moon (1 High St, Dobbs Ferry 914-693-4130) and Harvest on Hudson (1 River St, Hastings 914-478-2800). Both offer ”killer juleps,” declares beverage manager Ralph Leon, using Woodford Reserve bourbon. Some people prefer Early Times bourbon, used to make “the official julep of the Kentucky Derby” but, well, that’s what makes horseraces. 

Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve

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