Home Featured It’s Derby Day in Kentucky

It’s Derby Day in Kentucky

We don't pick a winner, but we've got cocktail recipes

Welcome to the weekend, ladies and gentlemen! Pour yourself a cup of coffee, kick back, and enjoy this brisk May morning with The County Line.

Today brings with it an absolute haul of faux holidays — far and away the most of any date since this website launched in late February and we began tracking this silliness with meticulous precision. If you wish to observe some nonsense, here are your choices for benign and/or lame celebrations (in no particular order, and with this author’s quick-hitter notes in parentheses): 

•National Homebrew Day (I have a homebrew kit I have yet to use but look forward to trying, so maybe I’ll be qualified to celebrate by next year’s edition) 
•National Scrapbook Day (for the Leslie Knopes of the world)
•National Barrier Awareness Day (safety first, however a whole day dedicated to the cause seems excessive to say the least)
•National Bike to School Day (do they still have Saturday school?)
•National Paste Up Day (I don’t get it, would prefer a Post Up Day in honor of Hakeem and the old pivot GOATS)
•National Roast Leg of Lamb Day (just to stick it to all the other methods of cooking leg of lamb, we have to presume)
•National Babysitter’s Day (I was blessed with the best growing up, but no longer require one)
•National Birth Mother’s Day (seems odd), 
•National Train Day (choo-choo!), AND 
•Free Comic Book Day (where?)

 Of course, you should only go with these options if you absolutely refuse to get behind the real holiday. What I mean is, you should not choose any of the options listed above, and you should keep reading, because the best option is coming up:

Today is Saturday, May 7, 2022, and as we’ve already noted, it’s much, much more — for folks ranging from scrapbookers to barrier enthusiasts. Far more importantly, however, today marks the 148th running of The Kentucky Derby, our state’s grandest production, at least in the rest of the world’s eyes (many locals would argue for bourbon or basketball, but I digress). 

I won’t offer a prediction, since our resident racing expert Jordan Willis has already done that, so instead I’ll offer a couple recipes for Derby cocktails (that should be kept out of reach of the kids). 

First, we must start with the Mint Julep, a famous drink, cousin of the mojito, that even among its greatest enthusiasts is only enjoyed once a year — on Derby Day. Full disclosure: This recipe is drinkable and that’s about it — no one really enjoys a Mint Julep. Nevertheless, here’s an easy way to make the official Derby drink:

First, gather your ingredients. You’ll need bourbon, mint leaves, simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, dissolved), mint sprigs, and Angostura bitters (optional). Next, in a glass, muddle a few mint leaves in a quarter to half ounce of simple syrup. Add a shot of bourbon, then pack the glass tightly with ice and stir. Garnish with a mint sprig, add a few drops of bitters, and pretend you like it!

If Mint Juleps aren’t your thing — they’re certainly not mine — here’s a surefire crowd pleaser that’s simple, easy to make, and can be prepared ahead of time: Bourbon Ginger Ale Punch.

Here’s what you need: 3 cups of ginger ale, 2 cups of champagne, 1 ½ cups of bourbon, ½ cup of simple syrup (see above), ½ cup of fresh lime juice, and 1 thinly sliced lime (for garnish). Mix it all up, add ice, and serve. It’s simple, and even if you don’t think it’s great, I bet you like it better than the Mint Juleps. You’re welcome. 

The interns are off today to celebrate the Derby, so let’s quickly run through the weather:

At 6 a.m. 55 degrees and cloudy just outside The County Line’s Adair office in north Columbia, and the thermometer at company headquarters in Russell Springs reads just a tick cooler, and 54. Expect sporadic rain showers between late morning and mid-afternoon, subsiding by 3 or 4 p.m. The high today will top out in the upper 50s. 

All of us at The County hope readers have a fantastic Derby weekend, and we encourage everyone to celebrate responsibly. Please do not drink and drive, and we’d also encourage everyone to limit the gambling to the “fun” zone and firmly outside of “need a second mortgage” territory.

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Wes Feese is one of this company's owners and founders. He has previously worked as an editor, news reporter, sportswriter, photographer, and freelance contributor for newspapers across central Kentucky. He grew up in the Egypt community of Adair County and is a graduate of Adair County High School and Lindsey Wilson College.