Derby is 100 days from today.
Beyond the imagery of the julep, I find that there is, when done properly, a surprisingly good cocktail. Now, I'm not much for the pre-made bottles that pop up every spring, but a well-made julep is a wonderful complement to a hot day. I've always found that Dudley's in downtown Lexington serves the very best version of the Commonwealth's Cocktail-- sweet, tart, and icy cold, with the slightest fizz of club soda.
While the mint julep is perhaps the most famous symbol of the Kentucky Derby, it has as many critics as it does fans. Louisville newspaperman Henry Watterson famously once described his own julep recipe: "Pluck the mint gently from its bed, just as the dew of the evening is about to form upon it. Select the choicer sprigs only, but do not rinse them. Prepare the simple syrup and measure out a half-tumbler of whiskey. Pour the whiskey into a well-frosted silver cup, throw the other ingredients away and drink the whiskey." Here on HerKentucky, Cristina wrote that, while she loves the individual ingredients, she just can't get behind the finished product. I'm even the only julep afficionado in my own home; my fiancé considers the mint julep to be a waste of good bourbon.
So, while I still have to wait 100 days until I pull out my fabulous hat and dress and sip the season's first julep, I decided to bring a little julep culture into my life tonight. I made a little flower arrangement using a Louisville Stoneware julep cup and some springy blooms. Here's hoping it makes the countdown go by a little quicker!!