Print this Post

Derby Day is as Good a Drinking Day as Any

Some wait for Memorial Day to ring in the summer. Some started way back when Augusta fitted their latest green jacket. We’re Kentucky Derby fans, so race day is often the first glimpse of summer grilling and laying about.

You’ll find lots of mint julep recipes out there, and it’s a great tradition. But we’re mixing it up while staying true to the race’s roots. Here’s some of our favorite uses of beautiful, brown bourbon.


Classic Whiskey Sour

There are two things wrong with most whiskey sours: Sour mix, cherries and cheap bourbon. Ok, that’s three, but we’re trying to stay positive. Making your own sour mix is as easy boiling water: Bring equal parts water and sugar to boil for few minutes, then let it cool. That’s it. Keep it in the fridge and never use those awful mixes from the grocery store again.

2 oz whiskey
1 oz simple syrup
1 oz lemon juice

Mix all ingredients with a few ice cubes, shake like hell, then strain into a rocks glass with more ice.

If you like ’em a little more whiskey and a little less sour, ease up on the simple syrup. Try just half an ounce.

Most recipes call for a cherry or, (gasp!) an orange wedge as garnish. We use a lemon wedge because that’s what’s in the drink. You don’t need to shave a lemon rind, but go ahead if you’re trying to impress someone.


We prefer bourbon in whiskey sours, but any whiskey should do. Experiment, but don’t go cheap just for the sake of going cheap. Bourbon is already inexpensive. Good stuff is worth a few bucks and those who appreciate it will really appreciate it.


Bourbon Lemonade

A great hard lemonade recipe is not that different from a whiskey sour. Just flip the ingredient ratios and double them to get a taller, sweeter beverage for mowing the lawn or watching the ponies. Or watching the ponies mow your lawn, if you’re lucky.

2 oz Whiskey
4 oz simple syrup
4 oz lemon juice



An Ode to the Whiskey Sour

From this piece in the WSJ:

“When New York theater scribe George Jean Nathan reviewed the Philip Barry play “Without Love,” in 1942, he marveled at the odd appeal of its star, Katharine Hepburn. “Although she is hardly the possessor of any overpowering sex attraction,” Nathan wrote, “she is appetizing in the same chill way that a whisky sour is.”



Enjoy the race, everybody!


Permanent link to this article: http://pdchq.com/derby-day-is-as-good-a-drinking-day-as-any/