Besides Masters Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday and Final Four Saturday, my favorite sports day of the year is the first Saturday in May when the thoroughbreds race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
One of America’s greatest sports events, the Kentucky Derby has been held every year since 1875.
I absolutely love the traditions like the emotional singing of “My Old Kentucky Home”, the garland of roses placed on the winning horse, the over-the-top outfits and hats, the camera-mugging celebs and, of course, the Mint Julep, which is synonymous with the Derby. It has been the official drink of the Derby since 1938.
Each year, almost 120,000 Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack. Wow, that’s one heckuva lot of bourbon!
I’ve had some really good Mint Juleps through the years, but the one they offer at Ocean Prime restaurant in Orlando is, well, primo! In celebration of some of the most exciting two minutes in sports, Ocean Prime Orlando will serve the iconic Mint Julep exclusively on Kentucky Derby day, May 4. They were even gracious enough to provide me with the recipe (see below).
One of my favorite go-to spots for prime cut steaks and seafood, Ocean Prime is an upscale, elegant, but unpretentious restaurant in southwest Orlando near Bay Hill Golf Club on Sand Lake Road, commonly known as Orlando’s “Restaurant Row.” It has a phenomenal wine list, exceptional service, fantastic bar and complimentary valet parking to name a few of the many things I like about this restaurant.
Anyway, let’s get back to the star of the show…If you can make it to Ocean Prime Orlando to have a professional mixologist serve you a Mint Julep, I highly recommend it. For those camped in front of the big screen on Derby Saturday, try making this M.J. at home:
OCEAN PRIME MINT JULEP RECIPE
Glassware: Julep cup or Highball
Garnish: Mint Sprig, Powdered Sugar
2 oz. Old Forester
½ oz. Simple Syrup
¼ oz. Disaronno
4-5 dashes or ½ dropper of Angostura Bitters
8 mint leaves
Combine all ingredients in mixing tin.
Add ice and shake vigorously to integrate mint and combine flavors.
Strain over crushed ice into glass.
For reservations and more information on Ocean Prime Orlando, clickor call (407) 781-4880. Ocean Prime Orlando is located at 7339 West Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32819.