With the Kentucky Derby just a couple weeks away many of us will be attending several of the Kentucky Derby Festival Events around the city, private parties and perhaps even making it to Oaks and the Derby itself. Regardless of which venue you prefer it’s inevitable you will run across one of the oldest traditional libations tied to the fastest two minutes in sports, The Mint Julep. Love it or hate it the Mint Julep remains a staple of Kentucky Derby history. According to the official Kentucky Derby web site, “Each year, almost 120,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack. That’s a feat that requires more than 10,000 bottles of Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.”
Only five ingredients are needed. Bourbon/whiskey, sugar, water, ice and mint. The majority of sugar comes from sugar beet farms and processing facilities out of Michigan. It takes all kinds of powered lift equipment to get the sugar to market. Once it gets to the bottling facility to be mixed with quality spirits, those bottles get moved, lifted, stored, palletized and eventually delivered to Kentucky Derby event locations all over the city. Ice? That’s a no-brainier Frozen water. Next comes the mint. The majority of the mint supplied to Churchill Downs is grown locally in Pleasure Ridge Park by Dohn and Dohn Farms. Six to ten inch bundles are harvested and banded by hand, usually by young kids experiencing their first summer job. A combination of manual labor and powered lift equipment is used to move the product from start to finish. Finally, all of these ingredients are married together to form a beverage you either thoroughly enjoy or spit out the first time you taste one. Here’s hoping you and your’s find your way to a favorite event in the next couple of weeks. Happy Derby everyone!!!