Summoning Churchill Downs

While the rest of SoCal celebrates Cinco de Mayo, I’ve been focused on the Kentucky Derby. Today mark 138 years since the tradition began and damned if I was going to let it pass me by.

Nevermind that I didn’t have bourbon on hand or that I didn’t feel like crushing my ice—I was going to drink a mint julep. Its incarnation took two forms, with Southern Comfort (seemed appropriate) and Johnnie Walker Black Label. Just one more hurdle: I’ve been attempting to replace sugar with honey or agave in every recipe, and this culinary adventure would be no exception. So here’s what I went with.

  • 6 fresh mint sprigs, bruised
  • 2 tsp raw organic honey
  • 1 1/2 oz Southern Comfort or JWBL
  • glass of ice

It’s not traditional and it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of liquor, but on a day when I really could’ve gone for a beautiful, wide-brimmed hat and classy fan, my little tasting experiment did the trick. Plus, who doesn’t like to feel a tad “Mad Men,” swirling a glass around, from time to time?

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