Horseracing fans are entering the homestretch toward the running of the 135rd Kentucky Derby, at Churchill Downs on May 2. Whether you can attend the most exciting two minutes in sport or not, you can enjoy a Julep and get a taste of Kentucky at its best.
The Mint Julep became the signature drink on the first Saturday in May in 1938 when they started to serve the drink in souvenir glasses for 75 cents at the Derby. Today Kentucky Derby serves more than 80,000 juleps over the two-day event.
3 ounces Bourbon
6 Fresh mint leaves
6 Fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
Muddle mint leaves with superfine sugar and a little water in a mint julep cup. Fill the cup with ice. Pour bourbon and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
The rose garland for the Kentucky Derby winner is a tradition which began in 1896 when Ben Brush was given a floral arrangement of white and pink roses for winning and in 1904 the red rose became the Derby's official flower. In 1925, a New York sports columnist who was later the president of Churchill Downs, dubbed the Kentucky Derby the "Run for the Roses," a term still used today. The current form of garland was established in 1932.
Each year, a garland of over 554 Classy red roses are hand sewn into a green satin backing with the seal of the Commonwealth on one end and the twin spires of Churchill Downs and number of the running on the other. The process begins the afternoon of Derby Eve when three Kroger floral designers begin the 8-10 hour task. The garland is 2 1/2 yards long, 14 inches wide and weighs 45 pounds. Each garland is also adorned with a "Crown" of roses, green fern and ribbon. With a single rose pointing upward in the center of the "Crown," it is symbolic of the struggle and heart necessary to reach the winners' circle. The winning jockey also receives a bouquet of 60 long stemmed roses wrapped in ten yards of ribbon.
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