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Kentucky Derby Day Juleps

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The Tupelo Julep

© Daniel Krieger

This Saturday is the Kentucky Derby, and even though I know it's all about the horses, who can blame me for thinking of refreshments instead, when the contenders have names like Sidney's Candy and Ice Box? If I were in Brooklyn this weekend I'd get my julep fix at the Vanderbilt, Saul Bolton's six-month-old Prospect Heights restaurant, which put a julep variation on the menu a few weeks ago. My Kentucky-born, bourbon-loving husband might chastise me for liking their well-balanced Tupelo Julep, made with rye, cognac and apricot-mint syrup instead of the traditional bourbon and mint, but he would agree that the bartender, Brian Patrick Floyd, gets the ice perfect, so that the glass frosts over as the drink slowly melts. Variations of the julep abound; here are a few to try at your own Derby party:

Mint Julep
Blanca Julep
Parsley-Gin Julep
Champagne Julep

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Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.