Mixology Monday: Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is the official of the Kentucky Derby, and each year the $1,000 Mint Julep helps raise money for charity. The $1,000 Mint Julep features Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select bourbon, mint leaves dusted with gold and ice made from gold-filtered mineral water. 

Below you'll find a recipe for an affordable mint julep and easy appetizers for your Kentucky Derby party. 

Easy Mint Juleps

2 oz. Woodford Reserve bourbon
1 oz. simple mint syrup*
Crushed ice
Garnish with mint sprig

To make simple syrup, use 1 part water, 1 part sugar and 1 part loosely packed fresh Kentucky mint. Bring sugar and water to a boil while stirring to dissolve. Add mint and take off the heat. Let stand for 20 minutes then strain into a tempered glass.

Bourbon Bacon Toasts

1 lb. bacon
1 loaf whole wheat bread
1 jar Major Grey's mango chutney
1-2 t. Woodford Reserve bourbon

Preheat broiler to high. Cook bacon until crisp, chop into fine pieces and place on a small plate. Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a jar, stamp out 1 ½ inch bread rounds, you can usually get three rounds per slice of bread. In a small bowl mix the chutney and bourbon (you may want to heat it slightly in the microwave so it incorporates easier). Spread a generous amount of the chutney mixture on the bread round then dip it in the bacon pieces so they stick to the bread. Repeat the steps for each bread round. Just before serving heat under the broiler to further crisp the bacon. Serve immediately. Makes 30 toasts.

Goat Cheese with Mint

12 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried dill
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
20 mint leaves, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, milk, cumin seeds, dill, black pepper and garlic. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Flavor is best if made the night before. Transfer cheese to a platter, form into a mound, sprinkle with mint leaves then drizzle with olive oil. Serve with crackers.

Serves 8

Bourbon Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

¼ cup Woodford Reserve Bourbon
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 1-pound pork tenderloins
Dijon mustard
Slider buns
Bourbon smoked paprika

Combine bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, mustard, ginger, Worcestershire sauce and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Whisk until brown sugar has dissolved. Set aside ½ cup for basting. Place marinade and pork tenderloins in a zip-top plastic bag and place in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature. Grill at medium-high or bake at 350 for approximately 15-25 minutes. Baste often while cooking. Pork should reach 165 degrees internally.

Slice and serve on slider buns with Dijon mustard and a sprinkle of bourbon smoked paprika.

Serves 10 – 12ar, let cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make by the pitcher (8 drinks):

16 oz. Woodford Reserve bourbon
8 oz. simple mint syrup

Mix bourbon and mint syrup. Pour into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a sipping straw.

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