Rita gets you ready with her derby recipes


KENTUCKY DERBY STYLE MINT JULEP

Here’s my home made version of this famous drink. First you have to make a spearmint simple syrup.

Mint simple syrup

Good in other drinks, or stirred into fresh fruit.

Ingredients

1 cup each sugar and water

1 packed cup spearmint leaves or more to taste, smooshed with wooden spoon to release volatile oils - Kentucky Colonel Spearmint is wonderful in here

Instructions

Bring sugar and water to a boil. Pour over mint which you’ve placed in a heat proof jar. Cover, refrigerate overnight and strain. Keeps a month refrigerated.

Make a mint julep

Ideally, the ice will start melting, creating a memorable drink.

Fill a julep cup or 12 oz. glass with crushed ice.

Add up to 3 oz. Kentucky bourbon

Stir in 2 tablespoons or more of mint simple syrup

Stir until very well mixed. Garnish with mint sprig and insert straw.

KENTUCKY DERBY CHOCOLATE WALNUT PIE

Perhaps one of the most beloved traditions is its bourbon chocolate walnut pie.

George Kern made up the recipe for the pie when he was the manager of the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky, with the help of his parents, and it became its specialty. The name "Derby Pie" has been trademarked by the Kern family, which is extremely vigilant about unauthorized use. Their recipe is a secret, but this one is similar to the Melrose Inn's famous version, which has been a tradition at the race since the mid-1950s.

Serve it while you're watching what's known as "the most exciting two minutes in sports."

Ingredients

1 pie crust

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

3 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon

1 cup walnuts, toasted a bit and then chopped

1-1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips but regular are traditional)

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour and sugar in a mixing bowl.

Add the eggs and melted and cooled butter, and mix to combine.

Stir in the bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt.

Set the pie on a wire rack and let cool before slicing. Serve and enjoy

Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie crust.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is set.