Southern Spring Cocktails for Derby Time

Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Preakness Cocktail Recipes. Perfect for home viewing.

I attended a Kentucky Derby-inspired media luncheon for the launch of Washington Duke Inn in Durham, NC.  It was only 40 degrees the day the luncheon was held, but we put on our spring hats anyway and enjoyed the spring blooms around us.

Washington Duke Inn in Durham, NC
Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club

The Washington Duke Inn, located in Durham, N.C. on the campus of Duke University, is a gorgeous property. If I lived closer, I think you would find me on this terrace a lot more enjoying lunch or dinner. When I am able to get to the hotel to dine, it is a treat because Jason is a fabulous chef. You already know it is a favorite spot of mine for afternoon tea, and his partnership with Carolina farmers and artisans make dining here special. His Dinner at Dusk menu served daily from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with a prix-fixe price of $35 per person, is one of the best culinary bargains in the Triangle.

Washington Duke Inn Fairview Dining Room Terrace
The Fairview Dining Room Terrace

The Washington Duke Inn typically hosts a special Kentucky Derby Day on the day of the Derby each year. It serves the same cocktails that are popular at top horse races in the U.S. For this media event, we sampled Mint Juleps, the signature drink for the Kentucky Derby, the White Carnation, the drink of the Belmont Stakes, and the Black-Eyed Susan, the preferred drink for the Preakness

You can now make these same cocktails at home to watch the derby. My absolute favorite drink is the Mint Julep.

The Mint Julep is the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby

Mint Julep

1 1/2 ounces Maker's Mark
1-ounce mint simple syrup
1-ounce seltzer

Combine bourbon and syrup in an ice shaker, shake vigorously, pour over ice, top with seltzer, and garnish with a sprig of mint. 

Black-Eyed Susan

1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounces St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 ounce blackberry brandy
2 lemon wedges

Combine ingredients in an ice shaker, and strain into a martini glass, garnish with a floating lemon wheel.

White Carnation

1 1/2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounce peach schnapps
1/2 ounce half and half cream
1/2 ounce orange juice

Combine ingredients in an ice shaker, shake vigorously, strain into a martini glass, garnish with an orange peel. 

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Post Updated April 2019

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