Friday, April 29, 2011

Exhibit #62: Sport of Kings

There is a long association between drinking and horse racing. Walk into any bar, saloon or salon 100-150 years ago and you can bet someone was talking about thoroughbreds or placing bets on same. Old cocktail books contain many turf-related drinks, usually commemorating a particular race, horse, track, or even owner. In anticipation of Derby Day, we present a slate of fine exemplars of such drinks.

Three to One Cocktail $7
Dry gin, apricot liqueur, and lime juice, up. Pretty good odds, no?

Derby Cocktail $8
Mellow old bourbon, lime juice, curacao, and sweet vermouth, up. Not to be confused with the English drink of the same name that we served last year. This one definitely refers to the race, and not the hat.

Futurity Cocktail $8
Equal parts sloe gin and sweet vermouth with Angostura bitters, up. Futurity refers to a class of horse that meets higher breeding guidelines and is both a racing and showing term.

Georgia Mint Julep $11
An approximation of the original early 19th century julep which featured peach brandy exclusively, no whiskey. Real peach brandy (dry and well-aged) hasn't been produced in over 100 years, so we will approximate with a 2:1 mixture of cognac and modern peach-flavored brandy, along with the requisite mint, sugar and crushed ice. This drink also features the traditional 3 ounce pour (some say 4, or even 5) for slow and easy sippin'.

Pendennis Cocktail $7
Dry gin, peach brandy, lime juice, and Peychaud's bitters, up. This is the house cocktail of Louisville's elite, well-known private club, established in 1881. In cocktail circles, it is best known for its erroneous claim to be the birthplace of the Old-Fashioned (a good 60 years too late to be true). The club still exists today and is of course well-known for its Derby Day festivities. The Pendennis also has a traditional association with boxing, and holds an annual Boxing Night; a ring is installed in the grand ballroom and up and coming amateur boxers compete, including one Muhammed Ali, early in his career.

Seelbach Cocktail $8

Champagne, bourbon, Cointreau, and a good amount of both Angostura and Peychaud's bitters, with an orange twist, This cocktail dates from 1917 and Louisville's Seelbach Hotel. The recipe was lost after Prohibition but unearthed by a hotel employee in 1995, and just published for the first time a couple years ago by Ted Haigh.

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