We're about an hour away from the start of the Kentucky Derby 2010, one of the most celebrated events in US history. The race dates all the way back to 1875 and has become "The most exciting 2 minutes in sports." It is held at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky but people everywhere, even in Chicago, are heavily involved. Let's run through some of the history, specifics and places you can watch in Chicago:
The "Derby" is the most prestigious race in the world, where three year old thoroughbreds compete to win a 1 1/4 mile race. It's held yearly on the first Saturday in May and caps off an amazing two week festival. Concerts, sporting events, fireworks, hot air balloons, the Pegasus Parade, local food and drink are all a part of this community event.
Speaking of local flavor, bourbon and wine flourish in Kentucky, and Mint Juleps are aplenty. You ask "What is a Mint Julep?". Well here's a bit about this southern drink. It's been around since eighteenth century United States and has been considered the official drink of the Derby since 1938. It is a combination of bourbon, mint, sugar and water. Here's a recipe: muddle five mint leaves and crystallized cane sugar with a splash of filtered water. Add to a rocks glass with ice cubes and pour in 2 1/2 ounces of your favorite bourbon (I love Bulleit). Enjoy!
If you don't feel like making your own Mint Julep, here are a few spots in the city you can enjoy the Derby:
- Lobby Lounge at Swissotel. A party sponsored by Woodford Reserve with drink specials (Woodford Mint Juleps are $12) and raffles.
- Luxbar. $5 Maker's Mark Mint Juleps and prizes- $250 drink card for best derby hat.
- Stretch Run. Drink specials ($6 Mint Juleps) and raceday wagering.
No matter where you plan on watching the Derby make sure to have fun and be responsible. Share your experience and which horse you put your money on with me on Twitter: @WCWineGuy. I'm going with #6 Stately Victor. Good Luck!