Chow Town

5 ways to toast the Kentucky Derby in Kansas City

Updated: 2013-05-03T14:47:25Z

By Sarah Gish

It’s cold and wet in Kansas City, but at least you can pretend you’re at the Kentucky Derby, cheering horse races in a ridiculous hat with a refreshing mint julep in hand. Here are five ways to transport yourself to Churchill Downs without boarding a flight.

1. Order a mint julep at Maker’s Mark Bourbon House & Lounge, 1333 Walnut St. in the Power & Light District. The signature drink, $7, is made the old fashioned way, with bourbon, water, sugar and mint.

2. Buy tickets to DerbyFest 2013. Beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday at KC Live in the Power & Light District, DerbyFest offers patrons a chance to watch the Kentucky Derby on a giant screen while enjoying mint juleps, live music and a parade of race horses from Saddle Creek Stables. Suggested attire is “Southern formal individual.” Tickets are $35 and $75, with proceeds going to KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center. More info in this week’s Ink events guide.

3. Tavern in the Village and Tavern at Mission Farms are hosting simultaneous Derby Day Parties from 3-6 p.m. Saturday. The restaurants in Prairie Village and Leawood are cooking up Derby-inspired dishes such as shrimp and grits, hot brown turkey sandwiches and several Derby-inspired drinks, such as a Thai Tavern Julep made with bourbon from Darkhorse Distillery in Lenexa. Customers are encouraged to wear traditional Derby dress -- think bright sundresses and huge hats for women, bold ties and pants for men.

4. Boulevard’s experimental mint julep-inspired beer, Tripel Julep, is still available on tap at some Kansas City bars that carry the brewery’s Smokestack Series. More info on that beer here.

5. Don’t feel like going out? Make mint juleps at home. Here’s the recipe served at Churchill Downs:

The Early Times Mint Julep

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

Sprigs of fresh mint

Crushed ice

Early Times Kentucky bourbon

Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces bourbon. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost outside of cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

-- Know another way to toast the Kentucky Derby in KC? Tweet us @chowtownkc.

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