Kentucky Derby, Mint Juleps, Beer Cheese

Were you a fan of the jockey reality show a few years back? Our household couldn't get enough of it. The theme song was my husband's first exposure to rap; thankfully he didn't quite make out the lyrics. A couple of the show's stars will be riding in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

clockwise from the top: Ramon Dominguez, Mint Juleps, Julien Laparoux, Sabercat, Diane Lane (I've seen Secretariat more than once),  I'll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Mike Smith. all photos from Kentucky Derby, except the Mint Juleps from Garden and Gun magazine.

Truth be told, I'm conflicted about horse racing but apparently not enough as we always tune in for the Derby. There's nothing like the beauty and power of a flying horse. And then there's the hats, and mint juleps.....

I found a vintage and easy Mint Julep recipe on GGM's's site. From Bill Edward's 1936 How to Mix Drinks.

1 glass of Bourbon (I'm not kidding, that's how it is written, but use your discretion)
1/2 Tablespoon powdered sugar
4 sprigs of mint

In a julep cup, crush the mint leaves and sugar lightly together, add bourbon and fill glass with cracked ice; stir gently until cup is frosted. Decorate on top with three sprigs of mint.

these look so good. I'm not a bourbon fan. Is it sacrilege to make an MJ with Irish Whisky? We'd love to hear what real Kentuckians think of this, so please comment!

Garden and Gun was packed with Derby info including this authentic Louisville party appetizer.

Miss Hurley's Kentucky Beer Cheese from Louisville caterer Sherry Hurley

3/4 bottle of flat beer of your liking (in Kentucky, that would be BBC Altbier)
16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 medium onion, minced
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco or hot sauce of choice
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (in Kentucky, that would be from Bourbon Barrel Foods)
1/4 teaspoon course ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch cayenne
1 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)

Pour beer into a glass and allow it to sit until it loses all its effervescence.

Combine remaining ingredients in food processor and PULSE until slightly blended. The turn processor ON and slowly pour beer through food chute. Mixture will be soft, but will harden in refrigerator.

Make one or two days ahead of time, as the taste is better once flavors have time to blend. Serve in a ceramic crock or ramekin with pretzel rods, crackers, celery sticks, carrot sticks, and radishes. Act like you've lived in Kentucky all your life. (yes, that's part of the recipe).


Let me know if you try these recipes.

Have a great weekend.

thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan

if you'd like design help, send me an email!


  1. Can I chime in with my family's julep recipe?

    Put a few mint leaves in the bottom of a cup (preferably a silver/pewter julep cup, but you can use a glass). Add a teaspoon of sugar and muddle/crush the mint leaves with the sugar.

    Crush some ice so it's kind of chippy. Add to the cup and then add about 1-2 tbsp of simple syrup. Pour good bourbon over the ice. Add a stem of mint. Drink. It's a little less harsh this way.

  2. Thank you! We'll be sure to mix a few up this weekend!


Please do. I love to know what you think!