Opening Day at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky and a Bourbon Drop Cocktail
Mr. Bunkycooks lived and worked in Louisville, Kentucky for ten years, so he knows a thing or two about these races. Keeneland’s Opening Day is very special, especially since this year was the 75th anniversary, so we were excited to be able to attend.
Keeneland is often used as a backdrop for horse racing films, most of the racing scenes from Seabiscuit (2003) were filmed at Keeneland.
One of the fixtures of Keeneland is Bucky Sallee, the bugler that calls the jockeys and horses to the post. Bucky has called every race for over 49 years. He missed only one race during that time. When you listen to the call to the post played by Bucky, he is really playing Boots and Saddles and not the traditional “Call to the Post”. I guess after 49 years no one is going to try and change him now.
If you have never been to Lexington, this area is just spectacular to see. There are gorgeous horse farms everywhere you look, beautiful rolling hills, some of the greenest grass I have seen (so why is it called bluegrass?) and of course, lots of beautiful horses.
Kentucky is not only known for it’s horse racing, it is also known for it’s bourbon, so naturally, there are many bourbon cocktails during the racing season. We made a Mint Julep at The Brown Hotel several weeks ago, so I thought I would try a variation on that cocktail.
The Bourbon Drop is a wonderful blend of excellent bourbon (we prefer Woodford Reserve), a bit of sweet, a hint of lemon and mint. I changed the recipe ever so slightly. It is not minty like the Mint Julep but just has a subtle mint flavor from the fresh sprig of mint that you use to decorate your glass. We really enjoy it.
With just a few days left until the Kentucky Derby, you might want to get yourself a hat (ladies only, I hope), make a Bourbon Drop and a Hot Brown, order a Derby Pie and wait for the race to begin!
Thank you so much to our friend Craig for the invitation to Keeneland and including us in this memorable day.
5 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon (I used 4 ounces)
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 candy lemon drop (I omitted this because I don’t care for very sweet cocktails)
1 sprig fresh mint
Combine the bourbon, simple syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Pur into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the lemon drop (if you use it) and sprig of mint.
Chef Rodney Jones
This is so cool, thanks for sharing
Wow! The pictures are great! Thanks again for sharing the Derby Day events
and History with us. We continue to enjoy this post!
I love Louisville Kentucky Gwe and what wodnerful pics of you and BEAUTIFUL horses. What a fun day! And the cocktail is ah-mazing 🙂
I have finally let loose the project I have been working on…can’t wait to hear what you think 🙂
chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
Ugh..sorry about the typos 🙂
That sounds great!!!
You were right I would love this post! Garrett Gomez is another one of my favorite jockeys who rides at Del Mar during our season. Opening Day at the races is so exciting, with all the people watching, wild hats, and gorgeous horses. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go try one of those bourbon drops!
That is one of my favorite memories of college! I went to Opening Day at Keeneland with a “well-to-do” college boyfriend (what ever happened to him?)–it was complete and utter class all the way. There are no people like Kentucky Horse People. We were in the clubhouse and our glasses were filled immediately after we took a sip–hard to keep your coffee going the way you like it–but great for champagne. Thanks for bringing back that memory–a sharp contrast to my Derby infield experience a few years later (I still have nightmares about it). Love the horse racing posts…
My niece’s husband is a vet & a few years ago worked at Keeneland, so when we went, we were given the grant tour & royal treatment. Thank you for bringing back some of my favorite memories.
Looks like you had a mighty special time here Gwen. I always feel like I’ve been there with you on these trips. I really love the finish line shot. Motion is always fun to shoot.
BTW Bourbon on the rocks was my all time favorite drink! I liked it so well it scared me lol
Oh Lovely! This has inspired me to create a Derby post! It is such a great event!!! Love the pics!
your pictures are way better than mine, but i linked to you in my blog post! xo
mighty fine drink and fun post… have never been to the horse races but the excitement would be something else, so much different that the dog races we have around here…. no comparison at all
Keeneland would fit in nicely with a trip to the Bourbon Trail! Hmm, Woodford Reserve – a trip to the liquor store is in order. Thanks for sharing yet another beautiful post.