As a girl who understood betting terms like exacta and trifecta before I knew how to ride a bike, I still get butterflies at the beginning of Triple Crown season. Growing up in the tri-state area, I never experienced the haute horse couture of the Kentucky Derby firsthand; instead, I cut my gambling teeth at that final, ever-elusive jewel in the Crown, the Belmont Stakes, held at Belmont Park in Long Island, NY. For the uninitiated, the Stakes isn't the same kind of fancy hat/Mint Julep affair as the Derby -- it's more of a denim/Bud Lite on tap kind of hang -- and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Still, it would be poor form to toast this year's Derby winner with anything but a Kentucky-fried cocktail, and it turns out there are several appropriately southern libations besides the traditional julep to choose from. So put on your big 'ole bonnet and start drinking (warning: That hat's gonna be a little lopsided after a couple of these concoctions).
The Scarlett O'Hara from eHow
Easy enough for the most mediocre of mixologists, all you need for this one is ice, two ounces of Southern Comfort, one ounce of cranberry juice and half an ounce of lime juice. Shake, strain, and done! As God is your witness, you'll never go thirsty again!
Swamp Juice from Liqueur-Drink-Recipes
Some Swamp Juice recipes call for straight-up grain alcohol. Assuming you want to avoid passing out before the ponies cross the finish line, try using two ounces of orange juice, two ounces of pineapple juice, one ounce of vodka, one ounce of blue curacao and one ounce of triple sec. Mmmm, green.
Trailer Trash from Bar None Drinks
Sweet and easy, just like a ... never mind. Half an ounce of SoCo, half an ounce of peach schnapps, and one ounce of 7-Up'll do ya! Serve with a lemon wedge if you're feeling classy.
The Rebel Yell from Drinks Mixer
More, more more! Throw two ounces of bourbon, half an ounce of triple sec, one ounce of lemon juice and an egg white into a shaker with some ice, toss till frothy, strain and serve.
Witchy Woman from Imbibe
Nothing julep-y about this girl besides the mint sprig garnish. Mix one and-a-half ounces of Campari, one ounce of white rum, one ounce of orange juice, half an ounce of lime juice and a dash of bitters and pour over a tall glass of crushed ice. Top with mint and an orange slice.
What will you be toasting the winning horse with?
Image via ambernambrose/Flickr