I am so excited for this weekend! Saturday brings about the much anticipated, and widely renowned event; the Kentucky Derby! This annual race, begun in 1875, draws hoards of high society folk, dressed in their finery, donning bow ties and over-the-top hats, all to watch the best of the best race horses from around the world, compete to win the "Run for the Roses". Held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, this two minute sprint for the prize has become so immensely popular, that it even has it's own signature drink, the Mint Julep. Traditionally served to attendees of the race, this strong mixture of crushed ice, mint, bourbon, and simple syrup is a classic winner.
Over the years, the Derby Party has become quite a popular event for those wanting to celebrate and join in the revelry, without making the pilgrimage to Kentucky. As you know, I love any excuse to throw a party, and this no exception. We will be hosting our very own Derby Party at Casa Kekuna, complete with Mint Juleps, and a variety of classic Southern dishes. However, I know that not everyone is a fan of the Julep, or of bourbon. So, I have created a perfectly fitting cocktail, for our party goers with a more delicate palate. This pretty iced tea packs a punch, along with the fresh flavor of Hibiscus, making you feel as though you were enjoying a balmy Southern evening at the Downs.
2 oz Gin
4 oz Hibiscus Tea
1 oz Mint Simple Syrup
How to make it:
Start by making the tea. You can use my recipe for Hibiscus Sun Tea, or you can brew your tea on the stove top, and add the dried hibiscus wrapped in cheese cloth while the tea steeps, removing the hibiscus along with the tea bags. I like to use green tea for its lighter flavor, but you can use any tea you like. You can also add the dried hibiscus directly to the brewing tea, and carefully strain it out after. Allow tea to cool.
You will also need to make Mint Simple Syrup, which is one part water, to one part sugar, and roughly 10 mint leaves. You can add more mint for a stronger flavor. Bring water to a boil in a pot, then add sugar and mint leaves, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain into a clean, air tight container, and refrigerate for up to one month.
Now, to make your cocktail, simply fill a mason jar or glass with ice, add 2 oz of gin, 4 oz of tea, and 1 oz of simple syrup, stir, top with a sprig of mint, and enjoy while watching the race!
You can easily substitute vodka or bourbon for gin in this recipe. You may also want to try my Hibiscus Mint Julep recipe! Either way, these fresh and lovely cocktails are sure to be a hit at your party! Cheers!