This recipe was inscribed on a blue and white stoneware pitcher from Penny Chenery’s home. We adapted it slightly by adding triple sec, an orange-flavored liqueur, as a nod to our birthday boy Secretariat!
Boil down ˝ part sugar and water and muddle with crushed fresh mint to make simple syrup
Place 2 tablespoons of simple syrup in bottom of julep cup (or Derby glass)
Add crushed ice, one-half jigger of triple sec and one jigger or more of fine bourbon (Penny's favorites were Maker's Mark and Woodford Reserve)
If you like more of a spritzer, add a splash of club soda or tonic water.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves and an orange slice and toast Big Red!
Historic note: The presentation of the mint julep was revered as a work of art at the “field day” spring races hosted by Major Thomas Walker Doswell at his Thoroughbred stable in Virginia in the late 1880s. The locality of Doswell is named for his family, who produced some of the most famous racehorses of the day, especially Planet, who won 27 of 31 races. The Doswells were also relatives of Christopher Chenery, who would later found Meadow Stable nearby.
As published in The Doswell Dynasty" by Sarah Wright, this legendary mint julep was "served in sterling silver goblets and imbibed through straws of solid silver. The urn containing the ingredients was topped by a pyramid of crystal snow ice. It was artistically decorated with fruits and flowers such as grapes, sliced peaches, strawberries, roses, carnations and violets." No doubt, it was indeed a concoction of beauty.