May 5, 2011

proof whisky, run for the roses, Vol. 32

Horse sense is the thing a horse has, which keeps it from betting on people. - W. C. Fields

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today, we take you to the Kentucky Derby, with a traditional southern cocktail and some recipes to match. It's Julep season guys. And even if you are not into horses, you can put on your best hat and enjoy these winning recipes with a brunch for Mom on Sunday. Have a Happy Mother’s Day! To learn more about our brand visit Become a friend on Facebook and Twitter to get last minute updates on tastings, parties & events.

proof’s mint julep 2 oz proof whisky - 1 oz water - 1 tsp or 1 cube white sugar - 4 sprigs fresh mint - LOTS of crushed ice
Muddle 3 mint sprigs, sugar, and water in the bottom of a Julep cup and fill with crushed ice. Pour in 2 oz proof whisky and stir. Garnish with remaining mint sprig. Drink with straw.

TIP: If you're planning on having more than just one julep (of course you are), make your own simple syrup ahead of time by adding equal parts sugar and boiling water to a container. Stir until dissolved, then refrigerate. (can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time) Add 1 ½ oz to drink instead of water and sugar cube.

They come in all sizes and finishes. Muddlers are a bartender’s friend – used much like a pestle to mash fruit, vegetables and herbs. Muddling is the best way to release all the natural flavours. They can be found at most specialty kitchen or bartending stores.

These classic silver-plated mint julep cups will look amazing as both drink holder or floral arrangement for mom. They can be purchased online from the US (try We got ours from Twos Company.


For 125 years, The Kentucky Derby has been everyone’s race – from the dapper men and ladies all in hats and sipping frosty mint juleps, to the laid-back infield crowd who picnic on fried chicken and toss around Frisbees. The Derby takes place at beautiful and historic Churchill Downs in Louisville on the first Saturday in May. This race for three-year-old horses made its debut in 1875 in front of about 10,000 spectators. The race typically draws about 155,000 fans. It is 2 km long and it is the first jewel in the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. (followed by the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes)  The Derby is frequently referred to as “The Run for the Roses’ because a garland of red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year


From spiced pecans and Brown Sugar Cream Cheese to Sweet Potato Hash, the Kentucky Derby website offers many traditional Kentucky recipes for you to try in your own kitchen. Our favourite is definitely the classic Hot Brown, which was introduced almost a century ago in the Historical Brown Hotel in Kentucky. You can serve it at your own Derby party or at a Mother’s Day brunch. (

In the 1920's, The Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Diners were growing rapidly bored with the traditional ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests' palates. His unique creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. (

Kentucky’s Legendary Hot Browns (makes 2 hot browns)
2 oz. whole butter, 2 oz. All Purpose Flour, 1 Qt. Heavy Cream, 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish, Salt & Pepper to Taste, 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast, 2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed), 4 slices of Crispy Bacon, 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.


And the perfect ‘light’ dessert to finish the meal
proof whisky balls
1 stick butter, 1 lb. box powdered sugar
, 1 cup chopped pecans
, 4 tbsp. proof whisky
, 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
, 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
(May require more chocolate for dipping.)
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the chopped pecans, mixing well. Add the proof whisky. Shape into balls using about 1 tsp. of the mixture for each ball. (You may need to let the batter sit in the fridge for an hour or two before you can easily roll it into balls.) Refrigerate overnight. Next day, melt semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl until smooth. Dip the chilled balls in the chocolate and place on waxed paper in the refrigerator to harden

If you cannot make the trip to Kentucky, you can bet on your favourite thoroughbred contender right here in the GTA. We have Woodbine Racetrack, Greenwood Off-track Wagering on Queen Street, Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville or you can watch the races in style from Bay Street at the upscale Turf Lounge. (

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 15 degrees
Sunday: Mainly cloudy and a high of 15 degrees

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