This Saturday, the Emerald City will become the Mint City for the running of the 140th Annual Kentucky Derby. Since 1938, mint juleps have been the signature quaff of the "greatest two minutes In sports," with over 120,000 juleps expected to be served this year.
Juleps inherited their name from julabs, an Arabic rose water beverage used for medicinal purposes. In Europe, mint replaced roses, then the Americans swapped British gin for their Yankee booze: bourbon. Historically, sweet juleps were sipped by Southern farmers as an alternative to coffee. Sounds like the perfect Seattle cocktail, especially with this week’s warm, summery temps. Here’s where to get your mint medicine and root for the race this weekend:
Since opening in 2009, this Capitol Hill gastropub has hosted a killer Kentucky Derby party. The event is sponsored by Michters, a revered Kentucky distiller, so expect handcrafted bourbon, rye, and whiskey cocktails from Tavern Law’s master mixologists. A complimentary buffet and costume contest will get you in the racing spirit. Their Derby event will run from 12 to 5 p.m., on May 3rd.
This Madison Valley neighborhood joint's annual Kentucky Derby party is in its lucky-number-seven year. Here, bartenders will be slinging Makers Mark mint juleps and specialty drinks. Come dressed in your Southern finery to nab a "best hat" prize, or go all out for the "Seattle Slew Best Dressed for Derby Excellence Award." There's no cover for this event, which runs on Saturday, May 3rd from 2 to 5 p.m.
For mint juleps without the races, try Southern food stalwart Kingfish Café, Captiol Hill cocktail emporium Liberty, where the ice cold mint juleps are served in traditional, pewter cups, or Fremont's Roux, where juleps are served with cognac and rum instead of bourbon for a refreshing spin on the classic Derby drink.