In anticipation of Kentucky Derby weekend, we have compiled a list of the top 7 southern cocktails. Try one of these iconic drinks while cheering for your horse, on your next dinner date, or on a Tuesday.
Perhaps the most recognizable Southern cocktail, the Mint Julep conjures images of seersucker suits and outrageous Kentucky Derby hats. Made with muddled mint, sweet bourbon and simple syrup, packed with crushed ice, this thirst-quenching drink will give you reprise from the heat in no time. The Mint Julep is easily the most popular cocktail at Churchill Downs.
Beleive it or not, for the past 13 years, Woodford Reserve has sold $1,000 mint juleps at the Kentucky Derby. These cocktails are served in highly-coveted limited-edition cups, raising money for charity.
This drink is a combination of cognac or rye whiskey, absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters, and sugar, although bourbon whiskey or Herbsaint are sometimes substituted. Some claim it is the oldest known American cocktail, with origins dating back to pre-Civil War New Orleans.
Ramos Gin Fizz
The Ramos Gin Fizz is the ultimate shaken, not stirred cocktail. No cocktail inspires more ire from bartenders than the labor-intensive Ramos Gin Fizz, which requires dry shaking for a full 12 minutes to create a pillowy blanket of egg white froth. Be patient when you order this drink and be sure to thank your bartender. Its worth the effort and the wait.
The Hurricane is made of a mix of dark rum, passion fruit syrup, fresh lemon juice and a sprig of mint for garnish. The punch-red drink was a necessary creation in the ’40s when more desired liquors, like whiskey and bourbon, were hard to come by and bar owners were forced to load up on cases of rum to get their hands on the brown stuff.
A Grasshopper is a sweet, mint-flavored, after-dinner drink. The name derives from its green color, which comes from crème de menthe. This cocktail consists of equal parts green crème de menthe, white crème de cacao, and cream—shaken with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass.
This cocktail was invented in the Florida Keys in the 1950s. The bartender had some extra inventory lying around and wanted to make room for new bottles on the shelves. He mixed together everything he had and the Rum Runner was born. It was named after the bootleggers, “Rum Runners”, who smuggled booze during Prohibition.
The recipe is meant to be flexible to suit your individual taste, but the main ingredients should remain the same.
- Dark rum, blackberry liqueur, crème de banana liqueur, orange juice, grenadine, and crushed ice in a blender.
- Blend until slushy and pour into glass.
- Kick back and enjoy a sip paradise.
Mixed on a base of bourbon with a little Cointreau, a healthy dose of bitters and an indulgent splash of Champagne.