For Your Inner Rule Breaker -- The Scofflaw
Dreamin' of the Caribbean -- The Pina Colada

Win, Place, Show -- The Mint Julep

Three is an important number in horse racing.  Think about it -- the Triple Crown, the number of the most common bets (win, place, or show), the name of a high reward bet (the trifecta), etc. Three is also the number of ingredients in the Mint Julep, which is famously associated with the Kentucky Derby.  Even though today is the running of the Derby, this is an excellent cocktail for any day of the year.

Savor an alcoholic Triple Crown winner.
Savor a Triple Crown champion in the cocktail world.

2.5 ounces Kentucky (duh) bourbon (Willett Pot Still is perfect)
6-8 mint leaves
.5 ounces super simple syrup

Combine the mint and super simple syrup into a cocktail glass, gently muddle, add the bourbon, add crushed ice, stir as if you're Secretariat coming down the home stretch at Churchill Downs, and enjoy the taste of liquid victory.  Garnish with a mint sprig.

Purists will say you have to use sugar cubes instead of simple syrup, and you have to use a silver or pewter cup.  Go ahead if you want to, but like the fancy hats you see at the Derby, they are not necessary.

A quick word about muddling -- the key word is gently. Don't beat the hell out of it.  The muddler serves double duty because you can use it to crush the ice (you can beat the hell out of this).  If you do not have a muddler, the bottom of a spoon or the handle of a knife will work.

Even though the traditional Mint Julep uses bourbon, for many years the Derby served one that did not contain bourbon.  Click here for a good article on the subject from Caroline Padilla at Eater.  The cocktail used Kentucky whiskey instead of Kentucky bourbon.  By law bourbon must be in aged in new charred oak barrels.   Just remember -- all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.

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