Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When It's Julep Time in Gotham

I wrote up a short little piece for Time Out recently targeting good places to grab a tasty Mint Julep on Derby Day (this coming Saturday, FYI). I focused to two sorts of Derby destinations: the ones where you can find a benchmark rendition of the Derby’s official drink, where the shaved ice is plentiful, the mint is fresh and your drink will be served in the traditional silver cup; and places where you'll find lesser Juleps, but appropriate house-party atmosphere. For the former, I would add to the places listed below Brooklyn's Clover Club.

Bar Hop

Q Where can I get mint juleps on Derby Day?
—Tara Lewy, West Village

A According to lore, the mint julep—a mix of bourbon, sugar, mint and crushed ice—became the Kentucky Derby’s official drink in 1938, when Churchill Downs started selling it in souvenir glasses for 75¢. The price may have gone up since then, but the $10-and-up renditions at Greenwich Village’s Little Branch (20–22 Seventh Ave South at Leroy St, 212-929-4360) and Death & Company (433 E 6th St between First Ave and Ave A, 212-388-0882) in the East Village are textbook. For a different kind of authenticity, try Floyd, NY (131 Atlantic Ave between Clinton and Henry Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 718-858-5810) or Union Hall (702 Union St at Fifth Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-638-4400), both owned by Kentuckians. On race day, Saturday 2, visit Union Hall for live bluegrass and $3 Maker’s Mark mint juleps. At Floyd, you’ll find free snacks, like pimento-cheese sandwiches, in addition to juleps. And the race. Don’t forget that.—Robert Simonson

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