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Belmont Park to host bourbon festival on Kentucky Derby day

A bourbon tasting and simulcast of the Kentucky

A bourbon tasting and simulcast of the Kentucky Derby will be held at Belmont Park on May 4. Credit: Joseph Caggiano

There will be a taste of Churchill Downs at Belmont Park on Kentucky Derby day.

The first leg of racing’s Triple Crown will be run on May 4. It will be celebrated with mint juleps in Louisville and at a bourbon festival at Belmont. More than 30 bourbons will be available at the unlimited tasting. And the race will be simulcast live.

In addition to the bourbon tasting, the Belmont event, organized by Starfish Junction Productions of Bay Shore, will include tastings of bourbon barrel-aged craft beers. The festivities are from 3 to 7 p.m. Ticket holders may enter Belmont starting at 11 a.m.

You must be at least 21 years old to participate. Purchase tickets now for $65 plus tax and fees; on event day, it will be $80, plus tax and fees. Designated-driver tickets are $12, plus tax and fees. Designated drivers also must be 21 or older. Photo identification is required. Neither children nor pets are permitted.

For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit bourbonatbelmont.com

The mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. The beverage of the Preakness Stakes to be held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on May 18 is a black-eyed Susan, made with bourbon, vodka and peach schnapps; the Belmont Stakes’ cocktail is the bourbon-based Belmont jewel, which succeeded another bourbon beverage, the Belmont breeze. The Belmont Stakes will be run June 8.

But The Derby mint julep, which traditionally was served in a silver or pewter cup, is the refresher of the moment. Here’s a recipe for it.

MINT JULEP

This recipe is adapted from Salvatore Calabrese’s “Classic Cocktails” (Sterling Epicure, 2015)

Place 4 or 5 mint leaves in a julep cup or highball glass. Add 1 teaspoon superfine sugar and 1 tablespoon cold water.

Crush the mint with the back of a spoon until the sugar is dissolved and the scent of the mint is released. Add 2 ounces of bourbon. Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir.

Garnish with a sprig of mint on the rim of the glass, add a straw or a stirrer and serve.

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