The Mint Julep has been the official drink for the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century. How did this drink consisting of mint, sugar, and bourbon achieve such fame?
History of the Julep
“Julep” comes from the Persian for “rose water”. It describes a sweet drink used to mask the taste of medicine. Truth be told, mint juleps were the original energizing morning drink! Horse trainers who woke up early would prepare the drink to help face the day. Eventually, the julep started showing up at horse races. In 1938, Churchill Downs started charging twenty-five cents once they noticed the mint julep glasses disappearing. Those cups are the leading Kentucky Derby collectible. It is tradition for the Kentucky Governor to use the mint julep sterling silver glass to toast the winning Derby owner. KentuckyDerby.com explains that during the Kentucky Derby, 120,000 mint juleps are served over the two-day period. That’s eighty tons of shaved ice and 2,200 pounds of fresh mint! Since 2006, one has the option of purchasing a custom-made mint julep served in a gold-plated cup with a silver straw for $1,000! Proceeds from this extra-premium drink go to care for retired race horses.
Mint Julep Recipe
Here at Oscar’s you can find a similar, more moderately priced, premium drink. If you are watching The Derby at the Plaza Hotel and Casino, come into Oscar’s Steakhouse for a perfectly muddled mint julep using Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of The Kentucky Derby! We also enjoy the mint julep mixed with Blanton’s Bourbon because of the festive bottle pictured below. Or make your own with the following recipe:
10 Mint Leaves
¼ oz Simple Syrup
2 oz Woodford Reserve or Blanton’s Bourbon
¼ oz Soda Water
1 Lime Wedge
Muddle mint leaves with simple syrup. Pour over crushed ice. Add bourbon. Add sprits of soda water. Mix well. Garnish with mint leaf and lime wedge. Cheers!
Tasting a bit of Vegas has never been so thrilling
Many of our locals and tourists alike find the history and legacy of Vegas thrilling and part of the charm of Sin City. For those who may not be as familiar with the namesake of this iconic steakhouse in Downtown Las Vegas at the Plaza Hotel & Casino, let us indulge you. Oscar Goodman served as the “Happiest Mayor in the Universe” for Las Vegas from 1999 to 2011. However it’s his former career that has audiences captivated. In his career as a defense attorney, he represented defendants accused of being some of the leading organized crime figures in Vegas. To get in touch with that side of Goodman just watch the 1995 movie Casino which portrayed a couple of his former clients and in which he has a cameo appearance. Fast forward to present day and Goodman is now the namesake behind the Oscar’s Beef-Booze-Broads steakhouse. Be sure to checkout the photo montage of his careers as you saunter into the lounge and restaurant. Now sit back and enjoy the libations and just imagine what it must have been like and order like he would.
What Oscar Drinks
5 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin (& then more Bombay Sapphire gin)IceA slice of jalapeno Big, strong and the perfect drink…at least according to Oscar. (If you have an opportunity see Oscar out and about this is what you will likely find in his hand!)
4 ounces sparkling wine1 ounces St. Germain liquor½ ounces Vodka This drink is tart, fizzy and just a little on the dry side. Perfect for toasting Oscar’s “forty years and still going strong”!
2 oz. vodka 1/2 oz. lime juice fresh 1/2 oz. simple syrup Muddled (fresh) strawberries & blackberries The result is a sweetness with a refreshing citric zing. This drink truly makes you feel like it is “a long time coming and now a huge success”. Come on in for “Happiest Hour” from 4-6 pm Monday thru Friday in Oscar’s Lounge for half priced drinks and select appetizers. At the bar or over dinner in the iconic glass dome, the bartenders will mix up one of these iconic spirits or your own favorite. When you’re looking for a true Vegas experience, Oscar’s has both the goods and the history!
We have missed you and are excited to announce that the Plaza Hotel & Casino will be reopening on Thursday, June 4.
To celebrate and welcome our guests back, we are offering a special Old School Fun getaway package. To save on your stay, upgrade your room, enjoy a daily food credit and get free slot play, click here.
And please know that your health and safety remain our top priority, and we have implemented numerous safety protocols to align with federal, state, and local health guidelines. To learn more, click here.
Welcome back to the Plaza – the place to be downtown and where vintage Vegas lives!