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!
The Plaza has many options when it comes to dining: Oscar’s Steakhouse, Pop up Pizza, Hash House a Go Go and a food court with McDonalds, Subway, and Zabas Mexican Grill. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of delicious options. Here are a few suggestions to get you started when looking for vegetarian options at the Plaza.
Pop Up Pizza is the best of the Downtown Pizza places. Pop Up Pizza offers a large variety of veggie pizzas and even vegan cheese upon request. They also have vegan donuts and ice cream! This is an easy and delicious choice for vegetarians.
Subway offers veggie subs, and salads and can be found in the Plaza food court. The Veggie Delight is a great healthy choice. Plus, Subway is open 24 hours which makes it easy to stick to your vegetarian diet while you enjoy your stay at the Plaza.
Oscar’s Steakhouse has an assortment of signature salads and sides that are hearty enough to be a meal. Try Jose Leonardo’s Roasted Corn Brulee, Shmuley’s Extraordinary Mac & Cheese or Au Gratin Potatoes. They are delectable vegetarian options.
Hash House a Go Go
Hash House a Go Go has plenty of vegetarian options to choose from as well. The Portobello Mushroom Burger is a guest favorite! All their entrees are made to order which makes it easy for you to change any dish to fit your dietary needs. Want another great recommendation? The Polenta with melted brie, fresh asparagus and sundried tomato pesto is a great vegetarian choice or, choose any meal and ask them to leave off the meat.
When you are in Las Vegas and choosing one of the many Downtown Vegas hotels, know that the Plaza Hotel and Casino has you covered for all of your vegetarian needs.