Celebrating the Bluegrass State on Derby Day
Get your fancy hat and stock up on your favorite bourbon, because the Kentucky Derby’s around the corner on May 2nd. Larder & Cupboard’s stocked with great Kentucky products and ideas so you can celebrate in style without making the trip to Louisville.
For you cheese table, check out Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese. From their farm 115 miles south of Louisville in Barren County, Kenny Mattingly and his family are regulars at the Louisville Farmers Market, where they sell their raw milk, traditionally-made cheeses.
Kenny’s Kentucky Swiss will make you forget every flavorless, rubbery Swiss cheese you’ve ever eaten. It’s strong enough to replace some of the Pecorino in your homemade version of Louisville’s beloved Hot Brown. Their decadent St. Jerome is strong and funky, a perfect match with wood-rich bourbons. It’s buttery richness and lingering sweetness pairs well with juleps.
We love Bourbon Barrel Foods. This Louisville-based company embraces the same small-batch ethos as Larder & Cupboard. The make a variety of seasonings that use reclaimed bourbon barrels in the production process.
Soy sauce, Worcestershire, and vanilla are aged in the barrels.
Dry seasonings – sugar, sea salt, pepper, and paprika – are given an extra flavor wallop by being smoked with fire fueled by old bourbon barrels. The results are deeper, smoky flavors. We love using all of these items in place of their less-smoky counterparts, but it’s fun to get lost in the company’s recipes. For Derby Day we like their salty Bourbon Pecan Sandies with smoked sea salt, barrel-aged vanilla, and smoked sugar (try the Mint Julep Sugar to tie them in with your cocktails).
Speaking of … Bourbon Barrel and Woodford Reserve make some fine cocktail fixings.
If you’re going to someone else’s Derby Day party, we’ve got the perfect gift for your host – a gift pack of Bourbon Barrel’s smoked seasonings in tiny tins.
In St. Louis, Juniper captures the flavors of the south, and we have a wide selection of their Gift Horse line.
Sorghum Butter’s a must-have for Derby Day brunch. Pimento cheese? That’s good for any time of day. Do a sampling with Gift Horse’s version and Martha’s Pimento Cheese. Or make Sean Brock’s pimento cheese with Milton Creamery’s Prairie Breeze, Irene’s Mayonnaise, and Juniper’s hot sauce. They ferment it in the barrels from their proprietary Four Roses Bourbon. And don’t miss Juniper’s next candy box, featuring a Derby-friendly treat.
While we don’t sell cookbooks, we have been perusing some of Kentucky’s finest in the store – “Splendor in the Bluegrass – A Cookbook by the Junior League of Louisville” and “The Kentucky Derby Museum Cookbook”. They’re both compilations of recipes from Louisville residents that are full of inspiration, including Hummingbird Cake. This now-classic made its debut at the 1978 Kentucky State Fair and went on to become Southern Living’s most-requested recipe of all time. The original Hummingbird Cake used a heavy dose of black walnuts, but they often get replaced with pecans since black walnuts can be hard to find. That’s not the case here, because we always have Hammons Black Walnuts from Missouri in stock.
Bourbon slush punch is the right way to cool off after the adrenaline rush of the race. We give our version a little twist with Quince & Apple’s Honey Lemon Syrup. It’ll knock the fancy hat right off your head.
Bourbon Slush Punch
Yield: 8 one-cup servings
1 cup water
2 iced tea bags
1 cup bourbon
¼ cup Quince & Apple Honey Lemon Syrup
1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
17 ounces small ice cubes
Mint springs or lemon slices for garnish
Bourbon Barrel Mint Julep Sugar for rimming
Boil water for tea bags. Steep until cool. Pour tea into a pitcher. Add bourbon, Quince & Apple Honey Lemon Syrup, and juices and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve: Place tea mixture and ice in a blender and blend until the ice is crushed and slushy. Pour into one-cup punch glasses. Garnish with mint, lemon, and Mint Julep Sugar.