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Derby Day dishes: Bourbon French toast, juleps and more

May 4, 2012 at 1:25 PM ET

Bourbon ball French toast
TODAY.com
Bourbon ball French toast

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby, a.k.a. "The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports," on Saturday May 5 with a feast. So what if you're not a fan? It's just another excuse to eat great Southern-inspired food and sip on something special!

Bourbon Ball French toast woth strawberries and dark chocolate syrup and Kentucky bourbon whipped creamzz

Lynn Winter, owner of Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louiseville, Ky.

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TODAY
TODAY

"Superfecta" burger with ground beef, chorizo and BBQ pork and a black-eyed pea salad

Jo-Jo Doyle, Churchill Downs executive chef

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TODAY.com
TODAY.com

Jumbo lump crab with avocado, green goddess dressing and mango salad and roasted beef tenderloain with homemade Henry Bain sauce

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And of course, what Derby celebration would be complete without a julep (or two or three...) to sip on? Here, Robert Newton, chef and owner of Southern-inspired Brooklyn restaurant Seersucker, shares a classic mint julep and a strawberry rhubarb julep that he'll be serving up to Derby fans on Saturday.

Strawberry-rhubarb julep from Seersucker in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Seersucker
Strawberry-rhubarb julep from Seersucker in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Classic mint julep

  • 2 oz Elijah Craig bourbon
  • 1/4 oz plain simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • crushed ice

Mix bourbon and syrup with ice cubes and gently stir until cold. Pack crushed ice tightly in julep cup. Place the sprigs of mint firmly into the ice around the edge of the glass, they should be right at your nose when you take a sip.

Pour bourbon and syrup over the packed ice.

Plain simple syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients. Bring to a low boil. Let simmer until all the sugar is absorbed. Cool before use.

Seersucker’s strawberry-rhubarb julep

  • 2 oz Elijah Craig bourbon
  • 1/4 oz rhubarb simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • 1-2 strawberries
  • crushed ice
  • whole ice

Pack crushed ice tightly in julep cup. Muddle strawberries in mixing glass. Add bourbon and rhubarb syrup. Add whole ice (not the crushed ice in the julep glass). Stir and strain over crushed ice in julep cup. Garnish with large sprig of mint.

Rhubarb syrup

  • 2 cups rhubarb sliced thin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients. Bring to a low boil. Let simmer until the syrup is flavorful and all the sugar is absorbed. Strain, cool, and use.

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