Summer party season around the corner

The summer party season is around the corner, so it’s time to start planning your road trips. There are so many great events out there to choose from, it’s really just a matter of picking one or two and then lining things up to enjoy it as much as possible, whether you’re going with friends and looking to hook up with women or taking your gal.

The Kentucky Derby is always a classic party and it kicks things off in early May. The key here is deciding what kind of experience you want. If you’re going to the infield, then you’re looking at a truly wild time with plenty of drinking. If you’re looking for a classier experience where you can enjoy all the lovely Southern hotties in their elegant hats, then that’s a whole different affair where you’ll be dressing in classy clothes and enjoying Mint Juleps in the grandstand. Remember, the hats are a great way to meet women at this event, as it’s the perfect conversation starter. You’ll meet tons of women if you make the effort.

Of course if you’re heading to that race you’ll have betting on your mind as well. With the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby set to take place soon on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 we trust the guys at www.Kentucky-Derby-Online-Betting.com to give us their latest Kentucky Derby online betting predictions with live odds updates to get us ready for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

It’s been so long since we had a Triple Crown winner that everyone gets really excited when a horse wins the first two legs. With that in mind think about the Belmont Stakes as well in June if a horse has a chance to win the Triple Crown. That will suddenly elevate that event to one of the bigger parties of the summer.

Of course there are tons of music festivals as well, and the lineup at this year’s Lollapalooza with Eminem and the Kings of Leon leading the way. You won’t be drinking fancy drinks or looking at elegant hats at this event. It will be much more like the infield experience at the Derby. With the event in Chicago there will be plenty of opportunities to plan an awesome trip around the concert, with the bars on Rush Street and around Wrigley Field being great options.

So unless you’re the type to go with last-minute road trips, now is the time to start planning.

  

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Orb wins Kentucky Derby

The track was sloppy, so we can only imagine how messy things got as people partied in the infield. The Kentucky Derby is an event that everyone should experience at least once.

Orb emerged victorious coming from behind with a hard charge down the stretch. Now we can all root for the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, as Orb seems to have what it takes to at least compete. This win wasn’t a fluke.

Orb Jockey Joel Rosario discusses the race in the video above. We’re hoping they can keep this up for the Preakness.

  

The Bulleit Rye Mint Julep for Derby weekend

Bulleit Rye Mint JulepWe love celebrating the Kentucky Derby, and one critical component has to be enjoying a Mint Julep which is the drink you’ll see everywhere during Derby weekend.

Here’s a great recipe:

Ingredients:
1.5 oz. Bulleit Rye
2 oz. Stirrings Simple Syrup
Fresh mint leaves

Preparation: Muddle mint leaves, Stirrings Simple Syrup and crushed ice in rocks glass. Add Bulleit Rye and fill glass with ice. Pour into cocktail shaker, shake vigorously and serve in rocks glass with fresh mint garnish.

Of course, a big part of Derby weekend is betting on the race, and the folks at Bulleit teamed up with professional handicapper Tony Gold to give us six tips on picking a Derby winner:

1. Peaking performance: The most important rule of all is to find the horse that will peak in the Derby meaning, look for horses who improved with each race with either a strong first, second or third finish after a long layoff, with more room to improve. You can eliminate half the field simply by doing this.
2. Age factor: If the horse is two years old and hasn’t raced, the chances of it winning are slim. These are not fully mature horses and getting to a mile and a quarter requires much conditioning.
3. Time comparison: Log resulting times from each horse’s last prep race with the rest of the board.
4. Prep race outcomes: Look at what prep races historically produce the most winners.
5. Jockey experience: Consider the jockey’s skill set from previous races. The derby is a large field and a good experienced jockey can position a horse well early and avoid trouble, which can make or a break a horse’s chances.
6. Tactical speed: A Derby winner will jump early and can be found somewhere from mid-field to the second or third place by halfway around the course.

Of course, your girlfriend might do better just picking based on a cool name, but that’s what makes this race so much fun. Enjoy!

  

Looking forward to the Kentucky Derby

I remember about five years ago, one of the horses in the Kentucky Derby caught my attention because of its name. The horse was a 50-1 underdog, so I thought it would be fun to place a bet. Of course I never got around to it, and then I was pretty bummed to see the horse pull out a stunning upset.

A couple of year’s later, I got to attend the race and another long shot pulled off the upset, but this time I of course bet but picked the wrong horse.

Despite these losses, I still look forward to the Kentucky Derby every year. The urge to bet on Kentucky Derby winners is always there, but there’s so much more to the whole experience. I always loved watching it on TV, and I still love watching highlights of iconic horses like Secretariat and Seattle Slew winning the Derby. I remember as a kid when Affirmed beat Alydar, and I’ve been waiting for years for another Triple Crown winner. I was at the Belmont Stakes in 1989 when Sunday Silence was denied the Triple Crown by Easy Goer. Of course, I let my emotions get the better of me as I bet on history happening. Given the very long drought, it’s become an annual tradition as each Kentucky Derby winner is evaluated for the potential of winning the Triple Crown.

But after attending the event, I appreciate the Kentucky Derby mystique even more. You can see above how celebrities love the Derby as well, as lovely ladies like Marisa Miller pick out a sexy hat for the occasion as you can see in the video above. It’s amazing how many beautiful women come out in force over Derby weekend, so there are plenty of ways to enjoy this weekend. You’ll have to try a Mint Julep of course, but frankly I thought the drink was a bit overrated.

If you’re thinking of attending, make sure to book well in advance as this is an annual holiday in Kentucky. The place will be packed, but it’s a very appropriate addition to anyone’s Bucket List.

  

Drink of the Week pre-5/5 special, part 2: the Mint Julep

the Mint Julep

We conclude our May 4, 2012 doubleheader with one of the most legendary of all cocktails and the ultimate Derby Day tradition. It’s also a drink, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve only tried for myself in the last couple of weeks.

According to such experts as New Orleans bartender Chris MacMillian, the Mint Julep was to the 19th century what the Martini was to the 20th. As MacMillians also reminds us, this super classic drink’s roots actually go back far further — juleps were eulogized in 1634 by “Paradise Lost” poet John Milton in his “Comus,” which some of us old English majors have actually read, even if we don’t remember a word of it. Today, the bourbon, sugar and mint concoction is primarily associated with Southern belles and gents in old movies seeking a cool libation on a powerful hot day, not to mention the ultra-famed horse race which will once again be run tomorrow afternoon.

As I heard from numerous sources, however, the actual juleps served in recent years at the home of the Kentucky Derby have been anything but satisfying. If word on the cocktail street is correct, Churchill Downs has fallen prey to the #1 enemy of good cocktails — a pre-mix! Tragic, perhaps but also almost understandable given the enormous crowds who arrive each year for Derby Day. In any case, if you want a really good Mint Julep, you’ll have to go a high quality bar with a decent mixologist in residence or, of course, you may make one yourself.

The Mint Julep

2.5-3 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce simple syrup or 1 tablespoon sugar and a splash of water
About 5-8 fresh mint leaves
Lots of ice — preferably crushed.

Combine mint leaves, simple syrup or sugar (preferably superfine or powdered) and water in a rocks/old fashioned glass or, if you have one (I don’t) a traditional metal julep glass. Gently muddle the mixture, being careful not to overdo it as, we are warned, over-muddling mint can release some displeasing bitterness. Fill up your glass with ice, add the bourbon of your choice, and stir. Toast your favorite racehorse and sip slowly.

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There’s no doubt about it, I’m a piker when it comes to the Mint Julep. I’ve made a few decent versions of it but I don’t own the special sack — called a Lewis bag — or the mallet needed for making the crushed ice fine enough to make the julep a sort of highly alcoholic snow cone and I also don’t own a blender. Even so, this drink works fine with lots of ordinary ice, particularly if you’re a bourbon lover, as I am. I made some very good versions of it using the remainder of my Angel’s Envy — I still had some left over from my exploration of the Chicago Sour — but I had  good luck as well using some very inexpensive yet sweeter and highly drinkable Evan Williams brew. I’m sure Maker’s Mark or really any brand of bourbon you like a lot would work delightfully.

The only problems I encountered were when I tried to dial back the sweetness. None other than James Bond in “Goldfinger” ordered his drink tart. When I tried it that way, the flavors simply didn’t come together. Just because you own a license to kill and save the world once a year doesn’t mean you know everything.

Of course, I don’t know everything either. Something tells me the drink, as prepared a bit differently from me by Chris MacMillian himself below, was really something.

  

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