Juleps, Horses and a Great Cause

Blackberry Mint Julep, recipe by Masa Urushido at Saxon & Parole, NYC.

The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports and the Mint Julep go together like New Year’s Eve and champagne.

Post time for the 140th Run for the Roses, the Kentucky Derby, is at 6:24pm on Saturday May 3 and, like many, we intend on watching the three-year old thoroughbreds compete with a time-honored libation in hand, a Mint Julep. Bourbon, mint (preferably spearmint) and simple syrup, served in a traditional, and now keepsake, silver julep cup has been the go-to cocktail at Churchill Downs since 1938.

While at one of our favorite NYC hot spots, with a decidedly horsey theme, Saxon + Parole, we met up with bar manager, Masa Urushido, who served us his spin on the classic cocktail, a Blackberry Julep. Messing with tradition? No way. Urushido’s addition of a spring-berry bounce, his take on the classic cherry bounce (by classic we mean made by Martha Washington for her husband, the General), consisting of blackberries, elderberries, sugar and Mellow Corn whiskey, brings a crisp freshness to this sweet southern cocktail.

Blackberry Julep

Recipe by Masa Urushido

2 oz Larceny Bourbon

½ oz spring berry bounce

Fresh spearmint leaves

Rub a good amount of mint leaves on the inside of a julep cup. Add the bourbon and the bounce and then crushed ice to about the half-way point. Give it all a good stir. Top with more crushed ice and garnish with a spring of mint, some fresh blackberries and a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar.

Yield: 1 serving


Saxon + Parole will be doing it up in true Kentucky-fashion on Saturday. You might want to consider hopping on the LIRR and joining in their festivities. In addition to their Juleps, we hear talk of Derby pie with bourbon whipped cream.

Prefer to stay local? Then head to Garden City where B.K. Sweeney’s Uptown Grille is holding their annual Derby Day Party. Place your bets at one of their Nassau OTB Fast Track wagering machines while enjoying classic Mint Juleps (made with bartender Nicky Cangemi’s homegrown mint) on their outdoor patio.

Win, place or show, we are always thinking locally. This year we will be rooting for the 3-year-old, New York-bred colt, Uncle Sigh. Co-owned by Chip McEwen’s Wounded Warrior Stables, the long shot’s experienced trainer is Merrick native Gary Contessa. Riding Uncle Sigh is Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., who lives near Belmont Park. Ortiz will be wearing yellow silks emblazoned with a purple heart, symbolic of the medal awarded to those wounded or killed in combat. Wounded Warrior Stables donates 10% of their purse earnings to charities such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Retrieving Freedom and the Navy SEAL Foundation. Go Uncle Sigh!