Cigar Aficionado

Sometimes You Get More Than You Pay For

Case in point: the promotional gift that just arrived on my desk with an invitation to a luncheon celebrating tourism in the state of Kentucky. It’s a miniature baseball bat from Louisville Slugger, about 15 inches long. Normally, you have to tour the factory to get a piece of wood like this, and while it may not seem very useful, I’ve found that if you like to serve Mint Juleps at this time of year, you can’t have enough of them.

The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, which works out quite nicely since it celebrates the springtime return of mint just at the time that the Run for the Roses is run (this year on May 5) and the state’s contribution to the spirits world (Bourbon).

But what about the Louisville Slugger?

Well, listen to the recipe and you shall hear. In advance, make simple syrup (boiling equal parts water and granular cane sugar with some fresh mint leaves). Drip two to four teaspoons of the syrup into a highball glass. Drop four to five mint leaves on top. And this is where the Louisville Slugger comes to bat: muddle the mixture in the bottom of the glass, using the bat to crush the leaves into the syrup. Just get in there and mush everything together, this is what a bat of this size is made for.

Fill the glass almost to the top with crushed ice (and you can use the bat in the capacity as well, if you don’t have something mechanical to do the job. Add two to three ounces of your favorite Bourbon (this is no time to stint with the cheap stuff, pour the aged Pappy Van Winkle you’ve been saving or some Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Evan Williams, Bulleit, Blanton’s Single Barrel or, if you really want to blow the roof off, Booker’s). Top with more crushed ice or some water or soda and some more mint leaves.

Drink, watch horses race, drink some more.

Thank you, Louisville Slugger. Thank you, Kentucky.

" Also lets not forget Kentucky and Louisville own.Hunter S. Thompson and his work on the Derby, Bourdon, and the Decandent and Depravity." —May 5, 2007 14:08 PM