Derby Days

Happy Kentucky Derby, y'all! 

As Southerners, we love any excuse to put on our Sunday best, break out our monogrammed julep cups and starched linen napkins, and gather with family and friends. The first weekend of May promises a celebration each year. With ladies donning their finest hats and gents in their seersucker suits, we all gathered to witness the 140 year old tradition known as the Kentucky Derby.  So, in the spirit of Derby Weekend, I'm sharing a couple of my favorite Southern recipes...Kentucky Bourbon Balls and Peach Mint Juleps! Y'all enjoy! 

Peach Mint Julep
10 mint leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups peach nectar
1 cup unsweetened tea
1/4 cup simple syrup (or mint simple syrup)
1 cup sparkling mineral water or plain sparkling water
Crushed ice
Peach wedges and mint leaves for garnish

Muddle the mint leaves and sugar in the bottom of the julep pitcher. Pour in the nectar, tea and syrup and give it a good stir. 

Add the sparkling water and gently stir again. Pour over crushed ice into julep cups. Add one shot of good bourbon to each cup. Garnish with peach wedges and mint leaves. 

Kentucky Bourbon Balls
(16-ounce) package powdered sugar
1/3 cup good bourbon
1/4 cup butter, softened
50 pecan halves (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon shortening

Stir together first 3 ingredients until blended. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Gently press pecan halves into 2 sides of each ball. Chill 8 hours.

Melt chocolate and shortening in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Dip bourbon balls in chocolate, and place on wax paper.

Chill 1 hour or until hardened.

My friends at Onward Reserve have shared their favorite Mint Julep recipe in the spirit of this Derby Weekend as well!