Celebrating Derby Day With Jim Beam
With the Kentucky Derby coming up on May 2 we start thinking seriously about bourbon. As Fred Noe, Jim Beam's seventh-generation distiller, puts it, "It ain't a Derby without bourbon, and it ain't bourbon if it's not from Kentucky." Noe knows whereof he speaks, given that Jim Beam, which dates back to 1795 and is now he world's No. 1-selling bourbon, is located in Louisville not far from Churchill Downs where the Derby has been held since 1875. In addition to the classic Jim Beam Bourbon we're all familiar with however, there are some other variations which are well worth trying on an important bourbon-drinking occasion like the Derby: Jim Beam 7-Year, Jim Beam Black, and Jim Beam Choice (above, left to right).
Jim Beam Black is the oldest of the trio. Eight years of aging make for a complex, sophisticated taste, with aromas of toffee and tobacco and flavorful notes of oak and toasted grains. Jim Beam Choice, aged five years, is rounded and mature with added complexity and depth from charcoal filtering. The strong aroma of oak and sweet nuttiness is balanced by a rich, creamy flavor. Jim Beam 7-Year is ideal for drinking straight up or on the rocks, and it makes a mean mint julep, with notes of caramel and vanilla. In 2008, Derby-goers consumed nearly 10,000 bottles of bourbon, mixed into 120,000 mint juleps, the Derby's official drink.
To help celebrate on Derby Day, here's a new variation on the mint julep which you can make with your favorite variety of Jim Beam. Bottoms up:
Jim Beam Jule-Up
4 parts Jim Beam Bourbon
3 parts Simple Syrup
3 parts Fresh Lime Juice
6 each Fresh Mint leaves (Medium size)
*note: 1 part = ½ oz.