If what excites you most about the upcoming Kentucky Derby is horseracing and oversized hats, well, you’ve come to the wrong place. For us, the annual event is nothing less than an unabashed celebration of the mint julep, one of our favorite, seasonal cocktails. Considered the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby for over 70 years, the standard julep is made with bourbon, sugar, water, and mint, and traditionally served in a silver or pewter cup. But this in NYC, not the Deep South. And our cocktail scene is infinitely more exciting — so why limit yourself to sipping a single rendition of the centuries old tipple all night?
That’s why we’re placing our bets on Maison Premiere as a serious front-runner this Saturday, in a race to become the city’s top Kentucky Derby destination. The Williamsburg oyster house and cocktail den doesn’t do anything halfway—they currently boast the largest collection of premium absinthes in the city, and house the world’s most accurate working replica of the Absinthe Fountain, from the famed Olde Absinthe House in New Orleans. And don’t even get us started on their unprecedented $1 oyster happy hour, where patrons can choose from up to 30 varieties of briny mollusks, culled from a 60-strong list.
But back to the juleps. Maison Premiere’s special Kentucky Derby menu includes eight renditions of the classic cocktail, all featuring Four Roses Bourbon, for $9 apiece. Look for the Magnum Opus, made with Dry Vermouth, Rosemary Syrup and Grapefruit Bitters, the Conquistador Julep, which includes Raspberry Syrup and Amontillado Sherry, and the Run for The Roses Julep, featuring Crème de Menthe and Rose Flower Water. And that’s in addition to their regular line-up of innovative juleps, which skirt tradition even further. There’s the Spanish Crown, made with Lemongrass Mezcal, Sherry, Suze, Crème Yvette, Blueberry, and Lemon, the Zombie #6, with Plantation Rum, Goslings, Diplomatico, and Pineapple Lime Syrup, the Lord Wotton Julep, with Rhum JM, Santa Teresa Solera Rum, Oloroso, Aperol, and Bayleaf Honey, and the Flag Officer Julep, made with Grappa, Chamomile Syrup, and Champagne.
Add in Derby-friendly bites like crudite with Bendectine dip, bourbon cured ham sandwiches, and strawberry pecan cheesecake, and we’re already chomping at the bit for this Saturday. And we’re kind of looking forward to the big hats and horseracing too.
298 Bedford Ave, (347) 335-0446