Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kentucky Derby Day At The Vault at Pfaff's

Since Saturday was the 137th racing of the Kentucky Derby, I decided to find a location where I could enjoy a Mint Julep or two before going into work. Luckily for me, The Vault at Pfaff's was having a Derby party just down the block from the bar. So I went by to say hi to the guys and gals.

The party down in the Vault was already in full swing when I arrived. There were many wide brimmed ladies hats and surprisingly very few seersucker suits. But since this is a blog about cocktails and drinking instead of fashion I'll move on to the cocktails. For the event there was a special Kentucky Derby themed cocktail list with three specialty cocktails. I had the two that were the most diverse of the trio. How can I start the festivities without having THE cocktail of the Derby: The Mint Julep.

The Mint Julep is a very simple cocktail to make. Usually you would make it in a Copper (or another metal) Julep cup but since this was a somewhat high volume event, not having the cup for the Juleps is excusable. The cocktail is made with four simple ingredients: Mint, Bourbon, Simple Syrup and Crushed Ice. For the bourbon portion of the cocktail, the Vault at Pfaff's used Larceny Bourbon (Click Here to see a number of different cocktails that utilize Larceny Bourbon).

Mint Julep
Since I had never had a Mint Julep before, I was curious as to how it tasted. The cocktail was nice and light. There was also a subtle sweetness to the cocktail that seemed to mingle well with the bourbon. Since I had to go to work right after, I tried to pace myself since I could see myself quickly sucking the Mint Julep down. On a hot summer day that can be a dangerous thing to do.

The second cocktail on the list (which I didn't try) was a Peach Mint Julep which contained Larceny Bourbon, Combier Peche Liqueur, Simple Syrup, Fresh Mint and House Made Peach Bitters. Why didn't I try it? I wanted to try out the third cocktail on the list which didn't contain Bourbon.

The third cocktail on the list was The Pineapple Julep which contained Bols Genever, House Made Raspberry Syrup and Fresh Pineapple Puree.

Pineapple Julep
According to the Bols Genever website:
The heart of Bols Genever is a precious whisky-like triple grain distillate made of corn, wheat and rye, which the Dutch call Maltwine. This flavor-rich distillate is carefully blended with a juniper-berry distillate and brought to 42% alcohol, a percentage carefully selected by our master distiller for a perfect combination of aroma and mouth feel...In the 19th Century, the import of genever was six times bigger than gin and many cocktails that are now made with gin, originally were mixed with genever.
The Genever was mixed with the Raspberry Syrup and when mixed with the Pineapple Puree and Crushed ice made for an interesting cocktail. The taste of the Genever and Raspberry was something I wasn't expecting and really can't describe. It was like having a raspberry flavored gin since most people have said that genever is an older form of gin. The addition of the Pineapple puree gave the cocktail a bit more of heft and body.

Like the Mint Julep, this was a light and refreshing cocktail that could be very dangerous if consumed in a unmoderated way. Slow and steady definitely wins the race...except for the Derby contestants. ;)

I highly recommend the Vault at Pfaff's. It is an nice space that has a tremendous selection of spirits and varied cocktails. Go and check it out next time you're in New York City.

Until Then Happy Drinking
Sisco Vanilla