How to Cheer Like It’s Churchill Downs

New Englanders may not have the equal enthusiasm for the Kentucky Derby as our Southern neighbors do, but we do fully appreciate any opportunity to wear nice hats and sip fancy cocktails. So, this Derby day, Saturday, May 5, 2018, be sure to gather friends around to enjoy the excitement on the field and the celebs along the orange carpet. Follow all of the excitement at Churchill Downs.

To make sure your bar is up to speed and ready to entertain in high style. We turned to Justin Pasha, founder of The Cup Bearer and silver-trophy-deserving cocktail maven in Fairfield County. He and his team of bartenders have won over fans at parties and events, especially some of the most anticipated seasonal gatherings. For example, he will be back for polo season. “My company will be in charge of bar service for all of Greenwich Polo Club this season,” he tells us.  The club’s season opens June 10. Until then, he’s keeping the details close to his chest. Yet he does reveal one small teaser: “The club is really going all out in a number of ways to create Sunday Polo experiences the towns never seen before. The Cup Bearer’s roll will play a huge part in it. It’s very exciting!”

Until then, Pasha wants to make sure you Kentucky Derby celebration is a hit—especially as it falls on the same day as Cinco de Mayo festivities. “My bartenders will be making these two cocktails at all of our Derby/ Cinco parties this year,” he says.

Below, he generously provides the instructions and measurements for making batched pitchers, because with these cocktails and these events, you can be sure to be celebrating in a pack this weekend.

Paloma by The Cup Bearer

Paloma (Classic Mexican Cocktail)

2 cups tequila

2/3 cups mezcal

2 2/3 cups grapefruit juice

1 cup lime juice

1 cup water

3 tbs agave nectar (Or to taste)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

7 oz Q-Grapefruit tonic

DIRECTIONS (12 servings)

In a large pitcher, stir together the liquor, grapefruit juice, lime juice, water, and agave. Serve over crushed ice, top with Q-Grapefruit. Garnish with salted rim and something beautiful.

Mint Julep by The Cup Bearer

Mint Julep (Famous Derby Day Cocktail)

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

4 bunches mint, ends trimmed

2 1/2 cups bourbon

crushed ice

DIRECTIONS (10 servings)

Combine sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and submerge 3 bunches of mint. Let stand at least 1 hour. Strain.

Stir together the mint syrup and bourbon in a pitcher.

Pour 4 ounces of cocktail over plenty of crushed ice; garnish with a mint sprig and serve with a straw. Garnish with mint bouquet and serve!

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