A Louisville resident since 2001, the acclaimed Whiskey Dry and MilkWood bar director Stacie Stewart knows that by the time the Kentucky Derby Festival—the city’s three-week bourbon-soaked lead-up to the Run for the Roses—wraps on May 5, even the most enthusiastic mint julep drinker will experience twinges of fatigue. “People are ready to lighten up their palates,” Stewart says. “So I created this recipe—it’s a little spicy, a little sweet, and a little bubbly. It’s refreshing.”
Food & Drink
The Fourth Turn
This light bubbly take on the julep is the perfect Derby weekend closer
Photo: Peter Frank Edwards
For the cocktail:
3 parts Maker's Mark® bourbon
2 jalapeño slices, seeded
5–6 mint leaves
1 part strawberry syrup (recipe below)
Sparkling wine (Mionetto® Prosecco is recommended), as desired
For the strawberry syrup:
1 qt. strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Press the mint and jalapeño into a mixing glass several times just until smashed. Add strawberry syrup and stir. Add Maker’s Mark® bourbon and ice and stir again. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass over a large ice cube. Top with sparkling wine as desired.
For the strawberry syrup: Cook the strawberries in the sugar and water over medium heat until reduced. Syrup should coat the back of a spoon. Lightly press the strawberries and allow to cool. Strain through a coffee filter to remove solids. Add balsamic vinegar to strained syrup.
Meet the Bartender
Stacie Stewart honed her cocktail smarts behind the bar at Louisville standard-bearers Proof, Harvest, and Decca before joining the team at chef Edward Lee’s accolade-grabbing MilkWood restaurant, where she is now the bar director. In early 2018, Stewart also helped Lee open Whiskey Dry—the bar stocks two hundred vintages of the brown liquor with bottles from Japan, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and Kentucky, naturally.