The Derby Cocktail Recipe

The Derby Cocktail with Defiance Whiskey, Dolin Sweet Vermouth, and Orange Curaçao

This week’s Thirsty Thursday cocktail comes from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails, the Derby. When you think of the word derby, obviously horse racing comes to mind, but usually this is associated with the Mint Julep.  However, according to the book:

…the Futurity Cocktail or the Derby were actually named to commemorate the races (and horses).

This version of the Derby was originally published in the 1947 Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic:

Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice, strain into a rocks glass with one large cube, and garnish with a mint leaf.

As you can see, this is quite a departure from the classic julep, but seems equally as refreshing when trying to escape the heat on a balmy race day. The sweet vermouth and curaçao blend very well together, while the tart lime component really brightens the overall flavour. I chose Defiance because it’s a high rye bourbon rather than an oaky one as I wanted the spicy rye to augment the spices in the vermouth rather than just have the whiskey get drowned out in all the sweetness.

I’m sure some of you may have raised an eyebrow at the curaçao as it’s not blue, there are other orange curaçao’s out there and unless the recipe I’m using specifies the blue variety I tend to use something a bit fancier. When it comes to taste difference, depending on the brand, there isn’t a ton and the blue is entirely for effect and doesn’t add or change anything when it comes to the liqueur itself. You could very well make the Derby with a blue curaçao and it’ll simply look a bit more… exotic.


[Get Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails]

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