the perfect Derby cocktail?

Today on Twitter, an article about cocktails named after horses on the Derby trail this year went a little viral.  As delicious as most of these sound (and, specifically, the Hoppertunity!), they missed my favourite horse who has earned his way into the starting gate: Ride On Curlin.

As for the base liquor, bourbon is a given.  This is the Kentucky Derby, after all, and Blinkers Off really does enjoy their bourbon.  Ginger beer seems like a natural, as well: it’s the stormy component of a Dark and Stormy, and Ride On Curlin is out of the Storm Cat mare Magical Ride.  Those are the easy parts, but those could also apply to any Derby prospect closely related to Storm Cat: in other words, to a whole lot of horses.

Derbyologist has referred to him on several occasions as the Pride of Ellis Park: quite apt, since that’s where he broke his maiden second start with a track-record performance.  Ellis Park is in Henderson, Kentucky: John James Audubon spent several years there in the 1810s, and there’s a state park named after him there.  Hence, a reference to birds in the cocktail would be a beautiful thing, and something more specifically tied to Ride On Curlin: because how many horses kick off their Derby dreams with a win at Ellis?

Fortunately, I did not have to brainstorm this alone.  I talked to a couple of the bartenders at Old Fifth, my favourite local bourbon bar, to figure out a potent, potable take on Ride On Curlin that incorporates all these facts about my favourite horse on the Derby trail!  The guys at Old Fifth were more than happy to help with my little inquiry, and helped me flesh out the bird idea.  One of the bartenders suggested an egg white cocktail, since eggs come from birds.  Of course!  Then he suggested mixing the egg white with lime juice, though I suggested trying lemon instead since there is a bird-named cocktail, the Crow, which uses lemon juice as one of its main ingredients.

After all this conversation, I present to you the Ride On Curlin.  I am drinking one now, and it is delicious.

Ride On Curlin

2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. egg white
1/2 oz. lemon juice
ginger beer

Shake together the bourbon, the egg white, and the lemon juice.  Place a few ice cubes in a rocks glass, and pour the bourbon mixture in.  Fill the rocks glass with ginger beer.


Thank you, Old Fifth, for helping this delicious drink in honour of my favourite Kentucky Derby contender come together.  I know what I’m having on the first Saturday in May — and, for once, it’s not a mint julep!

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