kentucky derby bourbon punch

touchdown in springtime-kentucky and you are served a meter of pure poetic lore.
it's blossoms of dogwood and red bud trees.
it's mares and their colts behind wooden fences.
and horse races where ladies wear hats.
a bluegrass spring guarantees a genteel invitation to a garden party on a veranda where guests eat benedictine sandwiches, and drink kentucky's champagne from bourbon country.
last sunday, jim and i helped with just such a party . . . a shower for dear friends. the invitation said it would be from two o'clock until four . . . it lasted until five . . . that happens a lot in ky in the spring.
my part was to fill the punch bowl. so i consulted my resident mix-master-husband who sent me to the pages of our mr. boston official bartender's and party guide for ideas. i fanned through the first section of recipes which is all about bourbon, and a call-to-post-jingle went off in my head: afternoon garden party, kentucky in springtime, bourbon it should be.
          again i sought advise from jim who is a devotee of bourbon (he can likely name a brand and its proof in a blind taste test). as creative director for the same mr. boston guide i held in my hands, the project came to jim from chris morris who is now the master distiller and resident historian for brown-forman. chris taught jim about bourbon's mix of grain mash, about charred oak barrels, clocking in the warehouse, and about the angels' share that evaporates during the aging process. i have listened to the two of them talk for hours about bourbon, scotch, and the different kinds of whiskey . . . with and without an "e".
this recipe is based on the mr. boston guide's  "kentucky punch". we cut way back on the sweet ingredients and poured in club soda with a few jiggers of maraschino cherry juice instead. we call it kentucky derby bourbon punch and you can sip one in the morning before going to the track / or drink it in the afternoon to apply balm to the burn of a ticket that didn't cash / or make a toast in the evening to the setting sun from a terrace of mossy bricks.
ingredients (32 servings . . . might want to make a double batch on a hot afternoon)
• one 12oz. can of frozen orange juice concentrate , thawed and undiluted
• one 12oz. can of frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed and undiluted
• one liter of bourbon
• 1/4 to 1/3 cup of lemon juice
• 1/4 cup of maraschino cherry juice
• 2 liters of club soda
• lemon slices and maraschino cherries, halved
1. in a large pitcher, mix the orange juice and lemonade concentrates with the bourbon, lemon juice, and the cherry juice . . . this is your base.
2. if mixing in individual glasses: 
fill a high ball glass with cubed ice, fill 3/4 of the way with the base. top it off with club soda. add a cocktail straw and stir. garnish with a lemon wedge and a maraschino cherry half.
3. if mixing in a punch bowl:
pour the entire contents of the base into a punch bowl, add 1 and 1/2 liters of the club soda and the lemon slices and marashino cherry halves. taste and add club soda if needed . . . or bourbon.


Lisa @ Tarte du Jour said...

Looks like a fun and lovely party! I'm going to need to try that kentucky derby bourbon punch. And the "spikes" are awesome!

Kim DeMarsh said...

Patty, I'll definitely give this bourbon punch recipe to my hubby for a try. He is just like Jim when it comes to loving bourbon, and since he does a lot of work at Maker's Mark, he also loves to talk about all things bourbon! Thanks for a great article and recipe!

Jenny said...

A made your recipe for a Derby party on Saturday and it was an absolute smash!! Seriously, people were practically licking the pitcher to get the last drops.

altdesigner said...

I just made a batch for a party tomorrow and I'm tempted to drink the punch bowl with a straw! I did add a little extra of the maraschino juice, makes the punch a gorgeous color!