For the Derby, five foods to eat in honor of Kentucky
The horses will be running at Churchill Downs this weekend, which means you'll soon find yourself digging through the hall closet for the biggest hat you can find and, later, rooting your ass off for a thoroughbred named after a minor character from The Great Gatsby, only to realize halfway through the race that you don't even like horses. Or Fitzgerald, for that matter.
But what will you eat? Or even worse, if you're hosting such festivities, what will you serve? We've never been to Kentucky -- or even ever considered it, really. But you can't go wrong with these five staples of Kentuckian cuisine.
5. Fighting Cock Bourbon
Brewed (whisked?) in Bardstown, Kentucky, this feisty bourbon is 103 proof and aged longer than a kindergartner, making it perfect for pouring out of a bottle and into your mouth. It's best paired with a large group of women who went to state school, or an actual cock fight. 4. Mint Julep
The preferred drink of large groups of state-school women, the mint julep is the signature cocktail of Kentucky and is responsible for 30 to 40 percent of the babies conceived there each year. Made from mint, bourbon, sugar and water, the drink is way better if you skip the water. 3. Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon
Made at Rip Van Winkle Distillery, this bourbon is named for the literary character who fell asleep for twenty years. Most believe this is because if you drink enough, you will black out and forget a long stretch of life. Which is definitely the case. However, the drink's name is actually derived from the fact that if you drink enough, you will almost surely do something that lands in you prison for twenty years. Perhaps even longer, depending on how much bourbon your public defender drinks. 2. Kentucky Fried Chicken
Made from actual chicken and fried exclusively in the state of Kentucky, this Southern delicacy is known to be the only solid food eaten by Kentuckaganders. New mothers are said to fill their nursing bottles with a pureed biscuits and butter spread, while local Little Leaguers, unable to secure sunflower seeds, traditionally chew and spit Original Recipe chicken skin between innings. 1. Jim Beam
This bourbon's official slogan -- "I got a tattoo of what?" -- pretty much says it all. Made from a careful blend of some kind of alcohol and self-hate, Kentucky's most popular bourbon is known to heal most surface wounds, cause most divorces and inspire most karaoke renditions of 50 Cent's "Magic Stick." Should you desire to put anything in your mouth during the derby this Saturday, Beam is your safest bet. But please, drink responsibly, and make sure to chase it with something. We hear the mashed potatoes and gravy work perfectly.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.