Kentucky Derby coverage isn't complete, in our minds, without showing men in formal wear and ladies sporting outlandish, feather-bedecked hats sipping at cold little cups of mint julep-ish goodness. Once we spy a sprig of mint leaves poking up out of a cup on television, what is the arguably the world's most famous horse race can begin.
But since we're not going to be a Churchill Downs, savoring a soft spring day while we jump up and down and root for our pony, we have to find our mint julep heaven right here in Southern California. And it is here, we are happy to report. Let's start at...
Disneyland: It's true; our most famous theme park is pretty much synonymous with the mint julep in Southern California. That places serve the herb-y sip in New Orleans Square is no surprise, really. For drinks without the alcohol -- this is Disneyland, after all -- head for the Mint Julep Bar (that's a cinch to remember). Upstairs in New Orleans Square, oh-so-secret Club 33 is mixing their juleps with real, honest bourbon. We had one. It was served in a icy silver cup. Our fingers left oval prints on the frosty metal sides. The liquor was choice. And we still think of this sublime experience, pretty much every day.
Gus's Barbecue: The stylish South Pas go-to for savory barbecue mixes up julep-y concoctions. The bourbon roster is impressive and extensive. We think anything rib-y would make a fine side to our drink.
Seven Grand: Speaking of stylish, this old-school spot shakes up the old-school drinks, so of course the julep, being one of the old-schooliest of sips, is a favorite. The dark, woodsy surroundings are sort of the opposite of a sunny day at the track, and that's okay.
Galco's: We just swung by this soda palace a few weeks back and what should we eye upon walking in: cases and cases of mint julep pop in wee, too-cute bottles. There's no bourbon in the stuff, of course, making it a prime sip for your designated driver on Derby-watching day.