Where To Celebrate Derby Day 2018 In Houston
May 5th is a busy day. Not only is it Cinco de Mayo and National Enchilada Day, but The Kentucky Derby also falls on this first Saturday in May. As a result, plenty of restaurants and bars around Houston are running food and drink specials. Here’s a list of our picks for celebrating Derby Day 2018.
Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, 4310 Westheimer: The front patio is being turned into The Maker’s Mark Mint Julep Bar for the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Bar director Matt Sharp will be making a traditional mint julep and a hibiscus julep for $12 each. Guests who purchase a julep get to keep the mug and will receive a wristband designated for a specific horse. If that horse wins, you’ll receive a complimentary Maker’s Mark beverage.
The Cottonmouth Club, 108 Main: This new downtown bar was featured in our Cinco de Mayo recommendations for its Maybe Memphis, Maybe Mexico spicy paloma cocktail. However, program manager Michael Neff is also crafting tequila juleps for all to enjoy starting at 4 p.m.. Saturday is also the official opening of the upstairs “reverse speakeasy” where Neff will be mixing bespoke cocktails based off of your answers to questions like “Spring or summer?” or “Who’s your favorite superhero?” The reverse speakeasy opens at 8 p.m. and is a must-visit for all cocktail lovers.
Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale: The Heights-area hangout is making a few different types of $10 juleps; a classic with Maker’s Mark and a special Garden & Gun julep. The Garden & Gun is made with Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Barton Bonded Bourbon, Hamilton Jamaican Black Rum, Amontillado sherry cordial and mint. This julep has us salivating and is being served now through May 6th. Stick around after the race for the Derby Hat Contest at 7 p.m. with prizes for first through third place.
FM Kitchen and Bar, 1112 Shepherd: During a “Cinco de Derby” day celebration, chef Ryan Hildebrand is paying homage to the Brown Hotel in Louisville. That’s where the Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich was created. Hildebrand’s dish is the Kentucky Hot Brown Breakfast Taco – a mix of turkey, bacon, Mornay sauce and eggs. FM Kitchen is also be serving tequila juleps for only $5. Both food and drinks specials begin at 11 a.m. and are available all day long.
Fielding’s Local Kitchen + Bar, 26400 Kuykendahl: This Woodlands-area restaurant with a well-appointed bar is offering Kentucky Derby specials May 3 through 9 so that no one has to miss out on the selection of custom derby drinks. The julep versions that Fieldings is featuring includes classic, candied walnut and cherry vanilla riffs, all made with Woodford Reserve.
Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room, 350 West 19th: The new home of chef Richard Knight (formerly of Hunky Dory and Feast) is serving a four-course spirits and food pairing dinner featuring cocktails made with Herradura tequila and Woodford Reserve Bourbon. The dinner is on May 2 at 6:30 p.m. and tickets may be purchased online for $50 plus tax and gratuity. Wear your most elaborate derby hat and you just might win a prize in the Kentucky Derby Hat contest.
Julep, 1919 Washington: This Washington Corridor cocktail bar is the obvious choice for bourbon lovers to enjoy its namesake. Owner Alba Huerta recently released her book Julep: Southern Cocktails Refashioned. Huerta’s recipe for the house mint julep is refreshingly traditional—bourbon, turbinado, mint and available for a very affordable $9 price every day.
Ouisie’s Table, 3939 San Felipe: The Southern mainstay in River Oaks is hosting its Day at the Derby starting at 4:30 p.m. Hand-crafted mint juleps are being served at the bar. Those who like drinking Kentucky bourbon neat can enjoy a “a trio of the Bluegrass State’s finest” for only $15. Ouisie’s is also hosting a post-race, three-course dinner with drink pairings for $45. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling 713-528-2264.
Mint Juleps are delicious and will go down easily on a warm Houston day. Enjoy plenty, but be sure to do so responsibly. Should you or someone you know overindulge, take caution and don’t drive. Transportation services like The Wave, Uber and cabs exist for moments like these, so please take advantage and get home safe.
Josh Armendariz is Houston Food Finder’s lead freelance beer and cocktail writer. He can often be found on a stool at your favorite bar, sipping a hoppy craft beer and talking about the Astros with anyone who’ll lend an ear. Follow him on Instagram at @drinkwithjosh.