This weekend is the "Run for the Roses" the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Not only is it a spectacular horse race but it is a celebrated event which has a herb cocktail as it's official drink. According to Town & Country magazine The Mint Julep (one of America's oldest cocktails) had been available in Kentucky but wasn't named the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby until 1983.

So it may have started with Bourbon and Mint but herb cocktails are readily available just about everywhere now a days.I am so excited to see this fresh tasty twist coming back to the bar. This past weekend at Mahoney's in Poughkeepsie I enjoy their Strawberry Basil Refresher. It was light, the strawberries were sweet and with it's subtle taste of fresh basil I highly recommend it as a warm weather refreshment.

As long as I am naming great local drinks with fresh ingredients I also want to mention the Rosemary Lemonade Cocktail at the Gilded Otter in New Paltz and the Ginger Martini at The Would in Highland. Both of these adult beverages with their fresh herbs and spices are good choices for a drink to accompany good conversation with friends or any night out. Any one of the three would be a great substitution for the Mint Julep this Saturday during the derby.

Below find links to some great cocktail ideas for your next party. Don't be afraid to break one out this weekend during the Kentucky Derby.