Warning! For adults only, this recipe contains alcohol.
Each year on the first Saturday of May, you will find me at Churchill Downs, drink in hand, cheering the horses to victory at the Kentucky Derby. The derby is the first jewel in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred horseracing and is a magical event steeped in tradition. One of those traditions and the drink in my hand mentioned above is the Mint Julep—bourbon, mint, and sugar served in an ice-frosted silver julep cup. My version of this drink may not be traditional, but it is definitely a winner.
1 1?4 cups fresh blackberries, plus more for garnish
1?4 cup superfine sugar
1?2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons bourbon
1 big bunch of fresh mint leaves, plus whole sprigs for garnish
Shaved or crushed ice
Club soda, chilled