When it comes to a perfect afternoon to light-up a quality stogie and sip away at a freshly-made mint julep, it’s definitely Derby Day. Here are a few of my Kentucky Derby-inspired cigars to enjoy on Race Day.
On May 4th, 2019 the 145th Kentucky Derby will kick off the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. I’ve been an avid fan of horse racing since Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby on a sloppy track in 2004. He continued by winning the Preakness Stakes but finished second in the Belmont. Ah well, so close…..
The week-long celebration leading up to the Derby is always heightened by the anticipation of there being another run to a potential Triple Crown winner. When it comes to a perfect afternoon to light-up a quality stogie and sip away at a freshly-made mint julep, it’s definitely Derby Day. Here are a few of my Kentucky Derby-inspired cigars to enjoy on Race Day.
#1. Cigars and Kentucky bourbon are a pairing that is a palpable choice among cigar aficionados. And El Cigar Family Series Sawyer-Blanton’s Bourbon Infused cigar is a delectable bourbon infused cigar to enjoy during race day. A collaboration between 1800 International and blended by the renowned El Titan de Bronze in Miami, the Nico Puro Toro is a combination of aged Nicaraguan long-filler and binder tobaccos infused with Blanton’s Bourbon and a golden Habano wrapper. Only available at El Cigar Shop, the Family Series Sawyer- Blanton's Bourbon Infused Habano Toro is a champion! We are certainly very proud of this cigar!
#2. Drew Estate is the master of infused cigars and Kentucky Fire Cured Ponies do not disappoint. KFC uses American fire-cured tobaccos from Virginia and Kentucky that are cured over hickory, maple, and oak logs for a rich, smoked woodsy flavor with nuances of peaty Scotch. The Kentucky Derby is May 4th and, if you're hosting a party, I suggest serving up classic Southern barbeque, Hot Brown, and Mint Juleps. After indulging, pass out the Ponies.
#3. If your horse is the underdog, you should gain some wisdom from Rocky. The Rocky Patel Edge Series is one of the hottest cigars on the market today. The well-balanced powerhouse is a full-bodied and complex Cuban-style cigar. The Edge either carries a robust Corojo leaf wrapper, Ecuadoran Habano Oscuro or a rich, dark and oily Maduro wrapper. Rocky Patel Edge Lite sports a mellow Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper. The Edge A-10 wears both a Maduro and Corojo, rolled barber-pole style. Can’t make up your mind? Pick up a sampler pack at El Cigar Shop!
#4. Gurkha Bourbon Collection incorporates Kentucky Hartfield & Co. Bourbon in this boutique cigar. The cigar is a trifecta of a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper, Dominican tobacco, and Hartfield & Co. Kentucky Bourbon. Hartfield Bourbon Whiskey attributes the Kentucky-sourced corn and rye, with malted barley that creates an earthy, smooth bourbon. Notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak are present alongside those of smoke, tobacco, and leather.
#5. Java Mint Cigars are made for Rocky Patel by Drew Estate. The sweet infused cigar combines light touches of dark cocoa, coffee, zesty mint, and creamy vanilla. Java Mint displays a premium 3-year-aged Brazilian Mata Fina Maduro wrapper which blankets a combination of long-fillers from Nicaragua's prime growing regions. For those who prefer infused cigars, and for those that normally don’t smoke an infused cigar, you will find the Java Mint delightfully refreshing like a Mint Julep.
To accompany your premium cigars on Racing Day; here are two iconic Kentucky recipes to enjoy.
1.3 once Kentucky Bourbon
1.5 tsp sugar
Fresh mint leaves
Muddle mint leaves, sugar, and a splash of water in a rocks glass or julep cup.
Add Bourbon, water, and fill glass with crushed ice and stir. Garnish with fresh mint.
Created in 1920s at the Brown Hotel, the Hot Brown became the most famous dish in Louisville.
2 oz. Whole Butter
2 oz. All-Purpose Flour
8 oz. Heavy Cream
8 oz. Whole Milk
½ Cup of Pecorino Romano Cheese
Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast, Slice Thick
4 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
4 Slices of Crispy Bacon
2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
In a two‑quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium‑low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream and whole milk into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2‑3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place two slices of toast with the crusts cut off in an oven-safe dish – one slice is cut in half, corner to corner, to make two triangles and the other slice is left in a square shape - then cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of the turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place the entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.
El Cigar Shop wishes everyone a happy and, hopefully, winning Kentucky Derby Day! Cheers!