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It's Derby Day! Far out. Of course, I haven't watched the event in over ten years, but I like it: my brother and I went to the local horse track and bet on it once or twice back in the day, horse racing is such an unusual sport in this age, it's one of the great American traditions, and I love seeing the horse's unusual names (even though I couldn't name a single horse when I sat down at the computer this morning).

This year's field has a pretty lame assortment of names. The best of the bunch: My Man Sam. He's going off at 20-1.

And if it's Derby Day, that means it's Mint Julep Day, so I'm pasting this excerpt from an earlier post:

Southern writer Walker Percy insisted that a good julep should hold at least 5 ounces of bourbon: 5 ounces bourbon/Several sprigs fresh spearmint/4 to 5 tablespoons superfine sugar/Crushed ice . . . Into a silver julep cup, a highball glass, or a Mason jar, press 2 or 3 tablespoons of superfine sugar together with a very small quantity of water, just enough to make a sugary paste. Add a layer of fresh spearmint leaves. Press them gently with a muddler or wooden spoon, but do not smash them. Pile on a layer of fresh finely crushed ice. Mr. Percy prefers that you reduce the ice to powder by wrapping it in a dry towel and banging it with a wooden mallet. To that layer, add a fine sprinkling of sugar and a few more mint leaves that you have spanked, but not crushed, by clapping them loudly between your hands.

Amy Stewart, The Drunken Botanist.