On Saturday, May 6, as Always Dreaming galloped over the finish line at Churchill Downs, becoming the 143rd winner of the Kentucky Derby, revelers all over the country raised their glasses to toast the three-year old colt from Kentucky.
At Mt. Washington Tavern, more than a few of those glasses were filled with the Tavern Julep, the Tavern’s seasonal take on the storied Derby cocktail. The julep is one of four signature drinks the Tavern bar team has created to celebrate the Triple Crown races.
The drinks – The Tavern Julep, The Preakness Mule, The Black Eyed Susan and The Belmont Stakes Jewel – are each made with Sagamore Spirit Rye, which is made with water from Sagamore Farm, home of Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, and distilled in Port Covington, on the southern edge of Baltimore City.
Sagamore Spirit’s President, Brian Treacy stopped by the Tavern last month to hop behind the bar and mix up the signature drinks himself. In a web video series, Treacy is on camera, showing Tavern fans how each drink is made.
In the first, Treacy, along with bartender “Tavern Dan” gets busy muddling mint and simple syrup, topping the combination with Sagamore Rye, ice and a little water, then stirring (not shaking!) and pouring the concoction into a signature Triple Crown 2017 glass.
The videos are part of a bigger social media contest; on each Friday during Triple Crown season, the Tavern will give away two tickets for tours of Sagamore Spirit’s brand new Port Covington distillery, which opened late last month.
The four drinks will be available from Derby Day (May 6) through mid-June – and each is served in a signature glass that’s available for purchase. (Drinks are $12 with the glass and refills are $9.)
The Tavern, with its horse-centric décor and close proximity to Pimlico, has long been a popular spot to watch the Triple Crown races. Serious Triple Crown cocktail fans know that it’s not just horses that dress up the space in the Tavern, either: in the restaurant’s Pimlico Room, the drinks’ glasses themselves are part of the décor.
Kept safe inside a glass case, the collection of signature glasses goes back for years – a new collectible glass for each race is released annually by the organization behind the Triple Crown. Every year, the collectible glasses are available at the Tavern. And every year, the new set of glasses is added to the glass case.
The collection serves as a reminder that generations of Baltimoreans have cheered on Triple Crown horses at the Mt. Washington Tavern. This year, with the help of homegrown spirit Sagamore Rye and four terrific new custom cocktails, longtime Tavern patrons will mix with first-timers, creating new Triple Crown memories that – like the glasses (but not the drinks!) – will last forever.
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