Saturday, May 7, 2011

What Derby? Hoisting A Mint Julep To The Wild Women Of The Gallery Off Broadway

Yes, I do know what derby, of course; The Kentucky Derby runs for the roses again today and that's what got me to thinking about the storied mint julep cocktail. During my days as a barkeep, I was rarely called upon to muddle that mint, with one brief exception being a Kentucky Derby party at the Boston Beanery in Morgantown. There is little time for cooking this weekend so I decided to knock off one of my cookbooks with a drink recipe. The Four Seasons Book Of Cocktails features four mint julep recipes; two of which I'm putting up for taste tests with friends. I even participated in picking a horse for a work bet (go Pants On Fire!) earlier in the week!

The Derby may have created the spark but the inspiration comes once again from some of my favorite wicked women. I've written many a post on that spirited filly Kathleen (pictured at left) and her own quirky stable at The Gallery Off Broadway in Excelsior Springs. I breathlessly watch their Facebook page to attempt (and I do mean attempt) to catch up with the madcap schedule that's shaping up. I'm most awash in anticipation for the upcoming Second Fridays celebration on Friday, May 13 which is always a primo time to stroll the charming streets of Excelsior and visit every shop, restaurant and gallery to see what's kicking up.

The Gallery Off Broadway is hosting their own unique bash, as they always do, to coincide with Second Fridays. A Meet & Greet Social provides the opportunity to chat with not only Kathleen but visiting artists who are displaying their work. Kelly Berkey of Minnesota, Jonny Feelgood (pictured) of Texas and the unsinkable and irrepressible Molly Morgan-Roberts of Warsaw will be hanging with Kathleen and this heady brew of creativity should make for one tantalizingly intriguing evening. Cocktails will be available, Kevin Creed will be providing another tasty display of hors d'oeurves and renowned musician Billy Beale (pictured) will be soaking us in some of his sultry blues. In the midst of this, Kathleen will be heading up another of her Corkscrews and Canvases classes. These Parties With Paintbrushes are skyrocketing in popularity and she's even got some of these signature classes popping up in very interesting locales such as Belvoir Winery and Powell Gardens. I will be writing more about each of these events, so keep those eyes peeled and watch this space for all of the sweet and sordid details of each excellent event. In particular, I always anticipate just kicking back in the eccentric orbit of Wild Women Kathleen and Molly (pictured below right).

So I raise my glass to not only two of my favorite over-the-top female personalities, but to the Gallery itself, its eye-popping potpourri of artwork (including hats, Derby lovers!), all of the wonderful people behind the scenes who keep it rocking and most especially to their most illustrious calendar of events. Can't wait to check it all out! As to those mint juleps, I tried them out two ways: the traditional way for purists with sugar water and the Four Seasons way with sour mix instead. Both recipes begin with muddling the mint, involve crushed ice and a shot of Kentucky bourbon and are topped off a sprig of fresh mint; the mint in this case is the spearmint grown by Keith in the backyard garden and my friend Julie who also grows her own. I boiled 2 cups of sugar with 2 cups of water and stored the sugar water in the fridge for a few hours. Ronnie and Jeff were by and Ronnie gamely agreed to be taste tester and judge of the mint julep contest. Ronnie put on his best Suzanne Sugarbaker and revealed, "I love the strong one". It was a blind taste test and he went traditional! The original wins in the end. This counts as Cookbook Challenge #54.

So gather your own friends and favorite wild women to soak up this sublime weather, mix up a mint julep and head to the veranda. Then once you've settled in, make some plans to visit my favorite wild women on May 13 at The Gallery Off Broadway in Excelsior Springs.


Anonymous said...

whooohoooooo!!!!!!!! We are LOVIN US SOME GREG!!!!

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