Today was both the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo. What was the Barman to do?
Well, the only thing, obviously, was to celebrate them both.
My first stop was Floyd's in downtown Brooklyn just a short hop down Atlantic Avenue from Pete's Waterfront Ale House. Floyd's has an indoor boccie ball court so you wouldn't immediately associate if with the Kentucky Derby. It turns out, however, that the owners are, indeed, transplanted Kentuckians, so this wasn't just a gimmick to draw in a crowd. Well, maybe it was. Otherwise why would they have the floor strewn with hay. I doubt if the winner of the race would be showing up to mingle with the crowd.
My Mint Julep
I have to admit that I was a bit put off by both the size of my drink and the fact that it was served in a plastic glass. I was told that the plastic glasses were necessary because of the large crowd that was expected. Seeing as how the place wasn't very crowded at the time I wasn't really buying this. However, my spirits (get it, spirits) were lifted a bit when after I mentioned to Gabby, the bartender, that my drink was a bit on the sweet side she took care of it by adding a very generous slug of Old Crow. Nothing brightens up Barman's day like a stiff drink being made a bit stiffer.
Bartenders Gabby and Robert Plus Barman
The place had indeed begun to pack up by the time I left so the explanation of the plastic glasses seemed reasonable. They were commemorative plastic glasses, but I failed to take mine home. I used to have one that I actually got at the Kentucky Derby the year Seattle Slew won. That was my only time being there and I couldn't see a bit of the race due both to the crowd in the infield and the amazing amount of alcohol that was consumed.
For the second part of my day I didn't have far to go. I merely toddled down the street about 20 yards and headed into Mezcal's for a margarita. Now, I won't say the drink was bad, but they did use a mix instead of fresh lime juice so this drink too was a bit on the sweet side. Barman is not overly fond of sweet drinks, as you may have noticed. Well, that isn't totally true. I do like Pina Colada's (my mother used to delight in embarrassing us when we were younger by ordering a Penis Colossus) and I have a bartender friend, Allison, who makes a dynamite Chunky Monkey that we drink by the pool in Puerto Vallarta.
After successfully celebrating both the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo I decided to stop back at Pete's Waterfront Ale House and have the Harpoon Refsvindinge Private Stock Ale that I had tasted the night before. Damn, I waited too long and it was gone. I settled for a bottle of Bluebird Bitter, a nice little beer brewed by Hepworth brewery in Horsham, West Sussex, England.
It is contract brewed for Coniston brewery which makes a cask version of this. It was a nice coppery orange color with a somewhat thin head. I can't say there was anything special to recommend it, but it was a good palate cleanser after my previous drinks.