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Triple crown cocktails, more at Washington Duke's Inn for Derby Day Saturday

Reported by Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher

Watch the Kentucky Derby at Washington Duke Inn
courtesy Washington Duke Inn

Saturday, May 3, is the big race out yonder in Kentucky. Closer to home, celebrate in style at Durham's Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. There will be cocktail shakers clicking to a Mint Julep tune, while the race airs on the TVs, and over in the award-winning Fairview Dining Room, a Derby Day Brunch and more.

Past readers here know we are huge fans of Executive Chef Jason Cunningham so we had to share what he and the culinary and bar teams all have on tap for Race Day:

Kentucky Derby Day Events

11 a.m.-7 p.m. - Kentucky Derby broadcast events air in the bar and dining room

10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. - Derby Day Brunch

2:30 p.m - 4:30 p.m. - Hats and Gloves Derby Afternoon Tea

5:30-6:30 p.m. - Derby Dinner at Dusk, three courses for $35.

If you don't want to be late, 6:24 p.m. is the official start to the 140th "Run for the Roses."

Make your reservations for these events at or call Washington Duke Inn's Fairview Dining Room at: 919.493.6699

Here are the recipes, and see the demo in the video link with this story:

Mint Julep

The official beverage at Churchill Downs, this classic cocktail combines bourbon and mint-infused simple syrup finished with a splash of seltzer.

1-1/2 ounces Woodford Reserve
1 ounce mint simple syrup
1 ounce seltzer

Combine bourbon and syrup in ice shaker, shake vigorously, pour over ice, top with seltzer, garnish with sprig of mint.

White Carnation

The original cocktail of the Belmont Stakes blends vodka and peach schnapps with cream and orange juice.

1-1/2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounce peach schnapps
1/2 ounce half and half
1/2 ounce orange juice

Combine ingredients in ice shaker, shake vigorously, strain into martini glass, garnish with orange peel.

Black-Eyed Susan

The cocktail of The Preakness since the 1950s in various incarnations, this most current recipe is a refreshing combination of vodka, elderflower liqueur, blackberry brandy, and lemon.

1-1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce St~Germain elderflower liqueur
½ ounce blackberry brandy
2 lemon wedges

Combine ingredients in an ice shaker, strain into a martini glass, garnish with afloating lemon wheel.

About the Inn

The Washington Duke Inn is the only AAA Four Diamond hotel in Durham and was recently named as one of only 15 hotels in the Southern Living Hotel Collection: a small, curated group of independent, four- and five-star level hotels, resorts and inns that span 18 Southern states and offer the best in authentic Southern hospitality. Nestled on 300 acres filled with tall pines and hardwoods, the Inn is known for its beautiful facility and grounds, 271 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites, marvelous cuisine in the Four Diamond Award-winning Fairview Dining Room, the Bull Durham Bar, the Robert Trent Jones-designed 18-hole championship Duke University golf course, and convenience to local points of interest. The Inn is owned by Duke University.

If You're Going: For more information or reservations, call 919.490.0999 or 1.800.443.3853, or visit

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy:
• Other Stories by Kathy M. Newbern, Raleigh Luxury Travel Examiner
• Stories by J.S. Fletcher, Raleigh International Travel Examiner
National International Travel Examiners Kathy M. Newbern and spouse, J.S. Fletcher, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created and, their personalized romance novel business.

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