The perfect Derby party demands a wide and shade-bestowing hat, grass-ready espadrilles, and, of course, a cocktail in hand. While the mint julep is the long-favored king of Derby drinks, sometimes we do prefer a lighter libation. Enter TSG: Baton Rouge editor Liz Raney—straight from the heart of Dixie—who shared caterer extraordinaire Margo E. Bouanchaud’s recipe for an Orange-Mint Spritz. After some short prep and a little heat, we had an effervescent mix sure to have Derby watchers jockeying for a taste.
Added to champagne, the spritz’s bright, refreshing flavors make it our new race day imperative. We think you will agree!
Margo Bouanchaud’s ORANGE MINT SPRITZ
Makes 10 servings
- 2.5* cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups mint leaves, crushed
- 3 large oranges, juiced
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 orange, sliced, for garnish
- 7 lemons, juiced
- zest of 1 lemon
- crushed ice
*adjust this amount to taste; we used 1 cup sugar, the perfect proportion to pair with the sweet Veuve Clicquot
1. Combine juice in a bowl and add lemon zest and orange zest.
2. Crush mint leaves with a muddler, mortar and pestle, or whatever you have on hand.
3. Boil sugar and water until sugar completely dissolves.
4. Once boiled, remove the sugar water from heat. Combine the water with juice mixture and crushed mint leaves in a large bowl. Set aside and let cool for a few minutes.
5. Strain, then pour over crushed ice in a serving vessel.
6. Add champagne or vodka to taste.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week.