An Unlikely Pairing

Posted on: Saturday, May 5, 2012

With Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby falling on the same day this year, we have twice the reason to celebrate. We associate Cinco de Mayo with sombreros, vibrant colors, margaritas and guacamole, and alternately we associate the Kentucky Derby with elegant hats, bourbon cocktails, and pecan pralines. Appealing to two extreme themes, we thought it would be fun to serve an unlikely hors d'oeuvres and cocktail combination. To snack, a big fiesta bowl of sweet and spicy mango salsa paired with blue corn tortilla chips is only appropriate. To quench our thirst, we say “adios” to tequila and “hola” to Bourbon for the popular Kentucky cocktail, the Mint Julep. 
 Mango Salsa

1 mango, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 c diced red onion
1/2 c red pepper chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 c tomato chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
2 T finely diced jalapeno
juice of 1 lime
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 t cumin 
1/4 t chili powder
salt and pepper
blue corn tortilla chips (We love Trader Joe’s)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve with blue corn tortilla chips. Makes 2-3 cups. Can be made well ahead of time and chilled in the refrigerator before serving. 
Mint Julep

10 fresh mint leaves 
1/4 c sugar 
1/4 c water
6 oz bourbon whiskey

To make the simple syrup, in a small saucepan heat the sugar and water on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

In a mason jar or collins glass, muddle the mint leaves and 2 T simple syrup. If you do not have a muddler, a wooden spoon works just fine. Add the 6 ounces of Bourbon. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Makes 1 cocktail.

Ready, set, olé!

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