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Dave Spencer’s Best Derby Memory: Mom’s Loaded Juleps


Gotta be honest. As the years have gone by, and we get farther and farther away from the last Triple Crown winner (Affirmed in 1978), I have grown less and less interested in the Kentucky Derby.

I still have a great deal of respect for the tradition. And I still watch it just about every year. But it’s just not as intriguing as it once was. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a great Kentucky Derby memory. I do. And it’s hilarious!

Several years ago, when I was in my early 20s, I went over to my parents’ house on the afternoon of the Derby. They were settling in to watch it. They loved it. Mom never misses it to this day. When I got there, she told me to sit down and get ready. She had just made mint juleps.

Okay, my parents did not drink. So, I immediately thought I was going to get iced tea with a sprig of mint. And that would have been delicious.

Mom brought in the tray and I took one. Assuming it was harmless, and without taking a whiff, I downed a big slug. Mistake!!


My throat was burning! By the time I finished choking, I heard my dad say, “Golly, Sue, these are better than the ones you made last year!”


What on earth¬†had been¬†going on in that household? Well, needless to say, after I realized what I was holding, I finished it in sips–the proper way to partake of bourbon. But, geez, a little warning would have been nice.

I remember a few years later, Mom mentioned that she’d heard of something called a Long Island Iced Tea and was anxious to make one.

Uh, none for me, thanks.

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