I chose the Brown Derby Cocktail for this week as a semi-tribute to the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs. Once I started doing a bit of research on the drink I realized that this was an epic fail on my part. The Brown Derby was the signature cocktail of the Vendome Club in Los Angeles, CA and was created to honor its neighbor and rival the Brown Derby. Despite the fact that they were competitors the clubs were such close friends that the Vendome wanted their signature cocktail named as such. The Brown Derby’s most notable feature was its distinct design. The building was built to look like a large brown derby hat. So, other than the similarity of name, the cocktail bears no relation to the Kentucky Derby. D’Oh.
In addition to my slip up with the cocktail’s name it is not particularly tasty. None of the flavors shine through and although the cocktail is not bad, it’s definitely not something I would make again or order at a restaurant. It’s just, as the post title says, meh. I was able to hack up a slightly better version, but the cocktail is still not great. The lime juice increases the sourness which is quite nice and the bitters, as in other recipes, increase the flavor complexity.
Cocktail Hacker Brown Derby
2 oz Bourbon 1 oz Grapefruit Juice 1/2 oz Honey Syrup 1/4 oz Lime Juice 3 Dashes Orange Bitters