With the Kentucky Derby only days away, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic for the Kentucky Derby celebrations of my childhood. When I was growing up, we often attended the home of my parents’ best friends for their annual Derby party. Having grown up in the Bluegrass State, they were deeply rooted in the traditions surrounding the race and no detail was left unattended. Big floppy hats adorned with flowers and feathers were passed around, long southern drawls were feigned, bets were placed on the most promising racehorses, and the bourbon flowed freely — I loved every minute of it. And while still too young to take part in the mint juleps (oh how I longed to sip from one of those fancy silver cups) I was all too happy to indulge my adolescent imagination and play the part of southern belle.
I vividly remember that year over year I was consistently disappointed by how little time the Derby actually lasts. With all of the effort put into the fancy cocktails (perfectly muddled mint is no joke), time spent scrutinizing over which horse to wager my meager allowance, and the anticipation leading up to the firing of the starting gun, the short two-minute journey around the track always left me craving more. (This is perhaps why I avoid the blackjack tables in Las Vegas.)
Luckily, there was always Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie to fill the void. Inspired by the original Derby Pie, a close cousin to the pie of my Derby days but with walnuts instead of pecans (and whose title and recipe are fiercely guarded by copyright, I might add), the chocolate, bourbon and nut pie has been a Derby tradition since the 1950s. And while I adore pie, anybody who has ever attempted to bake one knows that they’re a labor of love. Crust is finicky even on its good days, and pie filling, well, you can almost never count on it to turn out the same way twice. And since ice cream is my forever favorite, I thought, why not turn a Derby classic into a boozy milkshake? I am old enough to drink the bourbon now, after all.
This Kentucky Derby Pie Milkshake combines all of the elements of its namesake into one indulgent yet easy to assemble dessert cocktail. Chocolate and butter pecan ice creams are blended with milk and Kentucky bourbon (of course) resulting in a thick, creamy milkshake with a grown-up kick. The shake is then poured into a chilled glass and garnished with chocolate syrup for added richness, and toasty, golden graham cracker crust crumbles for a crunchy, pie-inspired touch. Everything is finished off with a healthy swirl of whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted pecans. It can easily be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled to satisfy a group and comes together in minutes — perfection! Enjoy!
For the milkshake:
- 4 oz. chocolate ice cream (about 3 small scoops)
- 4 oz. butter pecan ice cream (about 3 small scoops)
- 1/4 cup whole milk, ice cold
- 2-3 tablespoons bourbon, to taste
- 1/4 cup chocolate syrup, for garnish (I used Hershey’s)
- 2 tablespoons pecan pieces, toasted, for garnish
- whipped cream, for garnish
For the graham cracker crust crumbles:
- 3 graham crackers, crushed
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 tsp light brown sugar
- To prepare the graham cracker crumbles: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet wth parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and brown sugar and stir until well combined. Pour the mixure out onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- To prepare the milkshake: Place a glass in the freezer to chill. Combine the ice creams and milk in a blender and blend until just smooth. Add the bourbon and mix until well combined. I prefer a thick milkshake, but if at this point the mixture is too thick for your liking add more milk one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Pour the chocolate syrup into a shallow plate or dish and dip the rim of you chilled glass into the syrup. Hold the glass upsidedown momentarily and shake off any excess, then dip the edges into your graham cracker crust crumble. Pour the milkshake into the glass, garnish with whipped cream and toasted pecans. Serve immediately.