Monday's Virtual Frazier Magazine
Good Monday morning,

It’s Derby week — one of the most exciting weeks of the year in Louisville. With that in mind, this week’s Virtual Frazier Magazine has got a decidedly Derby theme to it. The Frazier’s latest exhibition is titled Cool Kentucky, and I would submit that few things in this state are as cool as the Kentucky Derby!

In today’s episode of “Sippin’ With Stephen,” my guest, longtime friend and two-time Bourbon Hall of Famer Peggy Noe Stevens, and I demonstrate how to make the perfect mint julep. A founder of the Bourbon Women Association and leading Bourbon Ambassador, Peggy debunks the myth that mint juleps are a difficult cocktail to make. She is the author of several books, including Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon? (2020), which will soon be available for purchase in the Frazier’s Museum Store.

Next, Frazier Board Member Vickie Yates Brown Glisson examines the history of the mint julep. Rachel Platt interviews Greg Harbut about his family ties to the Derby through the perspective of an African American horseman. And Curator Amanda Briede examines the epic Derby gatherings Lexington socialite and fashion icon Anita Madden hosted.

The Derby is the time of year when the state of Kentucky is in the spotlight both nationally and internationally. We hope this issue of Virtual Frazier follows suit, giving our readers a glimpse into why the Derby is not just a horse race, but a showcase of all things Kentucky.
Stephen Yates
Community & Corporate Sales Manager
Frazier History Museum
Sippin' With Stephen: Mint Juleps With Peggy Noe Stevens
Today’s installment of “Sippin’ With Stephen” is a must-view for all fans of the Kentucky Derby: I have two-time Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Famer Peggy Noe Stevens here to show us how to make the perfect mint julep. Peggy created the Bourbon Women Association, co-created the concept and strategic development of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, and authored two books, the most recent of which being Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon?, published in May 2020. Peggy also serves as a spirits judge for the American Distilling Institute and is on the faculty of Moonshine University.

As an author, global speaker, whiskey taster, and experience maker, Peggy brings a gracious, fresh, and relevant approach to creating experiences for consumers and Bourbon enthusiasts. She engages audiences with her dynamic wit, energetic personality, and knowledge base — qualities that shine through in our interview. Below you’ll find Peggy’s recipe for a mint julep.

Simple Syrup

  • Take one cup of sugar and one cup of water
  • Boil for one minute until sugar dissolves
  • Add 5 mint leaves and steep until the sugar mixture cools
  • Store in an airtight container

Mint Julep

  • Place one mint leaf at the bottom of the glass/julep cup and muddle by bruising the mint
  • Take 1 – 2 oz simple syrup and pour in glass/julep cup
  • Take 1 – 2 oz Bourbon
  • Add crushed ice
  • Garnish with a mint sprig
Stephen Yates
Community & Corporate Sales Manager
Cool Kentucky: The History of the Mint Julep
Mint leaves with a portrait of Henry Clay
The Kentucky mint julep is one of the quintessential symbols of the Kentucky Derby. The history of how it came to be the official drink of the Derby since 1938 includes some of Kentucky’s most colorful citizens and a recognition that several of the key ingredients — good Bourbon aged in charred oak barrels, shaved or crushed ice made from limestone water, and, of course, the availability of fresh mint served in silver beakers — are purely Kentucky.

Many believe the origins of the julep can be traced to the early 1400s and ancient Arabia where rose petals were used instead of mint. The sugary drink was also used as a vehicle for medicines. In America, it was embraced by Virginia as early as 1803 as a tasty pick-me-up using mint and spirits, such as rum or brandy, to be drunk in the mornings by farmers to provide them the sustenance they needed for a long day in the fields. It was the great Kentucky statesman Henry Clay who made the julep Kentucky’s own. Clay is credited with introducing Washington to the mint julep using Kentucky Bourbon where his recipe is still served today at the Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel.

In the small but informative book published by the University of Kentucky Press The Kentucky Mint Julep, author Colonel Joe Nickell contends that the mint is the ingredient that transformed the drink into an American libation. Colonel Nickell quotes noted Bourbon author Gerald Carson, saying: “Of all the compatibles man has discovered in the world of food and drink, none excels the harmony with which mint blends into a silver goblet filled with ice, a dusting of sugar, and several ounces of mellow Bourbon.” In Kentucky culture, the silver julep cup filled with shaved or crushed ice and a good Kentucky Bourbon aged in a charred oak barrel are essential. However, the drink can be spoiled if the wrong mint is selected.

There are over 600 varieties of mint, including orange, apple, pineapple, peppermint, and spearmint. The mint that should be used for mint juleps is one in the spearmint family, Mentha spicata. Some Kentuckians prefer the common spearmint variety, which has a milder taste than the Kentucky Colonel spearmint variety. Your guests will certainly know the difference if you substitute peppermint, for instance, because they will be wondering why their lips and mouth are tingling and why the mint overpowers the drink.

Importantly, mint wilts and begins to lose its fragrant oils quickly after it is cut. For the tastiest julep, you must use fresh cut mint. Spearmint and Kentucky Colonel mint plants are available in most local nurseries. It is easy to grow, but it is an aggressive garden plant. To keep the mint from taking over your garden, pot the mint in a container large enough for the plant to take root and expand. Then, sink the pot into the ground with a couple of inches of the rim protruding.

As Colonel Nickell writes in his book, the single greatest debate involving the mint julep is whether or not to crush the mint leaves. Some Kentuckians maintain the mint should be crushed and allowed to stand in the simple syrup before the Bourbon is added. Others oppose crushing the mint leaves, as they contain oils that can make the mixture bitter. Based on my years of experience of enjoying this special Kentucky libation, I agree with those that lightly bruise a few fresh mint leaves by pressing the leaves against the side of the silver beaker to release the oils. I also remove the bruised leaves before adding the Bourbon.

There are numerous recipes for mint juleps, but I think the recipe from Henry Clay’s diary is one of the best. I set out the recipe as it appears in Colonel Nickell’s book, which he notes is in Clay’s own words.

Henry Clay’s Mint Julep

“The mint leaves, fresh and tender, should be pressed against a coin-silver goblet with the back of a silver spoon. Only bruise the leaves gently and then remove them from the goblet. Half fill with cracked ice. Mellow Bourbon, aged in oaken barrels, is poured from the jigger and allowed to slide slowly through the cracked ice.

“In another receptacle, granulated sugar is slowly mixed into chilled limestone water to make a silvery mixture as smooth as some rare Egyptian oil, then poured on top of the ice. While beads of moisture gather on the burnished exterior of the silver goblet, garnish the brim of the goblet with the choicest sprigs of mint.” (31)

I would add that some authorities note that confectioners or superfine sugar are better choices than granulated sugar because both dissolve more easily.

Finally, there is indeed an “art” to drinking the julep. Guests are encouraged to stir the iced mixture at first to encourage frost to form on the exterior of the silver goblet. What’s more, they should hold the julep cup at the base or rim so as not to smudge or interfere with the frost that forms on the beaker. This allows them to enjoy the fragrance of the fresh mint combining with the oakened smell of Bourbon.

Ahhhh, it is spring in Kentucky!
Vickie Yates Brown Glisson
Board Member, Frazier History Museum
Guest Contributor
Kentucky Covers Kentucky: Mick Sullivan Covers J. P. Fraley
We had a change in plans this week, so I was happy to pinch hit with a music video myself. By no means am I an expert in traditional Kentucky music, but I certainly have a love for the music. “Birdie” is a traditional melody I first heard on a fiddle recording by John Hartford. At this point in his career, Hartford was very interested in preserving traditional fiddle tunes, and he focused heavily on Kentucky. The version of this song he learned came from the Kentucky husband and wife duo of fiddler J. P. Fraley and guitarist Annadeene Fraley. I have always loved the energy and motion of the tune, and it’s been a part of my repertoire for a few years now.
Mick Sullivan
Curator of Guest Experience
Curator's Corner: Anita Madden's Derby Parties
Anita Madden, 1997. Credit: Stewart Bowman, Courier Journal.
Anita Madden's dresses from the 1987 and 1995 Derby Eve galas on display in Cool Kentucky.
Every year, my boyfriend and I host a Derby party known as the Bourby Derby. We invite all our friends, get dressed up, eat Kentucky-themed snacks, and, admittedly, drink LOTS of Bourbon. Last year, due to the coronavirus outbreak, we instead held a virtual Derby party, which enabled us to celebrate with our friends across the country. Although they’re usually pretty fun, our parties certainly pale in comparison to those hosted by Anita Madden. Anita was known for her extravagant Derby Eve galas, which, in addition to being lavish, star-studded, and decadent, raised millions of dollars for charity. As many as 2,500 guests would attend the party each year, awaiting the entrance of Madden in that year’s gown, which was usually revealing, and often covered in feathers and sequins. You can see two such gowns on display in Cool Kentucky.

Anita and her husband Preston are best known for their horse farm, Hamburg Place, which bred many famous racehorses. These included the first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton; five Kentucky Derby winners; and five Preakness Stakes winners, including Alysheba, winner of the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Madden served on the Kentucky Racing Commission and raised millions for medical causes such as AIDS and heart disease research, as well as for local groups, including the Bluegrass Boys’ Ranch Scholarship Program and Just Fund Kentucky.

We reached out to the Madden family while writing this article, and Anita’s daughter-in-law Jennifer provided the following statement:

“Both Pat and I, along with our children, Caroline and Michael, are very proud of the many accomplishments of Pat’s parents. People may be aware of the Madden family history of breeding some of the world’s best horses, but Anita Madden should also be remembered for her legacy of community service and charitable fundraising, most notably for the Bluegrass Boys’ Ranch.

“Anita Madden was an amazing hostess and a true visionary. She loved Kentucky and surely left her imprint here for years to come.”
Amanda Briede
Museum Store: Get Derby Ready at the Frazier
Derby-related items in the Museum Store
We have over 90 varieties of Bourbons for your bar, including some signed Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby 147 bottles, fascinators, socks, and cocktail napkins. Call the museum shop for curbside pickup or visit the shop during museum hours.
Debut of Dawn Landes's Row on Audible
During our interview with Kentuckian Dawn Landes back in November, we discussed the musical she wrote about fellow Kentuckian Tori Murden McClure’s incredible journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Row was set to debut in the summer of 2020. Of course, those plans were derailed — but Dawn has shared some exciting updates with us!

The full theatrical recording is now available on Audible. Additionally, the Williamstown Theater Fest in Western Massachusetts is producing Row outdoors at the Clark Museum July 13 through August 8. The world premiere is an incredible accomplishment and certainly just the beginning of many great things for Dawn’s creation. We look forward to hearing about it directly from Dawn when she visits us later in the year. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, be sure to come see Tori’s boat, The American Pearl, on display in our Cool Kentucky exhibition.

Mick Sullivan
Curator of Guest Experience
Greg Harbut on Diversifying Horse Racing
It’s called the Harbut Legacy, and Greg Harbut is proud of it.

His grandfather, Tom, bred and owned a horse that ran in the 1962 Derby. Unfortunately, Tom’s name didn’t appear in the race program, and he couldn’t attend the race because Blacks were not allowed to sit in the grandstands.

Greg’s great-grandfather, Will, was the long-time groom of Man o’ War, the race horse who in 1920 won both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
Will Harbut. Credit: Keeneland Library - Meadors Collection.
That makes Greg, who is a bloodstock agent, a third-generation horseman in an industry that is predominantly white.
Greg Harbut. Credit: Matt Goins.
He made headlines last year as one of the owners of Necker Island, a horse that ran in last year’s Kentucky Derby (which was held in September, not May, due to COVID).

Black ownership is not the norm. In fact, this tweet Harbut saw after his horse ran in the Ellis Park Derby says it all: “To see African Americans on a major race day is like seeing a unicorn.”

The legacy of African Americans in the industry is a complicated one.

Black jockeys dominated horse racing in the beginning, and filled other crucial roles as well. But things changed, and Blacks were pushed out.

Harbut, who was born and raised in Lexington, is working to change that, even offering a lecture series about diversifying horse racing in the classroom.

I recently spoke with Greg about his mission, his family legacy, and staying in the race last year when so many were asking him to boycott it in light of Breonna Taylor’s killing.

And now, there’s word that Churchill Downs and partners are launching a Derby equity initiative.

Is real change coming?
Rachel Platt
Director of Community Engagement
The IX Bourbon
James and Brittany Penny
Their mission is "to create premium spirits that celebrate everyone and to foster conversations that birth action through diversity within the wine and spirits industry.” Why? Because of the lack of Black and brown people leading in the Bourbon industry.

Husband and wife due James and Brittany Penny decided to start a Bourbon company, The IX Bourbon, to enlarge the Black Bourbon community. “Bourbon has such a rich legacy and we wanted to be a part of that as well as introduce and include other minorities in the Bourbon industry,” James stated.

Kentucky right now has four Black-owned Bourbon companies: The IX, Brough Brothers, Saint Cloud, and Fresh. When asked about their thoughts on connecting with and supporting one another in the industry, James said they purchase from both Brough Brothers and Fresh, but are not yet that familiar with Saint Cloud. “We believe there is enough room in this game for everyone. I had the pleasure of meeting Shawn and Tia Edwards [owners of Fresh Bourbon] and was able to connect. I also went to college with Victor Yarbrough [Brough Brothers].”

Like with the Kentucky Derby and horseracing, African Americans’ stories have been excluded in the Bourbon industry. Notable companies such as Uncle Nearest (Fawn Weaver) are helping to amplify some of those stories. “It’s a microcosm of the rest of life,” James said. “History is untold in a lot of spaces and this is no different. Uncle Nearest’s story inspired us to do something we never thought we would be able to do.”

Representation has proven to be tremendously important, with more Black and brown people calling on businesses and organizations to not only show more representation of the diverse communities they serve through employment, offerings, and marketing, but to also acknowledge and address their own tough histories. Some are even calling for companies who have historically oppressed minorities to find a way to reconcile their wrongs and work to create a more equitable future for all.

“It is so problematic that in 2021, women, minorities, Black folks, and LGBTQIA+ folks are celebrating being first in certain spaces,” Brittany said. “If we truly lived in an equal society where there are equal opportunities, then this shouldn’t be a thing. Our Bourbon is about rising above being the first.”

The IX Bourbon got its name from the tumultuous year of 2020. As Brittany explained, “The number nine is very special to us. The ninth year of our marriage was 2020 and the pandemic has been hard for everyone and we both grew from that. 2020 is also the year that our first child was born. So personally and professionally, the name holds special meaning.”

The IX has already been receiving great reviews through a series of presale tasting events. Their site describes the taste as a sweet flavor of buttery caramel, with undertones of chocolate, and a hint of spice. “I am not going to tell you how to drink it,” James said. “Experience The IX however you see fit. We only suggest a squeeze of lemon to boost the flavor and bring out more of the notes that our current audience already love.”

Presales have begun and more information can be found at


LaPrecious Brewer
Marketing Manager
Bluegrass Belles and Beaus at the Oscars
This week marks the return of two world-famous annual events: the Academy Awards, whose 93rd ceremony occurred yesterday in Los Angeles; and the Kentucky Derby, whose 147th running is set to take place this Saturday here in Louisville.

While at first glance, the two events seem unrelated, they share some traits. First, audiences tune in to broadcasts of both events not only for the spectacle, but to see what the attendees are wearing. Second, there have been more than a few Kentuckians that have either been nominated for or won an Oscar.

The most obvious examples are Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence and Augusta’s own George Clooney. Lawrence, who has been nominated four times, took home an Oscar on February 24, 2013 for Best Actress in a Lead Role for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook. That same night, Clooney won Best Picture for co-producing the Ben Affleck film Argo.
The banner honoring Jennifer Lawrence located on the west side of Kentucky Center for the Arts
A costume George Clooney wore in the 2000 comedy film O Brother, Where Art Thou? on display in Cool Kentucky. On loan from the Rosemary Clooney House.
However, Kentuckians have played a part at the Oscars since long before Lawrence and Clooney came on the scene. Louisville native Ned Beatty (b. 1937) was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor award for his role as a venal corporate executive in the 1976 film Network. Next, there was Patricia Neal (1926 – 2010), a Kentuckian who was born in the ghost town of Packard, Kentucky. She won Best Actress for her role as a housekeeper opposite Paul Newman’s ne’er-do-well cowboy in the modern western drama Hud.

Finally, there’s Louisvillian Irene Dunne (1898 – 1990), who was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar five times. Although she never won an Academy Award, Dunne was — and still is — regarded as one of the shining stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Named the “First Lady of Hollywood,” Dunne was a triple threat, who could not only act, but sing with the best of them — and dance, too.
Historical Landmark placed in honor of Irene Dunne, fittingly situated near the Belle of Louisville
A publicity still featuring Irene Dunne and cinematographer John J. Mescall on the set of Show Boat, 1936. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
You can learn more about Mrs. Dunne by walking along the wharf in Downtown Louisville. Situated near where the Belle of Louisville is usually docked is a Kentucky Historical Landmark in her honor. You can learn more about Clooney, Lawrence, and few other famous Kentuckians by visiting the Frazier’s new permanent exhibition Cool Kentucky.

Here, you’ll see memorabilia, artifacts, and movie posters from and about some of our most famous celebrities, including director Tod Browning (1880 – 1962) of Louisville, horror master John Carpenter (b. 1948) of Bowling Green, and journalist Diane Sawyer (b. 1945) of Louisville.

Brian West
Teaching Artist
Upcoming Programs

  • May 25, 7 – 8:30 p.m.: “Jumpstarting Downtown Louisville” RSVP HERE
In Case You Missed It: The Pick Six: Woodford Reserve Tasting Experience (Apr. 22)
Hours of Operation: Museum and Museum Store
Monday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesday – Wednesday: closed
Thursday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: noon – 5 p.m.

Note: Hours are subject to change. Call (502) 753-5663 for most up-to-date hours.
COVID Safety
We want to assure you the Frazier is taking every measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 according to state-recommended guidelines. Our 100,000-square-foot building has three floors of spacious galleries in which to socially distance.

When you enter the building, we ask that you:

1.      Wear a mask at all times.
2.      Maintain social distancing in gallery spaces and the museum store, staying at least six feet apart.
3.      Wash hands and use hand sanitizer often.
4.      Follow any other guidelines placed throughout the museum.

We greatly appreciate your compliance with these measures to ensure all our visitors have a safe and enjoyable visit!
Although the doors of the museum aren't always open, we are here to continue to be a resource for your family and our community.

Funding for Virtual Frazier and the Coronavirus Capsule has been provided by Kentucky Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan of 2020. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Kentucky Humanities. 
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