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Tastemakers: Mother‘s Day Brunch Stafford‘s style/Early Times Mint Julep

Rick Coates - May 2nd, 2011
Mother’s Day Brunch Stafford’s Style
Looking for that perfect spot to take Mom this weekend? Try one of the restaurants from Stafford’s Hospitality; each of their four locations will offer their annual Mother’s Day Brunch this Sunday. However, this year they will all have a little different “flavor” as Stafford’s Hospitality founders Stafford and Janice Smith will appear at each of the four brunches.
The Smiths will be signing copies of “Stafford’s Hospitality: Fifty Years of Historic Lodging and Waterfront Dinning.” Typically Stafford takes the position behind the carving station at Stafford’s Bay View Inn for Sunday Brunch during the summer months but this year the Smith’s, who winter in Arizona, returned early to help the company they founded 50 years ago celebrate. The couple will stagger their visits to each the restaurants with a schedule of their appearance times on their website. Of course this is a loose schedule as many patrons will want to share their memories of Stafford’s Hospitality while getting their books signed.
Stafford’s Bay View Inn (Petoskey) offers brunch every Sunday and it has become legendary not only in Northern Michigan but across the Midwest. The Sunday Brunch has been voted Michigan’s best brunch several times in the Detroit News readers’ polls.
The Mother’s Day Brunch at the Bay View Inn will go from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm and will feature a carving station with ham, turkey and lamb along with Eggs Benedict and Artichoke Chicken along with several other breakfast and lunch offerings.
The Perry Hotel, also in Petoskey will serve brunch from 8 am to 2 pm. Stafford’s Pier in Harbor Springs will serve from 11 am to 2:30 pm and will feature sushi, assorted caviars and salmon Wellington. The Weathervane Inn in Charlevoix will serve from 11 am to 3 pm and will feature their Weathervane Chicken, Seafood Pasta Royale, Parmesan and Morel Encrusted Whitefish.
To view the complete Mother’s Brunch menus at all four Stafford’s restaurants check out --Rick Coates

Early Times
Mint Julep

It’s called “The Greatest Two Minutes In Sports,” and the build-up and pageantry of the Kentucky Derby has become legendary. While hats, betting and the hopes of a Triple Crown (the Derby is the first of three races making up the Triple Crown) loom over Churchill Downs (home to the Derby) so does the official cocktail of the day, the Mint Julep.
A Julep is made with five basic ingredients, including mint (spearmint is the preference), bourbon, distilled water, sugar and crushed ice. There’s also a sixth man coming into play: the all-important silver or pewter cup (though a Collins glass is now often substituted).
There is debate among bartenders on technique over to bruise or not to bruise the mint leaves. Traditionalists believe that a sprig of mint leaves should not be bruised and simply used as a garnish and the aroma of mint is taken through nose. Some modern bartenders prefer the “muddling” approach by taking a few leaves and crushing them at the bottom of the glass, imparting and infusing the oils for a more intense mint flavor. So once you decide on your preference, be sure to specify when ordering.
If you are making Mint Juleps at home for a Kentucky Derby Party, the trick is making a simple syrup with sugar and distilled water. Certainly, fresh mint is a must as is a quality bourbon. As far as recipes go, it depends on whether you plan to make a pitcher or just a couple; searching the internet will assist in the right portions.
Or you may simplify matters by purchasing the official Kentucky Derby Mint Julep that is pre-made and sold in a commemorative bottle. Typically, I would not suggest a ready-made cocktail mix, but since this is good enough for the Kentucky Derby (they sold over 150,000 of these last year and have had Early Times make these pre-made Juleps for the past 18 years), I figure it was worth trying and have used it for the past several years at my Kentucky Derby parties.
The Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail is 60 proof, making it appealing to those who prefer less alcohol. For those who want more flavor, just add straight bourbon to your liking.
If you are planning a Kentucky Derby Party this Saturday (always the first Saturday of May) Mint Juleps are a must. Check out for the official recipe or seek out the The Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail available throughout Northern Michigan. Oh, my pick: Uncle Mo. --Rick Coates
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