Well it's the Kentucky Derby, and you've got a bottle of bourbon. Why not celebrate with a Mint Julep?
The Mint Julep is a cocktail classically associated with the southern United States and the Kentucky Derby. When we first started making them, we didn’t pay much attention to the details, but as time went on, we realized that the little things make a big difference.
Firstly, as this is the drink of the American south, you’ll want to use bourbon as your spirit. This is a fairly spirit-forward drink, so you’ll want to use a bourbon that you’d be comfortable drinking straight. We used Corner Creek in this recipe but Woodford Reserve is beautiful if you can get it at a good price. We also used a minted simple syrup to help bring out the mint flavours. Crushed ice is essential to a good Julep, and if you have a metal cup we recommend that too. Both things help to melt your ice faster, which is actually what you want, as the julep starts off quite spirit forward and then gets slowly more watered-down (and more refreshing) as you drink it.
What you need
- 3 oz. bourbon
- 0.75 oz. minted simple syrup
- 8 mint leaves
How it's made
Add mint leaves, a dash of bourbon and a dash of water to a metal cup. Muddle the mint gently for 20-30 seconds. Add the simple syrup, and fill the glass with crushed ice. Pour the remaining bourbon over the crushed ice. Garnish with a slapped (just clap it between your palms to release the aromatics) mint sprig. Drink with a straw.
Here's how to make your own minted simple syrup. Pick the leaves off one bunch of mint and set aside. Make sure to keep the stems. Bring one cup of water to boil in a saucepan and add the mint stems, boil for 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and add one cup of sugar. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add the mint leaves and cover. Allow leaves to steep for about 10 minutes. Strain out the stems and leaves and allow to cool.