Not being from anywhere near the South I find it easy to say that by my way of thinking there is nothing so quintessentially Southern than the Mint Julep. Now certainly that’s a stereotype and likely a bad one. But let’s take a moment for a thought experiment. Think about the words “Mint Julep”…what’s the first thing that pops in to your head? Is it a grand porch on a colonial home, the light is low and crickets are chirping? See! Southern! Well, no matter what popped in to your head you have to agree that the Mint Julep truly is a classic.
For a large portion of Julep drinkers the only time during the year that they’ll be consuming one of these cocktails is on Kentucky Derby day. Being a man of at least some forethought I decided that this week would be perfect to highlight the Mint Julep as the 2009 Kentucky Derby will be run this coming Saturday, May 2nd. I’ll spend this week covering at least the basics of the Mint Julep so you’ll be well prepared to mix some up on Derby day for yourself.
The recipe from the Joy of Mixology isn’t the most classic recipe that you’ll find as it uses mint infused simple syrup, but I think it’s still a great place to get started.
Mint Julep (Joy of Mixology)
Finely Crushed Ice 3 oz Bourbon 1 or 2 oz Simple Syrup or Minted Simple Syrup 5 or 6 Stems of Fresh Mint
1) Fill a Julep cup or Collins glass 2/3 full with crushed ice 2) Add the bourbon and syrup 3) Stir for 10 - 20 seconds 4) Add more ice 5) Stir again until a layer of ice forms on the glass 6) Add more ice until glass is completely full 7) Garnish with mint sprigs 8) Add straws slightly taller than the glass 9) Serve with a cocktail napkin or coaster
Minted Simple Syrup (Joy of Mixology)
1 cup Water 1 cup Sugar 1 bunch Fresh Mint
1) Combine ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat 2) Bring the mixture to a simmer 3) Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes 4) Remove pan from heat and allow to cool 5) Remove mint before storing