Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mint Juleps

Every year, after the Kentucky Derby, I think how fun it would be to host a Derby party next year. Then I forget when the Derby is, don't plan and end up thinking the same thought with the promise of next year! Honestly, I know very little about the Kentucky Derby beyond the basics: horses, hats, fried chicken, Derby pie, and mint juleps.

I even prepared a recipe for Derby pie bars (which I believe is actually just pecan-chocolate pie). So let's just say I'm testing each individual piece so one day I can throw the best Derby party in the land, complete with giant hat. And matching shoes.

So cheers! Here's to super easy mint juleps. When I was a kid, we had a mint bed--meaning a garden bed that was completely overrun with mint because that is a seriously invasive plant. Think Devil's Snare but with a lovely aroma (if you don't get the reference, we can't be friends).

Simple syrup is called that for a reason, equal parts sugar and water are boiled together and then infused with whatever flavor you desire, in this case--mint! The julep itself is a combination of bourbon (mmmm), simple syrup and ice. I'm not sure why it has to be crushed ice, I'm sure there's a history lesson in there. But it's crushed. It's cold. It has a special glass. I do not have special glasses for juleps so Moscow Mule mugs will have to do.

 I hope you have a sunny porch, hopefully with a swing and a big hat, where you can enjoy spring and sip your favorite icy beverage.

Mint Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • Mint leaves
  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil until the sugar is all dissolved.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the mint, at least a dozen leaves but more if you want a stronger flavor. 
  3. Allow the mixture to cool with the mint. Strain into a jar and discard the mint. 
  4. Store the syrup in the fridge a day ahead of time.
Mint Julep
  • Mint simple syrup
  • Bourbon
  • Crushed ice
  • Chilled glasses
  1. In a cold glass, add enough crushed ice to almost fill the mug. Add several mint leaves and crush together to release some minty flavor.
  2. Add 1 ounce of simple syrup and 2 ounces of bourbon. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add more syrup. Don't worry too much about the amounts, focus more on the ratio.
  3. As the ice melts, you'll get more liquid in the drink but you can add water if you prefer.
  4. Sip and enjoy!

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