I've written about the Mint Julep before, back when I had a garden full of mint. I remember one time back before either of us was blogging about cocktails, I made a Mint Julep for Nancy of The Backyard Bartender and now Apartment Therapy and Huffington Post. It honestly was not very good. Sorry about that one, Nancy.
Well, now I am back in a house with a garden, and I have come to love the Mint Julep again. And it's Derby Day this Saturday, so we can all celebrate horse racing by having a Mint Julep. Honestly, I have never been to a horse race before, and I don't care about horse racing at all, but a nice spring Saturday is always a good time to sit on the patio and enjoy a Julep.
Let's break it down, though. The Julep is really just sweetened whiskey with a bit of mint. But the mint makes a difference. And you can use brighter sugars, too, like turbinado or brown sugar to give it a richer flavor.
I used to recommend muddling the mint like everyone else, but now I just shake it with ice, and it seems to accomplish the same thing. So to make a Mint Julep, combine in a shaker with ice:
and strain that into an Old Fashioned glass or a Julep cup, which is made out of silver. I don't have any silver cups, but I do have a Moscow Mule cup, and I like to take every opportunity to use it, so I did. I like the way it feels when it gets really cold.
- 2 1/2 oz bourbon or rye
- a bunch of mint
- 1/2 oz brown sugar syrup
You do need to use crushed ice, though. Fill up the cup with ice before you strain the drink into it. And forget the powdered sugar like I recommended before. Just drink it as is, with a mint sprig or two for garnish.