Friday, May 3, 2013

Mint Julep

It's that time of year!  Kentucky Derby!  And what else screams "DERBY" than Mint Juleps?!  Nothing!  I've never had one, so of course, I wanted one!  It was on my (rather short) list of cocktails that I wanted to try.  I'm typically a red wine drinker; I don't drink liquor too often.  I've heard it's bad luck to drink liquor alone so I invited my mom over for drinks and dinner; she said 'yes' before I could even finish my sentence...  ;o) 

{Mint julep--ice, bourbon, and mint simple syrup garnished with mint}

So...  Derby is around this time of year, right?  Well, I went to the store to get fresh mint (on Wednesday), and all they had left was a teeny-tiny package of mint which made just enough syrup for two.  Come on people!!!  Order more mint this time of year!  Sheesh!  On the other hand, it might be a good thing they only had that much mint or else I would have been enjoying their sugary goodness all weekend....

{We used Woodford Reserve bourbon because that's the bourbon that we like--feel free to use whichever you prefer!}

{Sugar and water heated together makes simple syrup}

{Bruise the mint with a wooden spoon.  You don't want to pulverize it, just slightly mess it up}

{Do not stir or touch the simple syrup while it is heating up!  This will form crystals at the liquid line and are a PAIN to clean up!  Just stir it right when there are a few undissolved sugar crystals and right before you pour it into the mint jar.  Side note--making simple syrup is a great way to sweeten cold tea!}

{You have to bruise it to get the essential oils flowing from it}

Mint juleps are traditionall served in a chilled silver cup.  I had no such cup, nor was I looking to buy some so I came up with a Kentucky alternative--mason jars!  LOL

{Mint Julep}

There are several methods for making mint juleps, but I wanted my simple syrup to be infused with minty flavor so I made the simply syrup, poured it over bruised mint, and let everything cool in the fridge overnight to extract every last flavor!

Mint Julep**

Makes 2 servings

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 oz mint leaves
3-4 oz bourbon
1-2 oz cold water (if you don't like incredibly sweet cocktails)
  1. Make simple syrup:  Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and heat on medium until sugar is dissolved.  Do not stir the pan while this is happening!  When 99% of the sugar is dissolved, give the syrup a quick stir and set off to the side to cool.
  2. Place mint in a container and use a wooden spoon to 'muddle' or bruise it.
  3. When syrup has cooled about 15 minutes, add it to the bruised mint. 
  4. Allow the infusion to cool on the counter for another 20 minutes then refrigerate overnight.
  5. Place the glasses you will use for the mint juleps in the fridge overnight too.
  6. To assemble:  Get glasses out of the fridge and fill with ice.  Add 1.5 oz bourbon to each glass and top with strained mint simple syrup.  If you don't like really sweet cocktails add more bourbon (yes it will be stout) or 1-2 oz cold water.
  7. Garnish with more mint.
**WARNING:  This is a beverage that contains alcohol.  Please drink responsibly!  Always have a designated driver!

So now I've got to pick my 2013 Kentucky Derby winner!  Let's see...  The track is supposed to be wet so I'm going to go with VERRAZANO!  Who do you think will win the Derby? 

Have a safe and wonderful weekend!

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