As I write this, the Contenders are trotting from the stable to the Paddock. Don a seersucker suit or grab your big hat because it’s high time for the cocktail that ends up costing local Louisville farmers about 10,000 pounds of mint each year, The Mint Julep.
Pardon me, I’m spending my pre Derby Saturday on the lake with my folks. I may or may not have had several of these delightful drinks during the course of the day. The best part about a julep is the crushed ice. The expanded surface area of the crushed ice melts faster in comparison to your standard cocktail cube, which means if you choose to sip this cocktail slowly, it will refill itself continuously. Perfect for a sunny Saturday whether you’re at the track or on the water.
To Make the Perfect Mint Julep, you’ll need…
2.5 oz Kentucky Bourbon
1 oz of 1:1 Simple Syrup
~ Add the simple syrup and a small pinch of mint leaves to the bottom of your glass
~ Lightly muddle the leaves into the syrup by pressing them into the liquid, be careful not to mash them as this will turn the leaves bitter
~ Add your Bourbon to the mixture
~ Top with about a cup of crushed ice
~ Using a swizzle stick, shown on the left, mix the cocktail into the ice
~ Top with more crushed ice
~ Using your straws, poke a hole in the ice for your mint sprig garnish
~ Bring your fresh mint stalks into a bouquet and give it a light slap to release the menthol within the ribs
~ Place the bottom of the bouquet in the hole that you created earlier
~ Insert your straws in the opposite side of the glass.
~ Wipe the tears from your eyes following the playing “My Old Kentucky Home”
~ Lift your glass and cross your heart, because we’re mere moments from the gates