Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Mint Julep

The first time I had a mint julep was this past summer, though I've owned my own personalized, etched, pewter julep cup since I graduated from college.  I'm not kidding, it was a gift from the Templeton family, who funded the honors program. 

I got this recipe from watching Robert Hess make one on the Small Screen Network
The site is a great way to learn the technique for each cocktail if you are a visual learner.  I've seen recipes for juleps where you make a mint extract by wringing mint into a towel or something.  But that's a bit complicated for what should be simple, refreshing drink.  That way may be better for making a pitcher's worth, though.  It's a great summer drink and it's the drink of the Kentucky Derby.  So why am I posting about it in December?  Because I'm just getting around to it.

On to the recipe:

Mint Julep
2.5 oz bourbon
.5 oz rich syrup
4-5 mint sprigs with stems removed
powdered sugar

Lightly muddle mint and syrup.  Add bourbon, add crushed ice, stir.  More ice, then garnish with mint sprig, dust top with powdered sugar.

A few notes on the mint julep.  Be careful, it's extremely refreshing, yet extremely strong, a dangerous combination.  You can get away with some pretty cheap bourbon here due to the strong flavor of the mint.  I made one with Evan Williams Single Barrel and one with black label Evan Williams and could hardly tell the difference.  Rich syrup is a 2:1 sugar to water syrup, if you have simple syrup (1:1) on hand, that would probably work fine, too.  The pewter glass really is part of the show of the drink because it holds a nice frost, but a regular old fashioned glass will do just fine.  You can order your own pewter cup after you get hooked on this drink.  Crushing the ice is a bit tricky if your icemaker doesn't feature crushed ice.  I plan to order a Lewis bag for the next time I make them.  It's a canvas back that you whack with a mallot or a muddler; the bag absorbs the moisture and allows you to crush the ice as finely as you like.

1 comment:

  1. I might have to try making these, I think sarah would like it. there is actually a lot of bourbon in this drink, I guess it needs to be powerful to make horse racing interesting. is the rich syrup just a mix of sugar and water?