The craft cocktail industry is in full swing. Not only are bars that specialize in this type of mixology opening across the country, established locations are adding craft cocktails to their drink menus. And what I am even happier about is, among all the very creative recipes that abound, the classics are making a comeback.
One of those classics is the mint julep. This simple cocktail has been around for over 200 years and has become synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, where over 120,000 mint juleps are served over just two days. It has been the official drink of the race since 1938.
The mint julep is very easy to make, but also easy to mess up because of its simplicity. When you have something that is just four ingredients, you cannot take short cuts. The mint julep is also designed to be sipped. Being predominantly bourbon, it is not for drinking fast. More importantly, as the ice melts, it allows more flavors to be released and dilutes to a more refreshing drink.
Here’s the recipe:
>> 4 to 5 mint sprigs (leaves only)
>> 1/2 oz simple syrup
>> 2-1/2 oz GOOD bourbon (I like Maker’s Mark)
>> Crushed ice
In a julep cup (or an old-fashioned glass) gently muddle the mint with simple syrup. Don’t over crush — just enough to release the oils in the leaves. Add the bourbon and then fill the glass with crushed ice. Stir until the glass frosts up. Garnish with a mint leaf. Add a straw and enjoy!