Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekend Cocktails - Mint Julep

How to make a proper Mint Julep, plus recipes for Skinny Julep and Mint Julep Martini

Mint Julep

When it's Derby Day, mint juleps are definitely on the menu, with somewhere around 120,000 of the minty sweet bourbon drinks served over the two days at Churchill Downs, though Louisville locals will tell you that it's really a tourist thing.

Doesn't matter. Like the big, brimmed hats that have found their way into tradition, so has the drink, and while Georgia says it was the originator of the Mint Julep, Kentucky lays claim to its popularity for that reason. Despite all that, in the summer's evening and dripping heat and humidity along these Gulf Coast states, you're bound to find somebody, somewhere, consuming a julep, and almost every southern state has its own way of making them.

Here's the basics:
  • Start with an ice cold glass - use a traditional silver julep glass, old fashioned, Collins, or a highball glass, and either jiggle with cubes to get it good and cold, or freeze it before mixing.
  • Always use fresh mint and use the top, more tender leaves, stripping them off of the stem.
  • You don't have to use your best aged whiskey, but use a good bourbon - 86 to 90 proof.
  • Use shaved ice or crushed ice, never ice cubes.
  • After a gentle muddle of the mint leaves, add a pile of ice and shove a straw into the glass right into the sweetened mint, cutting the straw off right above the rim so that it is short. Add the liquor, and the remaining ice, and touching only the top or bottom rim of the glass, stir vigorously until heavily frosted.
  • Garnish with a nice sprig of mint, positioned right at the straw, so that you inhale the essential oils of the mint every time you sip.
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Recipe: Mint Julep

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 5 min | Yield: Makes 1

  • 1 dozen fresh mint leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons of simple syrup
  • 2 ounces of Bourbon
  • 1 ounce of Dark Rum
  • Crushed ice

Chill a traditional silver julep glass, old fashioned, Collins, or highball glass by placing into the freezer, or jiggling some ice in the glass. Remove ice and lightly muddle the mint and simple syrup together in the bottom of the glass. Top with some of the ice. Stick a straw all the way through the ice to the bottom of the glass where the mint is, then cut the straw off short, just above the top of the glass. Top the ice with the bourbon, then the rum, the remaining ice, and holding the glass along the bottom or top edge, stir vigorously, until the outside of the glass is heavily frosted. Garnish with a sprig of mint right next to the straw so that you get a nice whiff of mint with each sip.

By the Pitcher: Muddle about 1 cup of mint leaves together with 3/4 cup of simple syrup, more or less to taste, in the bottom of a pitcher. Add 1-1/2 cups of bourbon and 3/4 cup of rum. Add straw to chilled cups and fill with crushed ice, pouring mixture over the top. Makes about 6 depending on size of glasses. Garnish with mint as above.

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©Deep South Dish

Mint Julep Martini
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

Makes 1

One dozen mint leaves
1 tablespoon of simple syrup or confectioners sugar
2 ounces of Bourbon
2 ounces of Triple Sec
Generous splash of Vodka
Ice cubes
Mint sprigs for garnish, optional

Put the mint leaves into the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the simple syrup and lightly muddle the leaves a few times to release the oils of the mint. Add the bourbon, triple sec, vodka, and the ice cubes and shake until well chilled. Strain into a martini glass, garnish if desired and serve immediately.

Can substitute 1 to 2 teaspoons of a clear creme de menthe for the fresh mint leaves.

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©Deep South Dish
©Deep South Dish
Skinny Julep
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

Makes 1

1/4 cup of Gin
1/4 cup of Club Soda
12 mint leaves, plus a couple sprigs for garnish
1/2 tablespoon honey or other sweetener
Crushed ice

Loosen honey by microwaving on high for about 10 seconds. In the bottom of a cold glass, gently muddle the mint leaves. Add the gin, club soda and honey; stir and top with crushed ice. Garnish with sprig of mint.


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©Deep South Dish
Adapted from The Skinny Girl Mint Julep
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Posted by on April 30, 2010
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