Readers of this blog are aware that I’m working my way through the load of mint I bought to make Mojitos for Mardi Gras. Mint, I thought, what can I make with mint? Mint Julep! And I even had all the fixin’s. The only thing lacking was an official julep cup. The traditional Mint Julep is served in a silver or pewter cup, because the metal chills down rapidly as the Julep is stirred, acquiring a cool-looking coat of frost. To tell the truth, however, you don’t really need the cup. If you don’t mind missing out on much of the frost, you can use an Old Fashioned glass, or even a Collins glass. Whichever kind of glass you use, pre-chilling in the freezer or with ice is a good idea.
Bourbon purists will eschew the bitters in this recipe, and that’s fine. I like the way the bitters help bring out the complex flavors of the bourbon, but a Julep is great either way, and the better the bourbon, the less inclined I would be to add the bitters. (Speaking of Bourbon and bitters, I’ll have to do a post on the Orange Robert sometime.) So get out your Muddler and practice your Mint Julep so you’ll be ready for Derby Day.
6-8 Mint Leaves
½ oz Simple syrup or 2 sugar cubes or 2 tsp. sugar
2 oz Bourbon whiskey
dash Stirrings® Blood Orange bitters (optional)
Place the mint and simple syrup or sugar into an Old Fashioned glass (if you’re using sugar, add a teaspoon of water). Muddle 15-20 times to dissolve the sugar and to release the oil and aroma of the mint. Pour in the bourbon and stir. Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir well. Add the dash of bitters and stir again. Garnish with a sprig of mint.