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Monday, May 16, 2011

Mint Juleps...Better Late Than Never!


Mint Juleps are always associated with the Kentucky Derby in this part of the country, and although the Derby happened over a week ago, this beverage is a refreshing drink that can be enjoyed throughout the summer.  I had had mint juleps before, but had never made them at home.  This year, though, we had family from Wisconsin and California in town to celebrate my son's first birthday, so we had an impromptu Derby party.  My mother-in-law made us hats out of construction paper, and I made us drinks.  We all chose a horse to back and cheered them on with our homemade hats and drinks in hand.


We used Maker's Mark for our juleps.  You can use any good-quality bourbon...just make sure to save the really good stuff to drink straight up.  :-)  I've seen lots of different versions, some of which include muddling the mint in the bottom of the glass and some of which just involved throwing some leaves in the glass, but I liked this one because the mint is infused in the simple syrup.  The perk to this is that you can use any leftovers in iced tea or other drinks...or just save it for your next Mint Julep.  ;-)
Mint Julep
From Epicurious

Minted Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint (about 40 leaves)

Julep:
Scant ounce of minted simple syrup
2 cups crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved.  Raise the heat slightly and simmer for about 5 minutes more.  Remove from the heat and add the mint.  Let steep for about 15 minutes.  Strain and refrigerate for about 3 hours or up to a week, covered.

In a bourbon glass or a silver mint julep cup, add a little less than an ounce of minted simple syrup.  Add about 1 cup of ice, bourbon and a splash of water.  Add enough ice to almost fill the glass.  Stir well and garnish with mint.

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13 comments:

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen May 16, 2011 at 6:44 AM  

I like your version of the mint julep Mindy. The last recipe we used muddled the mint in the bottom of the glass and I thought the drink was much too minty. I'll bookmark this for the next race.
Sam

Victoria Wheeler May 16, 2011 at 7:40 AM  

Good call on the simple syrup. I personally think that's the only way mint juleps taste good.

Peggy May 17, 2011 at 5:19 PM  

You're right - never too late for a mint julep!

Lori May 17, 2011 at 9:16 PM  

Yes! That's how I like mine too, with the mint infused. My husband always tells me that I need to make the syrup like a week before and let the mint sit in it. That's the way they used to make them at the country club in his bartending days. I will take a mint julep any time of year!

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