The Mint Julep is a southern delight and a tradition for the Kentucky Derby. At the race they use Old Times, but that's not really good bourbon and since the race is so commercialized now I figured my friends deserve better.
I boiled up the simple syrup the night before with mint from my garden.
Except for the ice, this drink is a little syrup in a tall glass of bourbon. The crushed ice melts on contact, reducing the liquor to something you can sip for an hour without getting hammered. Ice cubes leave too much room for liquor and don't melt enough to adequately water the drink while cooling it; the result is a drink that is too strong for its volume.
You might think "I like it strong" and you may indeed like it strong, but empirical evidence counts, too: I made a large pitcher of bourbon and syrup mixture and poured it over ice-filled glasses, emptying the pitcher and still facing demand for more. Try it with the crushed ice- it's worth it!
- Muddle some fresh mint and mix it into some simple syrup to infuse
- Fill a tall glass with crushed ice (not cubes - see below)
- Add some of the simple syrup (to taste, not a lot)
- Top up with good bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
- Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint Stir until glass frosts and serve cold.