If you’re looking for a bourbon cocktail to enjoy, you need look no further than the Mint Julep. Popular drinks can sometimes be tricky to mix yourself, but this one only requires a few ingredients and is easy to put together.
Mint Julep Recipe
You’ll need plenty of crushed ice, sugar, mint and bourbon. Simple! Crushed ice is the key ingredient and using ice chips or cubes will not give you the right effect, so prepare plenty ready for mixing. To ensure the cocktail is kept at the optimum temperature, they are traditionally served in pewter or silver cups to be held by the rim or a handle but can also be served in tall glasses.
The Kentucky Derby traditionally serves these classics and has been a big part in raising its profile. In Louisville, they serve tens of thousands of these drinks at the Churchill Downs and even more are drunk by those watching the race across the US. A great drink for any time of year, the herbal flavors are in perfect balance with the smokiness and sweetness of the other ingredients.
- Bourbon whiskey – 2 1/2 ounces
- Sugar cubes – 2 (or simple syrup 1/2 ounce)
- The leaves of 4 to 5 mint sprigs
- Mint sprig to garnish
- Get all the ingredients together first
- Using either a Collins glass, a Julep cup or an old-fashioned double glass, put the sugar (or simple syrup) and mint inside
- Dissolve the sugar and activate the mint’s aromas by releasing the oil with a good muddling
- Pour the bourbon on top
- Add the crushed ice to the top and stir well, until a frost forms on the glass
- Add the garnish mint sprig, a straw and serve
Using the Muddler
The muddling only needs to be a gentle process. You don’t need to tear the leaves, just crush them to release the oil. You can also use the muddler to make crushed ice if you don’t have a machine. A Lewis bag is a cloth bag designed for this so you can use one of those. In lieu of the bag, use a towel and simply hit it until the ice is crushed finely. Great for stress relief!
Great food pairings with this drink are any Southern appetizers. Try them with pimiento cheese dip, deviled eggs and pickled shrimp. The bourbon is the only liquid ingredient. Therefore, it is recommended to use a high-end brand to ensure the best possible taste experience.
Frosting and Garnish
Having put all the ingredients together, it could take up to 30 seconds of gentle stirring for the frost to build. Take your time to create the right effect. The mint garnish can be improved further by clapping it between your hands. It will then release the essential oils and adds another layer of sensory delight to the cocktail.
Variations on a Theme
There are many variations as it’s been a popular drink for so long. New variations have been created by substituting ingredients, adding others or further simplifying the mixing process. Have fun exploring with this classic cocktail.
Some Ideas to Try
Try White Peach Julep for a twist on the classic. If you like zingy, there is also a version using ginger. You could even switch it up with a brandy or gin instead of the whiskey. If you have some mint that needs using up, infuse it in some simple syrup. When you next come to make this drink, you can use that instead of mint and sugar muddled together. Make some up and enjoy as ice pops on a hot summer’s day.
Is This a Strong Drink?
The long shot of bourbon is the only liquid element, so it is this that determines the alcohol content. To get 28% ABV (56 proof), use an 80-proof whiskey. The higher the proof of the bourbon, the stronger the drink will be. Sipping at this cocktail slowly is definitely the best way to enjoy it.
This is an elegant but easy-to-make cocktail. The crushed ice forming the frost on the cup is a sophisticated touch that is easy to produce. Whatever style of cup or glass you use for yours, be sure to savor every sip.