I’ve tried them all: brown sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, plain simple syrup, over a dozen brands of Bourbon and Rye Whiskey. This is the best. Subtle sweetness, great bourbon flavor, and of course all the romance and nostalgia associated with the classic Mint Julep cocktail.
Picking the right bourbon is a critical step in the process. I like a bourbon with a good bit of spicy, dry, and oaky character to stand up to the sweetness and mint. That character comes from heavier amounts of Rye in the distillers grain recipe. I also don’t think it’s a very good idea to pour ultra premium single barrels and small batch bourbons in a julep. It’s a mixed cocktail and there are tremendous bourbons available in the $20-30 range that give you a nice middle ground to work with. The 3 I’ve listed below are fantastic – give em a try or substitute your favorite. I have some variations on this recipe, but the best will always be the classic.
Please check out the recipe below and let me know what you think. And don’t just make it for Kentucky Derby tomorrow. Mint Juleps are the South’s answer to a Mojito, only it was made a couple hundred years earlier. Enjoy them often.
Until next time…….
Drink your Bourbon!
- Perfect Mint Julep Recipe:
-3/4 ounce Mint Simple Syrup (Recipe Follows) (Half a full jigger or the small side, usually, of a two sided jigger)
-6 Mint Leaves (medium to large size)
-3 ounces (Three Favorites: Buffalo Trace, Bulleit, Four Roses Small Batch)
Pour Mint Simple Syrup in cocktail glass of choice (Double Old Fashioned or Squat cocktail glass). Add mint leaves, and “muddle” gently with a muddler or wooden spoon for 5-10 seconds until glass is fragrant with Mint oils. Be careful not to overly smash and break up the mint.
Add chipped ice right to top of the glass. Pour 3 ounces of bourbon over ice. Stir gently to incorporate mint and simple syrup from the bottom of the glass.
Garnish with Mint Sprig and enjoy the finest Mint Julep you can make/buy/steal. If you require a straw, cut plastic straw one inch above glass rim to bring your nose closer to the cocktail and fragrant mint. Cheers to you!
Mint Simple Syrup:
-2 cups Sugar
-1 cup water
-10 mint leaves plus stems
Place Sugar and Water in a heavy duty sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add mint to the mixture and allow to steep until syrup is cool (room temperature). Place in a container and refrigerate. As soon as mint syrup cools to room temperature it is ready to use for cocktail making, but after 24 hours in the refrigerator it’s at it’s peak.