Ahhh the mint julep.
The official drink of springtime in Kentucky, as well as the Kentucky Derby. Some people can drink them until they pass out. Others cringe at the mere mention. But whatever camp you fall in, there are many ways to turn the original classic cocktail into a masterpiece.
To commemorate the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, many bars and restaurants have added their own twist to the standard mint julep recipes. A mint julep is traditionally made with four ingredients (mint leaf, bourbon, sugar, and water), but when different complimentary spirits are added, the mint julep you thought you knew can take on a whole new personality!
Here are three worth trying at home or behind the bar, courtesy of Louisville’s own Bristol Bar and Grille.
- 1 and 1/2 ounces of Early Times 354
- 1/2 oz. Drambuie
- Rosemary Leaves, Mint leaves, and 1 Basil Leaf
First, muddle your mint, rosemary, and basil with Drambuie in a shaker. Once the oils from the herbs have been released (you will know when you smell them), add the Early Times, shake the mix up, and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Sip and savor the sweet and minty taste of victory.
- 2 ounces of Evan Williams Bottle in Bond
- 1/2 oz Benedictine
- Several Mint leaves
- Fee Brothers Rock Candy Simple Bar Syrup
Muddle your Benedictine, mint leaves, and simple syrup together in the bottom of a rocks glass, double old fashioned glass, or a pilsner glass until all that minty aroma starts wafting around. Fill the glass with crushed ice, add your Evan Williams Bottle in Bond, and garnish with a mint if you like.
Ginger Julep Martini
- 2 oz Basil Hayden
- 1/2 oz White creme de menthe
- 1/2 oz ginger infused simple syrup**
Combine all of the ingredients in shaker with ice, shake until well chilled, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Place a mint leaf on top as garnish. So easy, a caveman can do it.
**To make ginger infused simple syrup, follow this recipe from The Art of the Bar: Take 2 ounces of thinly sliced ginger, 1 cup of sugar, 1 and a half cup of water, and 1 1/2 peppercorns in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Continue simmering for 30 to 40 minutes or until the syrup makes the whole kitchen smell like ginger. Remove from heat and cool completely. Strain the syrup through cheesecloth, transfer to a bottle, and refrigerate.