I don’t think I had ever paid any attention to the Kentucky Derby until maybe five years ago when Joseph and I just happened to be in Brooklyn the same weekend as the Derby. We were staying with Mark and Jordan, my brother-in-law and his wife, and they didn’t yet have their two beautiful little girls. Some of Jordan’s family comes from Kentucky and the Derby is a pretty big deal for her – I would guess sort of akin to St. Patrick’s day for my family. They were throwing a small party in its honor and I’m sure they had some really great food, but to be honest, I don’t remember it. What I do remember are the mint juleps.
Just as I had never watched the Kentucky Derby, I had never had a mint julep. The idea of mint and bourbon seemed just a little strange to me (who knows what I was thinking because I do like mojitos), but one sip and I was completely sold. And one minute of watching all the hats and hoopla of the Kentucky Derby and I was sold on that too. And so a tradition was born. Now every year I sit with my mint julep and watch the hats, um, I meant the horses.
I actually took these pictures last year, before Joseph got me my great Boston double old fashioned glasses. I was excited to share my love of mint juleps, but then I realized that there was really no point in sharing a recipe for mint juleps after the Kentucky Derby. This year I’m just barely getting it in in time, but hopefully you can still grab some mint and bourbon and enjoy!
Recipe from 365 Cocktails
Traditionally Mint Juleps are served in silver or pewter cups and held by the handle or rim in order for the cup to get optimum frost, but hey, we don't all have silver cups. This version is made with powdered sugar, so you don't have to worry about making simple syrup.
As you can see, last year I didn't bother crushing the ice, but I won't be skipping that step this year!
- 4 sprigs mint (plus one for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- 2 1/2 ounces (70 ml) bourbon
- Muddle the mint leaves together with the sugar and water in a highball. Fill the glass with crushed ice and pour in the bourbon. Slowly stir, adding more ice until the glass is filled with ice. Garnish with sprig of mint.