Culinary — 03 May 2013
Toast to the Kentucky Derby

Enjoy the official cocktail of the race even if you can’t make it to Louisville on the big day.

By Hope S. Philbrick

In the 16 years that I’ve lived in the Deep South, I’ve sampled many mint julep recipes. I never enjoyed one of them until I visited Chapeze House in Bardstown, Kentucky. There, I learned some tricks–starting with, don’t muddle the mint! Doing so makes it bitter and turns it brown, which is not attractive in a fresh, springy cocktail.

Here’s my take on the recipe demonstrated by Kentucky Colonel Michael Masters:

Mint Simple Syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
large handful (approx. 1 cup) of mint, washed

Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring to make sure sugar dissolves into water. Boil briefly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add the washed mint, tearing leaves just prior to dropping them in. Steep the mint 15-30 minutes. Strain out mint while transferring syrup to a glass container. Refrigerate.

@21plusTravel Tip: Add 1 teaspoon vodka after transferring the syrup into the glass container if you plan to keep the syrup longer than a week.

Mint Julep
2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. mint simple syrup

Shake with ice. Strain and pour over a rocks glass that’s been filled with ice (small cubes or crushed ice). Garnish with a mint sprig and a dash of powdered sugar.

@21plusTravel Tip: Slap the mint sprig between your hands to bring out its aroma just prior to placing it in the glass.

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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