At the beginning of May every year, horse enthusiasts flock to Louisville to partake in the all-too-famous Kentucky Derby. There is of course, the famous race that takes place, however the weekend also brings dramatic fashion, delicious eats, and of course the star of the show - the Mint Julep.
Made with a strong bourbon and a crisp mint, The Mint Julep has been the go-to refreshment at the Derby for well over a decade. When the sun is high and the track is on fire, this minty cocktail is the best libation to accompany you on those warm days at Churchill Downs.
National Mint Julep Day takes place around the end of May, but this drink can be enjoyed all summer long. It’s certain to bring a serotonin spike to any gathering. Today we have a Lineage twist on this delicious cocktail, with ingredients you can find at home or your local farmers market, making it your go-to at your next soirée. Enjoy!
Traditionally served in silver or pewter mugs, we recommend popping a few of our Tumbler Cups in the fridge for a few hours before you prepare your juleps. The ceramic design will work together with the ice to maintain optimum frost, ensuring each sip is chilled and fresh.
Mint Juleps use a lot of ice - and while you could use any old cube to cool this cocktail, we recommend using crushed ice to get the ultimate effect. Don’t have crushed ice on hand? It’s easy to make your own with a ziploc bag and a rolling pin. Better crush a lot as we’re sure your guests will be coming back for seconds - or even thirds.
Simple syrup is used to add sweetness to a Mint Julep. If you don’t have simple syrup on-hand, quickly make your own by adding ½ cup of water and ½ of granulated sugar to a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. If you want to add in an extra punch of flavour, a small amount of vanilla extract will bring your cocktail to the next level.
Head on down to your local market for some fresh sprigs of Mint, or perhaps you read our blog on Spring Herbs and grew your own earlier this year. You’ll need about 8 leaves per cocktail to muddle together with your simple syrup (or even a couple cubes of sugar if you’re in a pinch).
We love a traditional drink that evokes nostalgia, but we aren’t afraid to mix it up now and then. Any fruit would pair well in a julep (such as blueberries!), or even consider adding in some freshly grated ginger for that extra zing.
We would never dare to forget the main event of this drink - the bourbon. The Bourbon adds to the sweet notes of the simple syrup, as it typically has a honeyed taste compared to other whiskeys. Stick with a traditional bourbon to bring that classic julep taste to your celebration, or perhaps mix it up with the floral and fruity notes of a Japanese whiskey.
Mint Juleps truly are an incredibly easy cocktail to whip up if you have a drop-in visitor, a celebration that has been planned for ages, or you just need a refreshing drink after a long day at the office.
If juleps aren’t your jam, we have a whole other list of Summer Cocktails to enjoy that should satisfy your tastebuds this summer season.
Hopefully this article has inspired you to get creative behind the bar and taste-test your way to the best Mint Julep that rivals that of the Derby.
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