|image by Gogo|
For non-Kentuckians the Mint Julep is usually associated with the Kentucky Derby. While it’s true that we do drink quite a few of these refreshing cocktails during the Oaks and the Derby, the Mint Julep is actual a brilliant solution to a problem that every gardener (southerner or not) can relate to - what to do with all that mint growing in your yard. Once mint takes root in your garden, it is there to stay. Someone, somewhere (and let’s not debate this, Virginians) came up with the brilliant idea to muddle some refreshing mint, crushed ice, and bourbon for the quintessential warm weather drink.
Here is my great-grandmother’s recipe which I serve at all my Derby parties.
Ella’s Mint Julep
8-10 mint leaves plus one for garnish (rinse thoroughly, no one wants a gritty julep)
1 tablespoon or more sugar
1 liberal jigger bourbon of choice (my personal favorite is Pappy Van Winkle but use what you have - as long as it’s bourbon, never use any other whiskey)
Crushed ice (hand crushing is best)
Optional: a little water or soda
Muddle the mint leaves with the sugar in your silver julep cup. If you don’t have a julep cup, you should really get one or twelve. Add the bourbon and stir. Add ice. Place a sprig of mint on the side (it looks fancy) and enjoy.
Warning, these go down VERY easy. If you aren’t careful you may have a lot of friends or enemies at the end of the evening.