By Sharon Merkel Prudhomme ~
This highly aromatic herb is easy to grow and has a plethora of uses! It is a perennial, so plant a variety of mint and enjoy for years to come. As May approaches we think of Kentucky Derby, spring flowers, mulching and yard work to accomplish with anticipation of fun get-togethers and parties to host. Fun beverages make for a successful event, especially those which aren’t the usual everyday drinks. Festivities call for festive food, décor and elixirs.
If you don’t currently have fresh mint growing, you can always pick some up at the grocery store in the fresh herb area. However once you start to use it and discover other great uses, planting your own may be more realistic. Many variations are developed by creative bartenders and homeowners alike.
Our 1st here is the very easy basic recipe.
With the Derby coming up many variations of the Mint Julep are developed by creative bartenders and homeowners alike. Our 1st here is the very easy + simple basic recipe. It is reported that about 120,000 of the tasty bourbon cocktails are served at Churchill Downs on a typical Derby weekend!
Classic Mint Julep
* 2 parts bourbon
* ½ part simple syrup
* 1 mint sprig-
Add all ingredients into rocks glass, muddle mint to release the oils & flavor, add crushed ice & garnish with a mint leaf or sprig.
Sparkling Minted Blackberry Julep
In a tall glass:
*muddle several mint leaves and 2-3 blackberries
* add 2 oz. bourbon
* 2 oz. simple syrup
*add crushed ice
* finish off with club soda
* garnish with a couple of berries and mint sprig.
Blueberry Basil Julep
*2 parts bourbon
* 1 tsp. blueberry jam
* 2-3 fresh basil leaves
* 1 basil sprig
* powdered sugar
* dash of bitters
Muddle bourbon, jam & basil leaves, ¼ tsp powdered sugar, dash of bitters, add crushed ice and shake well.
Pour into tall glass, garnish with basil sprig. (Sugar in the jam replaces use of simple syrup)
1 oz. = 1 shot= 1 part
*muddle= to press the ingredients against the sides of the glass with a muddler-usually made of wood to release & infuse flavor & oils.
*simple syrup- equal parts sugar and water- bring to boil-allow to cool, keep in bottle for cocktails. (I do 2 cups sugar to 2 cups water)
*For the mint lover! Great for use in juleps, Iced Tea and Mojitos!
Take 2-3 mint leaves-roll firmly back and forth in your hand to crinkle-add to ice-cube tray-continue to fill tray. Top off with water and freeze.
Although many bartenders and homeowners add most ingredients to a glass, sometimes stirring, I always prefer to “do it right.” James Bond said it best! “Shaken not stirred”. Most cocktails wake up and are often frothy and thoroughly mixed with a few rapid shakes. If you do not have a stainless steel shaker cup with a thick pint glass, how about a martini shaker? Screw on the top, shake and open the smaller port to pour. Or simply take off top for all leaves, berries, etc. to fall into glass.
Enjoy and…..wear a big cool hat while sippin’ that julep!