The Run for the Roses is here! This Saturday the Kentucky Derby will showcase all its splendor with the thoroughbred horse races, the glamorous victory lap with a cascading bouquet, and yes, obscene amounts of Kentucky Bourbon. The latter bringing me to my point. Unless you are at the Derby, or near a very talented mixologist during the races, the mint julep is easy to ruin and even harder to get right. But not if you’re informed, and that’s where Edible Times is there for you.
First, fresh, beautiful mint leaves please, no exceptions. Second, shaved ice. If you don’t have an ice maker that shreds cubes into ice shards for you (for us, no California rental would ever offer such a convenience), you can bag your cubes and pound with a mallet, or better yet pulse in a food processor using frozen attachments.
Third, and perhaps most important, bring on the real Kentucky Bourbon.
Jim will do, Bulleit is better and Four Roses offers a sweet touch (plus, the name is fitting). For a true throwback to the original julep, look for a bourbon that’s 90-proof or higher. Bonded Bourbon, a certification for 100-proof bourbon oak-aged for four years, would be the ultimate in authenticity (Old Forester comes to mind). But a 90-proof Maker’s Mark will stand up to the melting ice quite nicely.
Now you’re ready to drink. To do so in classic Derby fashion, use this recipe. For a simpler, more original concoction try the one below. Either way you’ll have a julep worthy of the Derby and more importantly, your taste buds. Let’s go Goldencents!
- 2 sprigs mint, spearmint recommended
- 3/4 ounces simple syrup*
- 2 1/2 ounces bonded bourbon, like Old Forester
- Powdered sugar, optional
- Gently bruise mint with a pestle or muddler in a mixing glass, and add bourbon.
- Strain into a highball glass or classic derby silver goblet filled with shaved ice. Stir with a long spoon until the glass frosts.
- Top off with more ice, garnish with mint leaves and dust with powdered sugar.