As some of you might be aware, today is the Kentucky Derby. I decided long ago that this was the year I would make my own mint juleps, the traditional Derby drink. I made a half-hearted attempt to throw a derby party, but apparently law students with a massacre-like con law final two days away aren’t that into day drinking. Shock! Or not. I wasn’t that into hosting people over. That would require cleaning my apartment, making a lot of drinks, and honestly I have a lot of work to do also. So I decided to mix a mint julep, keep the con law flash cards in front of me and enjoy the Derby.
My Grandfather’s family is from Kentucky. As a child we took a lot of trips to the Kentucky Horse Park and we even have water glasses that list the winners of the derby. There’s lots of family lore which my Grammy would regale my brother and I with while we were growing up and every year we pay attention to the Derby. I don’t exactly put my hand over my heart when they play, “My Old Kentucky Home” but I’ve always enjoyed the Derby. It should also be noted that attending the derby is on my bucket list.
So this year, I decided to make Mint Juleps. The traditional Mint Julep recipe includes bourbon, simple syrup and mint. For my recipe I deferred to my Aunt who is the family expert. The Old Family Recipe includes: crushed ice, mint infused simple syrup, bourbon, and a mint sprig. First I made the mint infused simple syrup several days before the derby.
I took equal parts water and sugar, one cup each, and heat it until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has all dissolved, the syrup will be clear at that time, turn off the heat and let the syrup cool. After turning off the heat, let a container of mint sit in the syrup until the syrup has completely cooled off.
I was told when making mint juleps its important to use a short glass…
And, crushed ice is also important… and since I don’t have an ice crusher I did this:
Eh, It worked! Then you measure out simple syrup and bourbon. I used a jigger of each because I have to run later. Also, I bought the cheapest bourbon that they offer (whoops, 101 proof).
As mentioned above, I bought the cheapest bourbon that Trader Joe’s has to offer. Wild Turkey doesn’t scream “class and distinction” but it was cheap and whoops 101 proof. Seems like I’m going to have an interesting boozy run later. Yeah, not ideal, but I’m at the end of my loan money so I have a hard time justifying more classy bourbon.
Delicious. That’s all I have to say. The syrup definitely tastes like mint but isn’t overpoweringly sweet or minty which is good. This is the perfect warm spring afternoon drink, and no wonder its a derby staple.