How Not To Mess Up A Mint Julep

(Courtesy Bay Weekly)
Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby so the Internet is covered with recipes for mint juleps. This happens to be one of my favorite cocktails. It is a refreshing balance of bourbon, mint, and ice. Here’s the basic recipe:
Mint Julep

    6-10 torn mint leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
    2 tsp simple syrup (boil 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar until all the sugar is dissolved)
    2.5-3 oz bourbon
    Crushed ice


    Muddle the mint and the simple syrup together in the glass. Add crushed ice and bourbon. Give it a stir. Garnish with a straw and a sprig of mint.

Simple right? Still, people manage to mess mint juleps up! Here are some common mistakes people make with mint juleps:
* They don’t use fresh mint. Mint syrup, mint liqueur, or anything other than actual mint leaves is going to taste wrong in the drink.
* They don’t muddle the mint enough. If you don’t actually break the mint leaves down so that the oil gets into the drink, you won’t have any mint flavor.
* They over-muddle the mint. While you need to break the mint down, you don’t want it so pulverized that people will be sucking little pieces of mint into their throats.
* They use sugar/water instead of simple syrup. The sugar might not dissolve and leave a granular syrup at the bottom of the glass. Even powdered sugar can do this in my experience. Stick to simple syrup.
* They use bad bourbon. As with any simple recipe, what you put in will be very prominent on the tastebuds. So I suggest staying away from cheaper, burny-tasting bourbons (Jim Beam, I’m looking at you) and buy an affordable, quality bourbon instead. Black Maple Hill and Woodford Reserve are two excellent choices. Trust me, good bourbon makes all the difference in this case.
There you go. Avoid these mistakes and you will have one delicious drink. Wow I really want a mint julep now…

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3 thoughts on “How Not To Mess Up A Mint Julep”

  1. My suggestion:
    The night before, take some mint, rub it gently between your hands, and put it into a jar with bourbon to infuse overnight. You will get real mint taste without any fuss on derby day!

  2. Pingback: Savvy Housekeeping » Kentucky Derby Pie

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