The global novel coronavirus pandemic may have grounded us, but we can still enjoy happy hour. This daily series will provide delicious drink recipes for you to try at home. So call your friends for a virtual sip session and traverse the globe, even if it's only in your mind.
Today's cocktail hails from Southern United States – the Mint Julep.
What is it?
Perfect for cooling down on hot, languid days, the Mint Julep – crushed ice crowned with zesty mint and spiked with bourbon – is an American classic.
While the exact history of the Mint Julep is unknown, it’s thought to have originated in the Southern United States in the 18th century. Back then, doctors prescribed juleps for stomach aches and Virginians reputedly drank them for breakfast – those were the days! Although Mint Juleps were once made with spirits such as cognac or gin, the bourbon-based version has become the most popular.
You'll need (serves 1)
20 mint leaves, plus an extra sprig of mint
2fl oz (60ml) bourbon
½fl oz (15ml) sugar syrup
Step 1: Gently bruise the mint in the palm of your hand to release its aroma. Place it in a chilled short tumbler or a julep cup.
Step 2: Add bourbon and sugar syrup and stir gently.
Step 3: Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir until the glass is frosted.
Step 4: Top with more crushed ice if needed, garnish with the mint sprig and serve.
Perhaps no other drink is as strongly associated with a sporting event as the Mint Julep, drunk to the sound of thundering hooves during the Kentucky Derby. About 120,000 are drunk over the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby each year, when dressed-to-impress socialites and party-going punters alike mill about clutching frosty glasses, the sharp scent of mint filling the air. Can’t get to the Derby? Sit on a shaded verandah on the hottest day of the year, fan your face with a broad-brimmed hat and slowly sip a Julep. As the ice melts, it dilutes the Bourbon, bringing out its vanilla and oak notes; the mint enlivens the palate right to the last delicious drop.
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