adapted from The New Cocktail Hour by André Darlington and Tenaya Darlington, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group
Makes 1 cocktail
Pair a julep with fried oysters, a burger, or a club sandwich. The mint brings refreshment to a salty, heavy lunch. Today, juleps are associated with bourbon, mint, and the Kentucky Derby, but the word julep dates back to the 1400s. The drink developed in the Southern United States, where it originally included peach brandy, and became famous throughout the world. The proper making of a julep is hotly contested—some call for muddling the mint with sugar, others prefer a minted syrup, while strict Bourbonites call for no mint at all except as a garnish. Use crushed ice—or shaved—and plenty of mint. If you’re making just one, muddle by all means. But if you’re serving a crowd, make a mint syrup (below) to batch multiple drinks quickly.
2 ounces (60 ml) bourbon (Four Roses)
½ ounce (15 ml) simple syrup
6 mint leaves, plus sprig for garnish
Muddle mint and simple syrup in a rocks glass or silver julep cup. Top with crushed or shaved ice. Pour the bourbon over the top, and stir until the cup frosts. Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve with a straw.
Makes 1½ cups
1 cup (200 g) Demerara sugar
1 cup (240 ml) water
1 cup (15 g) mint leaves
Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil. Stir until sugar dissolves, about 3 to 5 minutes, then remove the pan from the stove. Add the mint leaves. Gently muddle the leaves against the side of the pan using the back of a wooden spoon. Cover, and allow the mint to steep for 30 minutes to an hour. Strain and pour into a clean jar or bottle.
Then, cover and refrigerate.