The first Saturday in May is our nation’s biggest horse race, The Kentucky Derby. If you haven’t had a chance to go to Louisville, hundreds of people all dressed up in their Sunday best, head to Churchill Downs to watch the 2 km race. The grandstands are full of onlookers who have potentially made a wager on the race, as well as women wearing the most spectacular hats. The drink of choice at the Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep, which is a simple concoction made with Kentucky bourbon, mint syrup and ice.
The key to a great Mint Julep is choosing a bourbon that is perfect for you. I like Maker’s Mark or yellow label Four Roses for my Mint Julep because if you are going to mix bourbon with other sugary ingredients, why use the expensive stuff? To make the mint syrup – boil equal parts sugar and water with a few mint sprigs and chill until ready to serve. This recipe makes several cocktails and you can double the mint syrup for larger gatherings or parties.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
4 mint sprigs
8 ounces bourbon, any brand
8 ounces sparkling water and ice
(Makes 4 Cocktails)
1. In a small pot over medium heat, add sugar, water and 2 mint sprigs. Boil sugar until it is dissolved and then remove from heat. Pour sugar syrup into a glass measuring cup – you can do this step several days ahead. Cool to room temperature or store in refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Fill glasses with fresh ice and add 1 shot of bourbon.
3. Add 1 shot of mint infused syrup to glass. Fill glass to rim with sparkling water and top it off with a mint sprig. Sip it slowly and Enjoy!