Mint Juleps…Two Ways

Shelley's Mint Julep. So cool and refreshing!

There are three folks I know that do mint juleps like total champs. And they would be my amazing and quite brilliant friend Shelley and those cunning culinary foxes Greg and Katherine over at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide. Kentucky Derby is coming up and it’s a time I look forward to now because the past 2 years Shelley has thrown a Derby Party complete with hats, gloves, dresses, low-cash-grad-school horse wagers, and mint juleps. Since I finished my previous MA last May and moved away, it’s highly unlikely I’ll be attending Derby Party this year. This makes me very sad. But I didn’t want to miss out on the fun, so I contacted my friend to ask for her recipe for mint juleps so I could make them here at home. Then I recalled a recipe for Blackberry Mint Juleps posted by Greg and Katherine a while ago.

Crushing Mint Leaves

I made the mint syrup my friend Shelley’s way and then used it to construct a Shelley Mint Julep and a Blackberry Mint Julep. That was a good afternoon. I appreciated the simplicity of the Shelley Mint Julep. On the other hand the one from Greg and Katherine’s site was a bit more complex. The blackberry jam gave it a velvety darkness that I didn’t mind inviting into my life one bit. These mint juleps were a great choice for that particular day. It was hot as Hades outside (yes, summer’s back to Tucson everyone) and Jake was away camping with some of his friends. So I was feeling lazy lazy lazy and SO decadent. The mint juleps were so beautifully refreshing! They’re just what I needed. Click on the link above for the Blackberry Mint Julep recipe, and also because Greg and Katherine rock socks. Shelley’s recipe is posted below, so I never have an excuse to forget it. She swears that the key to this recipe is making the perfect mint syrup and encourages everyone to make it the night before you plan on serving them. She also says that though you can make mint juleps using other kinds of ice, crushed ice is really the best. And who am I to argue with her? She grew up in Kentucky surrounded by mint juleps and the Kentucky Derby for most of her young life.

Shelley’s Mint Julep
for the mint syrup:
1 part water
1 part sugar
double the amount of mint sprigs

to construct the drink:
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 tablespoon mint syrup
2 oz. bourbon
slightly bruised mint sprigs, for garnish

1. In a small saucepan, boil 1 part water to 1 part sugar for 5 minutes.
2. Bruise double the amount of mint sprigs in a small bowl using a wooden spoon. So for example, if you do one cup water to one cup sugar, you should add two cups mint sprigs.
3. Take the saucepan off the heat. Then add the bruised mint sprigs to the sugar water.
4. Soak the mint sprigs in the sugar water overnight.
5. Drain the mint sprigs out of the mint syrup mixture when you’re ready to serve it.
6. To make the julep, add crushed ice, mint syrup, and bourbon to a short, squat glass.
7. Stir the mixture rapidly. Garnish with a mint sprig and enjoy!

Blackberry Mint Julep

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