Here in Virginia, a good mint julep is really more of a state of mind than anything else. That said, they must still be absolutely delicious in order to be truly enjoyed. We love them here because of the cooling, refreshing mint – perfect for those oppressively humid Virginia summers. It may take a few tries to achieve perfection with this drink, but it is well worth the practice once you take that first sip of a flawless mint julep!
For a traditional mint julep, try this recipe:
2 fresh mint sprigs
1 tablespoon sugar syrup
3 measures bourbon whiskey
Put the leaves of one sprig of fresh mint and the sugar syrup into a chilled highball glass and mash with a teaspoon. Add crushed ice to fill the glass, then add the bourbon. Decorate with the other sprig of mint.
FROZEN MINT JULEP
Of course, there is another variation that has been very popular whenever it has been served in my house, and that is the frozen mint julep. This is a perfect recipe to serve when you need to cool down – great for pool parties or as a way to top off a summer barbecue!
2 measures bourbon
1 measure lemon juice
1 measure sugar syrup
6 fresh mint leaves
Fresh mint sprig
Put the crushed ice into a blender or food processor. Add the bourbon, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and fresh mint leaves, and blend at low speed until slushy. Pour into a chilled glass and dress with the fresh mint sprig.
Though these drinks are usually served in a special silver or pewter julep cup, if you don’t happen to have one available, a Collins glass, highball glass, or even a margarita glass will work just fine. Be sure you are using good-quality ingredients and fresh mint – it just is not the same without it!